Ten years ago or more I created a group named Childless Support. I created the group to support women, like myself, who could not have children. I’m known for my activism in this subject as there are many articles written by, or about me, concerning my childlessness and the fact that I founded the group, which now has over 1,000 members. I have spoken on radio and to the media on the subject. However, seven years ago I stepped back from the group after feeling I had given all I could. I did stay in the group but kept a low profile. The past year I have been saddened at how the group has declined. The bitterness and division within it is not something I ever encouraged. I have now been driven to publicly distance myself from the group, as I do not want to be connected in any way with the group it has become. I created a group that supported women who could not have children. It was for women who were childless not by choice. There are women who choose to be childless (childless by choice) and it was always clear that Childless Support was not a group for them. However, I never encouraged bitterness or negativity towards women who could have children or towards women who chose not to have children. The group I ran was happy for a woman if she finally managed to conceive. The group was a positive one, helping women to cope with their isolation of being childless in a positive way. It discouraged bitterness and bad feeling towards women who could have children and focused on moving forward and finding ways of living a life without children. We also accepted that for many this was an extremely difficult thing to do and supported them as much as possible in their struggle. We never ever excluded a woman who was still trying to conceive. I only requested that if a woman should become pregnant that she kindly left and that we wished her all the best. Many of these women I stayed in contact with.
Not anymore it seems. The groups’ admins have changed all that and seem very threatened by me. So much so that as soon as I state an opinion I am shot down. I have now been blocked from the group I once founded, supposedly, for being negative and rude. I was actually voicing valid points and emphasising what a support group is supposed to do. The admins had changed the criteria and were now saying that women who were TTC (Trying to conceive) were now no longer welcome. I’m not sure how these criteria can be enforced. Does this mean the woman should not have unprotected sex or does it mean she should not be having fertility treatment? My argument was that to change a group’s ethos in this way, clearly to please some, (I was informed it was for the masses) would mean excluding women who were already members. That didn’t seem fair to me. While some women were rude to TTC women during this discussion, it seemed I was the only one who was blocked. The administrator who was clearly threatened by me, made comments to me and then blocked me before I could respond. She did the same again when I attempted to email her to explain my points and to also remind her that I had offered to help with the group but that she had not responded to my message. She responded rudely by telling me how rude and negative I was and before I could respond, again blocked me. I previously argued that members posting Memes with nasty comments about women with children was offensive and that as a member I was distressed to see it. Again I was told if I was not happy with the group I could leave. Does this sound like a support group or a ‘I hate women trying for babies and women who have babies’ group’?
I have since had numerous emails from members telling me how upset they are with the group. So, I have now taken the sad step of publicly distancing myself from it. This is NOT the group I created but something completely different. If it is the group for you then fair enough. I just need to state clearly I am not connected with it at all!
I hope to start a new group in the near future.
So, as I couldn’t argue the criteria on Facebook I thought I would argue it on my blog. If you think it makes sense then I take my hat off to you. I did not write the following. The guidelines that I wrote for this group were removed, which I have no argument with. Like I said, I’m not connected with this group at all.
Here are their guidelines with my thoughts in brackets.
The pain of being childless is Un-explainable. (Strange wording. I would have said unbearable. I certainly can explain my feelings) This is a support group to help people get through the pain of being childless. To help support, listen and vent to each other as we journey through our lives being Childless.
This is not a group for people that have had biological children. ( I would think that was obvious)
This is not a group for those who chose to not have children. (Correct wording is childless by choice)
Please respect this group is for those of us who cannot have children, without making a choice. (Correct phrasing is childless not by choice)
Our group is not a fertility group.
This is also NOT a TTC Trying to Conceive Group (Terribly unfair. A high percentage of childless not by choice women never give up hope of having a child. Why should they be excluded?)
Please do not request to join unless you cannot have children & need support coping with that. If this isn’t the case, or you get it by mistake, you will be removed. (Get what by mistake?) This is an exclusive group for childless not by choice individuals/couples. Male and female welcome.
****Wanting to join us? (why are there stars?) Send us a request! (Why is there an exclamation mark) You’ll receive an email from Mel Gray who is an Admin once we receive your reply, we’ll approve your request :)Please check for email in your others folder. If I do not receive a response from the email within 14 days I will delete your request. (What if you go on holiday and don’t have access to the internet. Your bad luck I guess)
The good thing about this response is that this time if anyone from the group wants to respond then I have the power to allow their comments to be published or as the admins seem to enjoy doing, blocking them.