Skepticism

Attack of the Christian Mommies!

This whole pregnancy thing, while exciting and awesome in it’s own way, can be so frustrating. I’ve got plenty of mommy-friends, between online and real life friends, but sometimes you just don’t want to call them every 5 minutes when your mood changes and you don’t know why. Because of this, I joined a website that was suggested to me. It has all of this neat stuff, like a growth chart and suggestions for pretty much everything you could think of – or at least everything I could think of.

In an effort to relate to more pregnant women and new moms, I joined the website’s online community. It’s a series of discussion boards, groups and clubs, and each new member is automatically entered into a “birth club” for the month and year that they’re due (I’m in January 2010). As I scrolled through the main page of thread topics, it was evident that the majority of women in the community are devoutly religious. The most commonly used phrases I’ve seen (as you can find in a previous AI by Elyse) are “It’s God’s plan,” and the like. “God didits” pepper each conversation I scrolled through. […]

After cringing and cursing under my breath, but before putting myself through any more torture, I posted my own thread, asking if there were any other rational/non-religious mommies-to-be. I was pleased with the response I started to get; there are a lot of other women on that site that had been thinking the same thing – I just asked first. As we all basked in the glory that is finding the few other people in the crowd that agreed with us, our bubble burst. We got trolled.

[These are actual quotes from the thread comments – because they are direct quotes, I’m not editing them.]
  • I challenge anyone who has a skewed view of the God of the bible to actually read the bible themselves and then make up your mind.
  • With all the stars, galaxy, planets and comets, meteors, who keeps this earth rotating perfecting in Orbit around the sun and moon any closer or farther away we would just burn up or have no life or Oxgyen like all the other planets, who or what created life/earth?
  • DO you think this all just happens on its own without any directions or do you believe we have Evolved from Apes? IF so  how come no one has ever witnessed a ape giving birth or turning into a Human, why did the evolution stop?
  • You all say also that Scientist can explain things but that is just Theory, does not mean it is truth.  A thoery is just a THoery.
  • Science can explain evolution but it cannot explain the origin of the Earth.  Evolution and religion can intertwine.  Even evolution and Creation can intertwine.  Unless you were there – nobody knows how the earth was created.
  • [Someone] had mentioned that if there was research to prove creation, she wanted to see it…Well there is TONS! just google creation science or “The case for creation” by Lee Strobel. Here’s another site too… http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/PartI.html

*FACEPALM*

These comments came from several different women, and as soon as they popped up in the thread they were dealt with by one of us. I still felt that they were worth sharing – and there were plenty more, as this conversation reached 10 pages. In the spirit of getting trolled, some people got heated, some people remained level headed, and some just left. Apparently I caused a bit of a stir, as there have since been a couple threads, started by Christian moms, directed towards atheists.

Just becuase it is not what you believe does not mean we cannot express ourselves as we believe.” Really? That’s interesting, because we were having a conversation amongst ourselves when you came busting in, in an attempt to save our withering souls.

Is there anywhere that’s safe from attack? I’ve since created a private group for Skeptical Mommies – I made it private because I wanted to maintain conversations without religious zealots crashing the party. If I want to fight about religion, I’ll go visit my great uncle.

Chelsea

Chelsea is the proud mama of an amazing toddler-aged girl. She works in the retail industry while vehemently disliking mankind and, every once in a while, her bottled-up emotions explode into WordPress as a lengthy, ranty, almost violent blog. These will be your favorite Chelsea moments. Follow Chelsea on Twitter: chelseaepp.

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50 Comments

  1. My advice: avoid “mommy culture” altogether. that I never found a group that I was comfortable being a part of. Everything comes back to some stupid woo, some religious shit, or stupid competitions… breastfeeding moms are pushy bitches/bottle feeding moms are irresponsible and hate their children… you let your child do what? my child is the most advanced human ever born! I had a woman brag to me about how her daughter started talking at 3 months and then look at me shocked and disgusted that Moose, then 18 months or so, was still not taking any classes.

    Finding friends who are moms is important… but delving into the bullshit of mommy boards and mommy sites and mommy communities is, in my experience, not the healthiest way to go about motherhood.

    I’m probably pissing off a lot of people right now but the whole “mommies” thing really annoys me.

    (I also hate those sites because you can’t follow a conversation on the damn boards because you have to hit page down 15-20 times to get through each stupid signature. I get it, you love Jesus, you think I want to count down to each of your 6 kids’ birthdays, and the due date for your twins, you must honor your husband with glittery bratz avatars with your wedding date on it, and 40 fucking angels for each of your 9 miscarriages, you support our troops, you like pie, your dog is just like your kids, your favorite vegetable is carrots, you voted for Danny on Idol, and wrenches annoy you… and i need to be reminded of all of this each and every time you write ANYTHING AT ALL)

  2. I always find the Appeal to Mommy-dom Fallacy to be the most rampant ill in the moms of my sphere (I am not one yet, but there have been a dozen births in my office and friend sphere in the past 18 months). Several of them firmly believe the oddest things, things on the level of MMR causes autism, and if you put your hands above your head while pregnant, the cord will wrap around the fetuses neck (my grandma’s personal favourite warning). I’ve tried to rebut this, but am completely shut down with “You haven’t had kids/ been pregnant, you don’t know!”. But I have no idea how my having given birth would affect my ability to judge the veracity of these statements. Would they believe me if I *did* have kids?

  3. “Just becuase it is not what you believe does not mean we cannot express ourselves as we believe.”

    You got to love that kind of mindset… “Every thread needs to be about Christian parenting or my freedoms are being suppressed somehow”, seems to be gist of what they’re trying to say.

    Unfortunately, expecting mothers have personalities that run the whole spectrum from total fundies and woo-lovers to the skeptical and sensible. It’s not like this lovely skepchick forum where you can be assured of having a lot in common with everyone. That’s one reason why I avoid forums about sports and so forth, there’s way too much trollage with that kind of diverse crowd. So, it sounds like creating a private forum is the best option if you want to avoid the trollery. Also, you can’t go wrong with listening to Elyse, she’s a smart one!

  4. @Elyse: Hahaha I agree that some of these people are just absolutely insane. I like the site in general because I can learn why certain things are happening, what the seamonkey is up to, etc… I had a kind of morbid fascination with what was going on in the community section.

    I do like to read through some of the more “what the heck were you thinking” kind of threads. They make me laugh, mostly. Another thing that annoys me is all of the abbreviations for everything. DH, EDD, BFP, PG… we’re using keyboards, not writing longhand.

    @SaraDee: Yeah I can’t say that it’s very much my style. Right now I’m more in the group that just needs to complain to people who are feeling similar, I suppose. Ha! Just because you haven’t had kids doesn’t make that umbilical cord story (or any other old wives’ tales that I’ve been reading lately) true. I doubt they’d believe you any more if you’d already had children – that’s just an out they use to try shutting you down before they have to prove themselves.

  5. The wife and I are expecting in January of 2010 too and awe always get the same old BS of it being a ‘blessing’ or a wondrous something or other bullshit line. It gets old, and all you can do is say “mm-hmm” under your breath and roll your eyes on the inside.

  6. I like your style. You tried something you thought would be beneficial. It was not. However, you did not go quietly into the night. Instead you asked for what you were interested in and found a few other women who were on your rational level. Then together you handled the trolls. And now you founded your own skeptical mommy group. Lucky kid to be.

  7. @Imrryr: Yeah, I think part of the desire to peek inside the discussions was to watch other women losing their minds because of hormones. The fact that some of these ladies are as crazy as they are makes me feel a whole lot better about myself when I break down into a crying fit! It’s cathartic in the way that watching Jerry Springer when you’re depressed is. :)

    @Larkness Monster: Why yes it is! :D My user name is 1stTimeMommyEpp. Find me and I’ll send you an invite to the group!

  8. @Chelsea:

    The information side of the sites is phenomenal. (It was probably a really smart chick who gave you the links in the first place! A REALLY smart one…. right?:) )

    It’s the boards and the “communities” that get me.

    Also, BabyCenter pissed me off when I went to update my profile after my miscarriage and they wanted confirmation. They asked, “Are you sure you want to delete this pregnancy?”

    I wrote them about it, pointing out that, while this was probably a default template thing, it is an incredibly insensitive way of handling the situation. They never replied. I guess it’s not that big of a deal to them.

  9. I was part of a mommy board, too, when I was preggers, and when I lost my son, it was very, very comforting. Most places do tend to be of the Christian variety. For some brawling, check out SyberMoms. :)

  10. @SaraDee:
    Oh, man, I hear ya. One of the weirdest arguments in this vein that I ever heard had to do with a proposition last year in my home state of California. It was regarding allowing minors to have abortions without parental notification. Someone I know who, at the time, was a first time mom to a 3 month old daughter, argued that I couldn’t weigh in because I didn’t have a daughter (the dad echoed the sentiment..and yes, I am fully against mandatory parental notification)..

    Yeah, I don’t have a daughter, but I WAS A TEENAGER!!!!1Oneeleven!! (plus, what’s with the argument that a teenager afraid to discuss abortion with her parents would be better off as a mom? WTF??)

    Some people.

  11. See, I’m trying to read the Bible myself right now. I’m up to the “Jesus is keen!” part, more or less, and I’d be hard pressed to name a more confused mishmash of irrelevance in book form. But today, I had help. Was it a miracle?

    I drive for a living, and there’s a church a couple of blocks away that I pass quite a few times every day. They put up a billboard with uplifting messages that change weekly. I’ve never actually seen anyone changing it, so perhaps God does it. This week it says this; “Accept the Truth of God, and everything else makes sense!”

    Oh, it’s all so clear to me now! Accept that God did it all by waving his dick at it, and you’ll never have to do all that hard work of thinking for yourself again! It’s very seductive in its way.

    However, if there were a God, I’d be tempted to believe that He’s a LOLcat. “I am that I am” sound like a caption you’d see there.

    And just to keep the post on-topic; “Mommies.”

  12. @Chelsea: Heh, I know the feeling. I’ve encountered a number of trolls whose unbelievable stupidity has made me feel much better about myself.

    @Reverend Kel: Wow, I applaud your tenacity! I couldn’t make it past the Tower of Babel, although I did read a few of the later books. The lesson I got from the Book of Job, for example, was “God is a dick”. But, on the other hand, the Song of Solomon was a personal favorite :>

  13. There is a site that I go to that used to be mostly about homebirth and which is quite good, the owner is a Science Based Medicine person.

    http://homebirthdebate.blogspot.com/

    When I was there last, I saw a link to the new fad called “freebirthing”, which makes the process of having a baby into an extreme sport. To get the highest “degree of difficulty”, you do it with no prenatal care, and then you give birth alone with no midwife, no assistants, no nothing.

    I found a blog that talks about it, I can’t link through because my work blocks the site.

    http://www.dooce.com/2009/06/11/where-my-pinky-gets-little-itchy-shift-key?page=1

    It is like passing a car wreck, even when people were playing chicken, it is hard to not look. This might give sane people nightmares, so be careful.

  14. @Elyse:
    Elyse, this is probably the best entry of yours I’ve ever read! It’s one of those “I wish *I* said that!” things. And it’s funny.
    The whole Mommies club thing bugs me (and my wife) too because it seems like more of a “who’s better” competion than what any of these groups claim to be about. I think a good group of mommies (or daddies) to gather with instead are friends that you had before the children, not one that you all forced yourselves into being with because of the kids. And this applies especially to discussion boards…

  15. aren’t those types a hoot?!

    I challenge anyone who has a skewed view of the God of the bible to actually read the bible themselves and then make up your mind.

    it never seems to occur to them that so very many atheists/agnostics USED to be religious and have indeed read the bible front to back…

  16. I’m a nanny and I get weird looks from the moms at the school where I pick up the kids all of the time. I’ve even been taken aside by one of them and told that I should really talk to the kids mother about being more active in their lives. I told her I wouldn’t and she just stared at me and then walked away. There is this propensity among mothers to talk down to anyone that has never had a child and on the same token think that the way they raise their children should be the absolute golden rule. I get this practically everyday. Between being a full time nanny and an assistant manager at a Gymboree I know what I am doing.
    The worse situation I’ve ever been in though was when I was waiting for the kids outside of their classroom reading The God Delusion and one of the other mothers asked me if I really wanted to be seen reading that. I didn’t even know how to respond. I just gave her a “are you even speaking english right now” look and she seemed to give up.

  17. I’m actually starting to wind down my parenting career. My youngest is 12 and will be 13 in February. So by the time your kid is in Kindergarten my last one will be finishing out high school. Everyone talks about how babies are the cutest and they don’t ever want them to grow up. I call bullshit on that. After awhile the only thing I wanted was sleep. As mine are growing up I find them to be ever so much more fun. We can talk about much more interesting things and I can listen while they go on about whatever their latest passion is. They can help around the house and can help each other. I only hope that none of them make me a young grandfather. I am so very sorry for what you are about to go through. Just remember that it is temporary and you will get your life back in a few years. Oh and don’t worry when you see the mishappen head and the purple skin. The head will reshape itself and the skin color will normalize.

  18. I could recommend a much better place, but uh… I’d stay where you are if not only for comic relief and weight loss (raging uses up calories, right?). ;)

    Some of those quotes are truly priceless FSTDT material!

  19. @SpiralArchitect: yeah, COTW.

    @whitebird: oh yes, this, this too. When it comes to how to treat children, don’t we all get to have opinions based on our own remembrances of being a kid? Isn’t that why every generation vows to be “better than their parents?” Obviously this may not work with things like ‘whether or not bedtime is fair’, but I think it’s pretty sound for ‘Whether or not telling your child they’re a disappointment is good for their self-esteem’. Unless you were hatched from an egg (my stepdad told me he was hatched fully grown from an egg every time I said, “But can’t you see my side? Weren’t you a kid once too?” At least my mom answered honestly “Yes. And this will probably mess you up. But the reason people have parents is so that they have something to tell their therapist when they’re 30”).

    When I was 17, I babysat the world’s worst behaved kids. One particularly soul-crushing day, one asked me if they were my favourites (I babysat a lot for all the waitresses at the pub my mom worked at) and I yelled, “NO! You’re the worst children I’ve ever babysat!” Which was true, but I immediately realised I was The Worst Babysitter Ever. If you’re unable to form an idea of how best to treat kids before you have them, then I don’t think anyone can ever be qualified to be a parent for the first time. I mean, I might change my mind about cloth diapers when I’m the one changing them all the time, but there are some things I hope we can all kinda agree on.

  20. @Reverend Kel: Someone please make a LOLdiety!

    @daedalus2u: *screams* NOOOOO!! I would not be able to watch the show that blogger was watching. I can’t even watch someone get a shot in the arm. Also, if you follow a link from one of the comments, it leads to orgasmic birthing. Wow.

    @Tez: I can’t get down with the competition thing either. Like Elyse said earlier in the comments, whether you’re for or against breastfeeding, homeschooling, or cloth diapering someone is always going to think that their stance is better than yours. It’s a bit ridic.

    @SpiralArchitect: COTW!

    @Gabrielbrawley: I’m just excited at this point that I get to experience it at all. I know the late feedings, exhaustion, poopy diapers and shrieking are going to equate to total ass, but I’m still happy. :) I definitely look forward, though, to when our kid(s) grow(s) up and we can hang out with them in that “wow, I’m watching them enter adolescence and adulthood” kind of way.

  21. @Gabrielbrawley and @Chelsea: : As my daughter has grown up, I’ve appreciated each new stage of her understanding of the world and of her ability to communicate. I find that I come to like her more and more as she grows. It really does make all those diaper changes worth it.

    @Tez: There are many ways to parent well; thus, I’m skeptical of anyone who claims to have “The Truth” in how to raise kids. Dr Spock’s great insight was that parents can trust their instincts; combine that insight with a skepticism of parenting gurus, including Dr Spock, and a respect for evidence.

  22. Being exposed to the “mommy culture” was a good thing for me as it led to to discover skeptics. Wanting to try cloth diapering, I was directed to all sorts of mommy websites for advice. I found that if you wanted to try cloth diapers, that automatically meant that you were anti-vaccine, pro- home birth, and believed in doing everything ‘naturally,’ whatever that means. In despair, I went searching for people who might actually think critically about things, found the SGU, and never looked back. So thank you, “mommy culture” for pushing me away.

  23. One of the first things I noticed when I became a parent was how much other parents SUCKED! Not that they sucked AT parenting. They just sucked as people. And every single one of them wanted to tell you (either directly or indirectly) how badly you were screwing up your own kid.

    But after about 2 months of hanging out with these child fetishists, I realized, “Holy crap, in any other situation, I wouldn’t hang out with you. If we didn’t both have kids, I would have no reason not to blow you off.” Because I’m sorry, I like my kids and think they’re totally awesome, but I could honestly give a shit about your kids, the picture they just drew or what dance class they’re taking now.

    So yeah, other parents suck.

  24. This is why I ended up writing about my experiences with trying to conceive, pregnancy and eventually mothering on a blog rather than in message boards. Blinkie-splattered religious posts certainly dominate any board I have ever checked out. Not only was it annoying to me, but after having my first miscarriage, there was the actual sentiment that it was “God’s will.” Sorry, I’d much rather think of that loss as a messy cellular division than God’s cruel plan for me.

  25. @Chelsea: I briefly was on BabyCenter, but long ago abandoned message boards. (My Baby Grrl is 3.) I just couldn’t take the religious, anti-science, woo, etc. anymore. It still frustrates me when I try to look up information online and search results come up on that site or message boards.

    Like for instance, one article I came across somehow is an interview with Mayim Bialik. At first I thought she was pretty cool. She’s got a PhD in Neurology. But through the interview, I found she’s like most other “crunchy” moms. Attachment Parenting, elimination control, and NO VACCINES. Great.

    Maybe I’ll try to remember my logon though, since I know there will be other like minded moms in your group.

  26. Snark alert!

    “I challenge anyone who has a skewed view of the God of the bible to actually read the bible themselves and then make up your mind.”

    I did and I have. You lose.

    “With all the stars, galaxy, planets and comets, meteors, who keeps this earth rotating perfecting in Orbit around the sun and moon any closer or farther away we would just burn up or have no life or Oxgyen like all the other planets, who or what created life/earth? ”

    The law of gravitation, for starters. Have you ever taken a basic science course, not a home school joke course?

    “DO you think this all just happens on its own without any directions or do you believe we have Evolved from Apes? IF so how come no one has ever witnessed a ape giving birth or turning into a Human, why did the evolution stop? ”

    Yes, I do think evolution is substantially correct. And evolution has no goal in sight, for humans or any other organism, other than survival and reproduction. Evolution hasn’t stopped. Ask any microbiologist. Evolution on a human scale takes far too much time for us to notice it. If evolution works on bacteria (see resistant bacteria as an example), then it works on all life including us. You don’t get to pick and choose what science explains.

    “You all say also that Scientist can explain things but that is just Theory, does not mean it is truth. A thoery is just a THoery.”

    The word “theory” does not mean what you think it means. Got a dictionary handy?

    “Science can explain evolution but it cannot explain the origin of the Earth. Evolution and religion can intertwine. Even evolution and Creation can intertwine. Unless you were there – nobody knows how the earth was created.”

    Your ignorance is astounding. Luckily, ignorance is curable. Stupidity is not. Choose which one you want. I suggest you take some basic science courses. You weren’t “there” when you were concieved, either. So how do you know how you were created? Someone told you. So how do you know you exist?

    Snark Alert is over. You may resume your normal posting.

  27. @QuestionAuthority:
    “You weren’t “there” when you were concieved, either. So how do you know how you were created? Someone told you. So how do you know you exist?”

    Lolz!

    there’s a documentary by Diane Keaton called “Heaven” (watch it!!), and in one scene there’s a creotard arguing with an atheist and his argument for god is “well, you can’t see your brain! So how do you know that you have one?”

    oooooohh, face! QE diddly!(not)

  28. @godlessgirl: Heh yeah if nothing else, it’s decent comic relief!

    @tiger kitty: Sheesh! SyberMoms is intense, haha.

    @Andre: That song is fantastic and very true. I can’t handle the kind of preggos they talk about in there – the kind that pretends pregnancy is a cake walk. It flipping sucks some days!

    @FFFearlesss: Agreed. My friends who happen to be parents don’t suck, but some ladies lose entirely who they are when they have a kid (or sometimes as soon as they see that +) and are so boring, obnoxious and judgmental. Not worth the time.

    @QuestionAuthority: Haha! Yup, that’s pretty much how the conversation went.

  29. bellaboo writes: it never seems to occur to them that so very many atheists/agnostics USED to be religious and have indeed read the bible front to back…

    To which I will add, that is one of the reasons I became an Atheist. The book, particularly Genesis, portrays the earth in the way Bronze aged men would have seen it, not the way it is.

  30. Hey, another skeptical mom-to-be here, who has also spent many months disgusted with the community on a certain pregnancy site whose name rhymes with “LadyRenter.”

    The site itself is such an awesome source of information that I long ago had to make peace with the crazy lovechild of crunchy woo and Christianity that makes up that place. Now I mostly use it to commisserate with other women about universal issues like pelvic pain, annoying mothers-in-law, and hemorrhoids.

    Chelsea, I’m off to look up and join your BC group right now!

  31. So, a new section to Skepchick is born? My daughter/son-in-law were both disappointed by the lack of sites for skeptical folks going through wedding planning, “nesting”, pregnancy, and now parenting (baby is 8 weeks).

  32. I’m very new here, but wanted to add that I became a mom by international adoption and there are a LOT of ultra-religious people who assume that the only reason one would choose this route to creating a family is a religious one. There are many reasons my husband and I chose this route to parenthood, and God wasn’t part of any of them. The main was that we wanted to become parents and are now parents of a beautiful boy who needed a Mom and Dad (science hasn’t discovered why we couldn’t do it the “usual” way). No matter how you enter “Mommyhood” the religious folk are clustered around telling you about what a “blessing” this is. It’s wonderful, and it’s hard, but I just can’t see a loving God behind the poverty and sorrow in parts of this world.

  33. To avoid all of that silliness I joined a BabyCentre group in England whe I was pregnant with my first. No talk of religion, no judgemental crap and lots of good advice. I had no pregnant friends and was very isolated at the time. My British friends have kept in touch with me over the years. If any of them visit the US my door is always open.

  34. These are the sorts of people Terry Pratchett was poking fun at.

    ‘I think that sick people in Ankh-Morpork generally go to a vet. It’s generally a better bet. There’s more pressure on a vet to get it right. People say “it was god’s will” when granny dies, but they get angry when they lose a cow. ‘

  35. My advice is to avoid “mommy groups” as much as possible. You think it’s bad now, just wait until you get together for play dates and have to spend 3 hours every week talking about diapers and sleep problems. Gets old fast…
    I was lucky and happened to have a few friends who had kids when I did, so we could 1) visit and talk about other things besides our darlings, and 2) trade off child care to get some free time!

  36. Forget about exhaustion from a newborn who insists on being fed every 4 hours …
    Maybe the real reason so many pregnant women seem to lose 10 IQ points is because of visiting all those mommy-boards?

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