Once upon a time there was a quiet but active little community of like-minded people. That weren’t all exactly alike and they didn’t agree on everything but at their core they were all united. This community worked hard to keep things encouraging, supportive and safe for all. Family minded, the people loved to share stories and pictures of their children growing strong and celebrated even the smallest victory together. They had a pretty good funny bone and loved laughter but were always honest about the challenges and struggles they faced. If someone needed to cry they could always find a caring shoulder and a fresh hankie. It was tight knit but welcoming to newcomers. As long as everyone could abide by the agreed upon guidelines of respectful dialogue, friendly encouragement, no name-calling or belittling, and give kind, honest support this peaceful community would flourish as a safe haven for many. Occasionally they would be set upon by trolls, mean creatures that liked to taunt and mock the citizens of the community by poking sticks at them but they were usually ignored and when bored they’d move on to another community to heckle. Occasionally the community would attract wolves with an evil glint in their eyes, stalking their victims seeking tastes of something forbidden but the people would rally and banish the wolves restoring safety to the land. And so it was the community was safe, cherished and loved by many, growing in number and wisdom.
Until one morning they woke up and the lord of the land totally wiped out the entire structure of the community. It was gone. At first confused and hurt the scattered members searched for their beloved space but alas, it seemed to have vanished.
Sound like a fairytale? It very nearly is.
This morning I woke to what I knew would be a very busy day with my father-in-law visiting, lunch out and tentative plans for a family outing. Planning on going to church I got breakfast rolling, kids dressed, jumped in the shower, changed a diaper of epic proportions and managed to get out of my bathrobe and fairly decently dressed all before sitting to breastfeed Smunchie for the morning. I noticed a text on my phone and after settling in to nurse and check Facebook, Twitter and emails I opened the text. Distracted by the fact that The Leaky Boob Facebook page wouldn’t load but kept directing me to my newsfeed I clicked my profile and checked the text from The Piano Man. I puzzled at his text “OMG!!! TLB facebook!” before a sinking feeling hit me. Looking at my profile there was a post from a regular Leaky (what we call the TLB Facebook “likers”) asking where the page was. Just below that post was one from Jessi, the girl that had originally helped me set-up The Leaky Boob Facebook page: “eep, looks like someone reported TLB. I just got a message it was removed for violation of TOS.” Just to be sure I tried to get there 1 more time. Nothing.
Facebook messages, emails, Twitter and TLB forum posts had already begun pouring in before I was even up for the day it turns out. From around the world Leakies started rallying. As one put it “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and Facebook just scorned close to 5,000 not to mention all those that will catch wind of this that weren’t already a part of The Leaky Boob.
I’m not going to lie, honesty is something valued around TLB, I sat on my couch and cried. Not a typical response for me but I wasn’t crying for myself. So many women found woman to woman support, support from her equals that have walked in her shoes and now that place was gone. A treasure trove of wisdom that empowered her as a mother. Now this community had it’s space taken away. So I cried for our community. Then I got my cup of coffee, started reading emails, approving forum registrations and reading the flood of support I slowly grew strong. Leaky strong.
Laura, a steadfast Leaky in Ireland had already set-up a Bring Back The Leaky Boob page in protest and it grew to over 4,000 in less than 16 hours. Leakies posted on Mark Zuckerberg‘s discussion board, asking him to go after truly offensive pages and reinstate TLB. Other parenting and breastfeeding support pages such as Best for Babes, Nursing Freedom, Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths, Bella Luna Toys, Hip Mountain Mama, Accustomed Chaos, Nurtured Child, Job Description Mommy, Wild Mother Arts, The Mandala Journey, Diapeze.com, Elegant Mommy, Near Mama’s Heart, Just West of Crunchy, and so, so, so many more posted in an outcry of support. I’m sure I missed some favorites but the response was HUGE!
I think our fairytale space will be restored, though we don’t have an actual ending yet. I don’t believe in endings anyway, just a continuation of the journey. As we unite together (there’s a TLB Support page too, a temporary space for ongoing breastfeeding and parenting support) and show not only Facebook but the world what community and support means to us we can make a difference. Not surprisingly I have a lot of thoughts on all this but here I just wanted to share the story of what happened to The Leaky Boob space on Facebook. Thank you everyone that has shown support, we are Leaky strong.