I first reached out to Cristen Pascucci of Birth Monopoly in July 2017, nearly one year after the death of my beloved sun Kali. Kali died at four days old due to the negligence of my out-of-hopsital, “natural” birth team.
I reached out to Pascucci a total of four times between the July 20, 2017 and August 13, 2017. I was ignored.
Again I wrote to Pascucci on September 21, 2017 and shared about the birth trauma and infant loss I endured at the hands of my “natural” birth providers. Once more I directly requested that Pascucci share my story, as a means of raising awareness and improving birth for all.
Pascucci finally responded in September 27, 2017, stating that she had not yet read my story but would "check out my story" eventually...
Pascucci did not acknowledge my repeated requests to share my story, but did offer me a constellation prize of mediocre validation, stating, "I think this community has a ways to go when it comes to addressing the harms done by our own." Pascucci concluded her obligatory acknowledgement email by "wishing me healing."
I wonder if Pascucci recognized that by ignoring my multiple requests for support, she dismissed my loss and the “healing” path I find most powerful— sharing Kali’s story and allowing my sorrow to become service.
Another year passed, marking the second anniversary of Kali’s death. I never ceased saying his name… Yet, despite my persistent effort to share about the betrayals that took his life, insular echo chambers continued to censor and silence my voice. The “natural” birth community had all but buried me and baby’s memory.
I was at my lowest point since Kali’s death when, just in the nick of time, the clouds parted. A journalist had interviewed me about Kali’s death several months prior. I was notified that a 9-month investigation into out-of-hospital birth had concluded and was to be published November 25, 2018! I rejoiced. Kali’s story would finally be heard! My baby would not be buried twice.
November 24, 2018, one day before the much-anticipated investigation was to be released, Cristen Pascucci’s friend, attorney Diana Snyder, initiated a group message between Pascucci, herself and me. What impeccacble timing!
We must also keep in mind that Pascucci is a public relations guru. It wouldn't be unreasonable to surmise that the dialogue which finally initiated between myself and Pascucci was catalyzed, not by empathy for a grieving mother, but by a thorough understanding of "damage control.”
I wanted so badly to believe that leaders in the “natural” childbirth movement cared. My naivete was thick.
In the group convo I was assured the following:
That Pascucci and Snyder were "allies";
That Pascucci and Snyder genuniely cared and wanted to learn how to support families enduring catastrophic injury and infant death;
That Pascucci and Snyder recognized the need to highlight my voice and address the cruel ways I’ve been maligned, silenced, censored, victim blamed and banished from the “natural” birth community.
I requested to share about my out-of-hospital experience as a guest on Pascucci's "Birth Allowed Radio" podcast. Pascucci suggested that she and Snyder handle the overall topic of out-of-hospital loss between themselves and that I be brought on for 10 minutes at the end of the episode to share my insight… Snyder advised Pascucci that it was more appropriate to frame the topic of out-of-hospital loss around voices of actual loss mothers.
A podcast episode never materialized, and not a word Kali’s story was ever shared by Pascucci or Snyder. I’m pretty sure I know why…
On December 6, 2018, Pascussi, Snyder and I took part in a phone conference call that lasted 79 minutes. During this call I offered my insight into a number of issues, including the grotesque state of out-of-hospital birth here in Upstate New York and how out-of-hospital loss families’ lives are all but annihilated by censorship and social banishment. I also shared a bit about my work moving forward in the arena of accountability and increased oversight of how out-of-hospital provider data is collected and accessed by the public.
As our call concluded I requested a copy of the recorded conversation. Pascucci said, "ofcourse" and explained it would take a few hours for the conference call to be made available for sharing. I thanked Pascucci and Snyder for taking their time to speak with me and I let them know how incredibly healing it felt to have someone from the “natural” birth community finally listen. They both said they would be “back in touch to continue the conversation."
One month later and it was "crickets and tumbleweeds" over in our previously active group message... I continued to request a copy of the conference call and I kept getting dead air…
Fast forward to January 7, 2019. Birth Monopoly published a "call to solidarity" facebook post, expressly encouraging the birth community to rally in support of Elizabeth Catlin who was charged with five felonies for fraud and operating allegally as an unlicensed midwife in New York state. Catlin has herself been implicated in numerous infant deaths.
No wonder I was cast aside like a used Kleenex! Silly me! Pascucci and Snyder never had any intention of sharing Kali’s story or improving care for those choosing out-of-hosital birth. Once the last layer of naivete was ripped from my optimitism, the Birth Monopoly agenda became crystal clear.
I adressed my concerns and deep disappointment directly on the Birth Monopoly post as video comments for all to see, which have of course since been deleted. Yet, before Pascucci silenced my voice from the comment thread, I captured it all via video screenshot— you can watch what I had to say HERE.
I have my own call to solidarity I am going to make right the fuck now-- all people of good faith must rally to PROTECT BIRTHING PEOPLE AND CHILDREN whose lives are threatened and devastated by the charlatans and profiteers Birth Monopoly has taken up with.
Birth Monopoly is a sordid clusterfuck of pseudo sisterhood and capitalism at its most grotesque.