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The Point.

You know, every time I log on to Facebook I’m reminded of exactly why I very intentionally have signed off. It’s just not the healthiest place for me to be. It serves its purpose of staying connected and picture sharing with loved ones far away, but is best kept as a very limited part of my life.

Several days ago I shared this article about the drug-free birth of Kate Middleton. I was, and still am, thrilled at the media attention this might stir up for those of us who are passionate about drug-free birthing. It is always great to normalize what some people consider an “out there” choice. But…some nastiness arose. Now, those of you who read my blog have come to know where I stand on a lot of topics and know the tone I bring here. I welcome other opinions and love sharing for the sake of learning but I will never tolerate judgment or negativity.

But I got to thinking about what happened and what the core of the problem really is and I’ve come up with a question that solves my own question. If that makes any sense at all. & that question is:

Why do we share information?

At the heart of most internet conflicts, I think this question is of paramount importance.

What is the intention of the writer?

Now here, I share to inspire. I share because I am passionate. I share because I want to help you or encourage you, by giving you insight or tools or new ways to solve problems. A different way to think, based on experiences I have had or things I have done or made.

When I write anything here I make a very deliberate choice to share the positive perspective. For example, “I like green.” I don’t say that I hate red and red makes me angry and I’d really not care to ever look at it again (partially true, but I digress). I choose to share that I like green. That I like green because…blah blah blah. Taking the positive perspective completely sets the tone of the discussion. My intention is never to say I like green and you should too. And if you don’t you are wrong and further, you should feel bad because you like red and I don’t. Such a simple analogy, but it is exactly what happened over on my styleberry facebook page. & it makes me just want to shut it down because I just don’t like the internet behavior sometimes–I give respect and expect it back. I have good intentions.

But I’ve learned, not all women are like me. & I am pretty naive if I think that this kind of courtesy is the norm. It is probably not their fault–there are a lot of places on the internet where you can find judgment and criticism and nastiness. My site is not one of those, and never will be.

If I have learned anything since I have tried to figure out how to minimally incorporate facebook into my life (both personally and professionally) it’s to ask myself this question again & again: Why do I share information?

On my blog, as stated above, it’s easy to share because I know exactly what I aim to do with the content. My styleberry page is no different than my blog, I share to educate, inspire, inform etc. & that is that. You’ll notice I’ve dropped off managing it a bit because the conflict that arises is just not worth my energy. I’m fairly certain that a lot of people over there never come here. & that is fine, but I hold myself & those around me (and those on styleberryBLOG and the styleberry facebook page) to standards and I will not compromise them. We will be kind and supportive and helpful. Period.

So maybe this is a learning experience for all of us. I’ll think even more before I share stuff. Personally and professionally, and decide what it is, exactly, I would like in return for what I share. I also know that I cannot control how my well intentioned information is going to be received, and that is part of what I have to expect when I choose to share so much. So if you’re with me in this well intentioned journey, I am thrilled to have you. :) The internet just needs to be a nicer place. Dammit.

& then, moments after I finished this article, I read this one: I support you. EXACTLY. As it applies to any mommy topic. Enjoy. :)

Images from a recent trip to the amazing San Antonio Botanical Gardens, my favorite place in the city!

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  • JamieA - Well said. I’m sure you already know this, but I would venture to guess that a large portion of negative responses to your content have a lot more to do with personal struggles the reader is going through and a lot less to do with you. :) Also, do you read the Momastery blog? If not, she had an excellent post about criticism and cruelty on the internet not long ago and I loved it.

    http://momastery.com/blog/2013/07/01/momaquery-on-criticism-vs-cruelty/ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Shawna,

    I love your blog I have from the moment I found it almost 2 years ago. I loved reading how you cd your babies, while mine were in disposables. I loved reading about how you made your own baby food, while mine were fed from jars I bought at the store. I loved reading about both of your birth stories even though two of mine were induced and all three involved epidurals. I loved reading about your weight loss, even though I am overweight, and struggle.

    I find your information inspiring and it gives me a can do attitude and a sense of hope. (For example, my 4 month old is in cd and I love it!).

    No matter what the commenter Lisa says you will NEVER PLEASE EVERYONE. No matter how positive or neutral you are someone is going to read it wrong, or find fault, or try something and it won’t work for them. People just need to learn to be comfortable in their own choices, instead of instantly becoming defensive.

    I have huge struggles with fB, and have been seriously weighing the pros v. cons of it in my life. If you want the truth, it is this, I do not have enough confidence in the strength of my relationships to risk leaving fB.

    Maybe you could add an articles section on your website and use that to share?

    I hope you will continue to share what works for you!

    Much love!ReplyCancel

  • sara - I could say a million reasons why I love this blog & even though I dont always agree with what you say or do I STILL LOVE this blog. We are all mothers and should support each other, and if you have nasty things to say just keep it to yourself!ReplyCancel

  • Joy @ Caspara - Well said! I first saw your blog on Pinterest — the famous losing baby weight article. And I really appreciated all that you *share* (even if I still 21 months later haven’t lost all my baby weight from my last baby). I work out diligently and eat very healthfully, but still am hanging onto about five pounds. But that’s okay! You have a lot of great info here which is why I follow! Please! Ignore the chip-on-their-shoulder people and keep it up!!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa B. - I guess I just don’t understand people in general sometimes. If I read an article, blog, or FB post that I don’t like or agree with, I just chose to not read content from the author again (after enough chances have been given). I’m not ever going to agree with everyone 100% of the time – and you know what, that’s ok. If you don’t like Shawna’s blog, articles, or FB posts, then don’t read them, unlike her FB page, unfollow her blog. It’s not any of our places to try and change the way she (or anyone else for that matter) writes, thinks, feels, or believes. And I can already hear some of the responses to my comment, “But aren’t you trying to do the same thing with what you’re saying?” The answer is no – I can’t stop you from writing negative comments to a blogger you don’t know personally and I’m not trying to convince you to do so. Do as you please, but I don’t blame Shawna for one minute for not wanting to deal with negativity in her life. The world in general is a pretty cruddy place most of the time, filled with people just looking for an argument. I, for one, appreciate anyone who wants to focus on the positive and leave the negative for someone else.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Shawna,
    I’m so sorry that the internet world is causing you strife at the moment (but can understand why!). Just to say, I’ve loved reading everything you’ve broadcast so much over the past few years all the way in the UK. I, like other commenters, can’t profess to having managed a natural birth or to have ever even touched a CD (took me a while to work out what that meant!!), but I miss your beautiful photographs on IG since you had to add safety there, and I’m super sad that you’re now having to watch what you say on FB too.
    I like to think that when I don’t find parity in someone’s blog that I come across, I leave it for others and move on. There is not much to be gained by trying to change that person, or their writing, just for ones own benefit – just like we wouldn’t (shouldn’t?) try and do the same to someones behaviour when we don’t bond with at the school gates or wherever.
    I wish you and your very beautiful family even more positivity and a happy weekend after what must’ve been a frustrating week x xReplyCancel

  • Jenny busbey - All I have to say is YOU GO GIRL!! shawna, you are a huge inspiration to me and do an amazing job on your blog and Facebook page. Don’t let any negativity or judgement bring you down. You rock sister. Keep your chin up… Delete any and all negative comments… And keep on keepin on. Cause you are appreciated by many moms out there. *hugs* to you!!ReplyCancel

  • Heather F. - People who are so negative or get sensitive so easily are typically defensive because of a guilty conscience. Or they’re bored. If something about what you say is bothering them, they need to look within rather than pointing fingers at you. WE as individuals have the power to control how we take news or deal with emotions or information. Why can’t people just work on educating themselves or work to make themselves better without being accusatory? If you’re not happy with yourself or your decisions, either suck it up or change it! Do with information what you will, or don’t read it at all. Sheesh!

    Shawna, you’re awesome! You’ll never make people happy 100% of the time. So just keep doing what you’re doing!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog & writing style for about 18 months. I found it when my daughter was a newborn and have checked in periodically since. While we share similar viewpoints on many things, there are others that don’t resonate with me. AND THAT’S OKAY! I have taken a few suggestions from your blog & implemented them in our lives and passed on others. For the life of me, I can’t understand why people insist that a writer “made them feel” a certain way. No one can make you feel guilty, bad, like a bad mother, etc. without your permission. I can appreciate (and share in) your enthusiasm for natural childbirth, even though I had to deliver via emergency section. I share in others’ passion for Breastfeeding, even though I’ve had to supplement with formula since she was 9 months old. I think too many people want to play the victim. You are right, Facebook & the Internet in general could use some positivity and some lessons in manners.
    Keep on keepin’ on. :)ReplyCancel

  • Cristin - Thank you for the post and the comments ; )ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Shawna, I would like to apologize for my previous comments. I just read Sara’s comment and she hit the nail on the head. No one should make me feel bad, guilty, etc. without my permission. That is definitely easier said than done, but it is true in theory. So with that, I am sorry that I allowed anything you have ever said make me feel like less of a person and that I took those feelings out on you. I do understand your intentions for sharing and your blog has inspired me in many ways. As of late though, it doesn’t and I now know that is because of me and not you. I hope you can accept my apology. I am a people pleaser and want to make everyone happy (hence my rant that you should as well). My intention was not to make you feel bad, but rather to show another perspective; however, you didn’t ask for my opinion and I should have kept it to myself!ReplyCancel

  • Candace - Keep blogging please! The site is beautiful and I love all the great ideas. I used the ideas for making baby food, though I sometimes buy jarred or ‘pouches’ for my twins ;). The ideas are great and photos are beautiful. I personally believe you have every right to delete negative comments to keep a positive tone. Some people seem to be bullies online and I think its because they feel safe to do so because nobody knows who they really are and feel removed from the other person so some human compassion is lacking. It’s probably the same reason as people have road rage, there is a lack of that personal human connection that creates the opportunity for issues to arise.ReplyCancel

  • Ingrid - Keep staying honest and those of us who appreciate such candor will continue to follow. I don’t agree with everything you write but I love your honesty and passion. It intrigues me to know more about something you write about because you ARE so passionate.ReplyCancel

  • Tara S. - I am with you, Shawna. Don’t ever stop doing what you believe in & sharing it. You will never make all the people happy all the time. I support you 100%.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - Ahhh…the Internet. Life must have been friendlier back in the days when my mom was raising her children (I am 32). I don’t understand how it’s became okay to say something to someone on the Inernet that you wouldn’t say to someone in person. If someone doesn’t like your blog or FB page, why do they read it? Don’t us moms have better things to do then bully other moms? Is this how we are raising the next generation? Sad. If people have a problem with you, they should click that little “x” at the top of their screen and move on. I’m sorry you have to read and deal with this negativity. Life is too short. I just hope this doesn’t make you go away, because I would miss you. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - Love your website! I am also in SA and wanted to see who your pediatrian is. You mention you have one who is into nutrition and not into over medicating. I am having a hard time finding one with this mentality. Thanks in advanced for your help!
    KristinReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - Hey! I recently went back on base for our care, but I previously saw Dr. Lee at Westover Hills Family Medicine. She’s not a ped, but she was great!ReplyCancel

  • Emilee - I am grateful that you share your opinions so openly. I cloth diaper because of you. I always find the things you share interesting and thought provoking, even if I don’t adopt those ideas myself.

    I know some people who like to read reviews and comments posted on blogs and articles. I don’t because they are so often negative. Both in the virtual world and the real world, I don’t why know some people get so angry with a point of view that is different than theirs. You don’t agree with a drug free birth? Okay, don’t do it.

    I also think that people are more likely to post negative than positive comments. Which is something I’m trying to work on in my virtual and real life. If I appreciate or admire something someone does, I try to tell them.

    Thanks for sharing the link to the article. I had heard that Kate Middleton was going to try a drug free birth, but hadn’t seen any references to it afterward. With someone high profile doing it, it helps more people know that it is in an option–whether they choose it or not.ReplyCancel

  • ashley - I love your blog and find it to be inspiring and I did not have a natural child birth and only breastfeed for 6 weeks. I understand where you are coming from and wish things had gone differently than me. I am very sensitive about those things, because I wanted to breastfeed and to have a pain free birth but have never felt judged by you. Keep up the good work and inspiring me. I refer to your blog often for recipes, it helped me make my own baby food and I agree with the loosing the baby weight article. I respect mothers who share their postive experiences in order to inspire mothers.ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - What the heck? I guess I missed all the controversy! I saw your original post on the Kate article.. and actually reposted on my own fb page, since I as well had a natural drug free childbirth. I guess I haven’t checked in since then. Its kinda hard to find computer alone time being 8 months preggo with a 19 month old! People keep asking me if I will “just give in already and get the drugs” with this one. Like there was something I had to prove with the last baby?! People are nosy and pushy with ALL things baby. Please don’t let some negative viewpoints influence you to stop sharing – I love coming to your blog for inspiration! Its what momma does during naptime! :)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - I want you to know that I wholeheartedly agree with you on this post. I love what you write, and like you, I understand that this is YOUR blog and what you write is a record of what YOU do. I agree with you in thinking of why the internet can bring out the nastiness of some people and I just don’t understand why people do this? I have been brought up that “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Your blog along with others, is a personal reflection of you, and it is so touching because there are women out there, like myself, who are alone in their homes, trying their very best to be an amazing mom in the eyes of their children and an amazing wife in the eyes of her husband, and sometimes, life is just plain hard. Hearing what you have to say, helps me to realize that I am not alone in my quest in trying to do my very best. Thank you, for opening a window to your life, home, and heart, because you help us all realize, that when life gets hard, we can follow your example and realize that yes, we can do this!ReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - Lisa, I think you missed the entire point of this article and I’d guess that we may never speak to one another in a way that the other understands. My delivery is something that I am confident in, and it is with the best intention. It is also clear that you have no idea who I really am, based on some of the assumptions you have made. Clearly, this blog is not a place for you. I cannot please everyone! Best wishes.ReplyCancel

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