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Why is this preachy

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
I have an etsy store and I just listed a baby shirt that says "born safely. born simply. born at home" my store is not homebirth centered, mostly nature inspired baby shirts, but I remember when my son was born I looked for a creative homebirth type baby shirt for him and never found one, so I made this one.

Anyway, I asked for feedback in a forum and the person who responded said they liked my shirts except that one, which was a miss b/c it was preachy and could turn potential customers off. wth? I'm saddened about this b/c I don't see it at all as preachy, if anything its a defense of homebirth, that it can be safe and simple. Its in no way saying anything is wrong with hospitals or that everybody should have a homebirth.

Why does nobody ever want to hear about people having homebirths? I get this all the time when I talk about it, and I rarely talk about it, but sometimes on pregnancy forums (more mainstream than this one) I will even just mention I had a wonderful homebirth and suddenly people are all in a tizzy that I think I'm better than everybody else - and I go to PAINS to not bash people's decision to birth in a hospital - I even had a hospital birth with my first! Ugh, sorry a bit of rant but that comment really deflated me, I'm really proud of that shirt.
post #2 of 56
Eh, people are just sensitive about anything motherhood related, as far as I can tell. I guess it's possible to interpret your shirt as saying that a hospital birth is somehow unsafe (it's a stretch...). But I think a lot of people are just uncomfortable with homebirth being mentioned as a valid choice. So, if you have a shirt that is positive about homebirth, yeah, you may frighten away some customers, but you'll probably also gain some who would like a homebirth shirt.
post #3 of 56
I'd flock to a store with that shirt! (I already have one similar, but that one sounds cooler than mine.) If you have a shirt like that, I suspect your store is mostly targeting a sympathetic consumer, yes? I wouldn't worry about turning off a few people who would probably like different stuff anyway.

It's lame that it has to be this way, but you're taking a stand against the mainstream with a shirt like that. People who don't like their views challenged may get rubbed the wrong way. You and I know that yours is the reasonable stance, but people are pretty badly brainwashed against homebirth. Your shirt is intended to push back against that wash, even if you don't like the confrontation.

Embrace it, I say! Don't worry about the naysayers. And just think -- for everyone who feels preached to, there is somebody who feels comforted by the shirt.
post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 
Thanks ladies...my store is mostly just about cute shirts inspired by nature and my loving babies, but yeah, I'd say a sympathetic audience as the shirts are organic and all - I guess it hurt my feelings a tad that it could be seen as preachy, but whatever, not like I haven't heard that one before, and you're right - for as many as I might put off, hopefully that many more I will attract, and THOSE are the ones I want buying my shirts anyway. I just opened so I guess I'd like to appeal to the broadest range of people possible, but I'll be darned if I'm taking down that one shirt for such a silly reason. Appreciate the feedback!
post #5 of 56
Well, it's preachy because it implies - actually, more than implies - that no one can have a safe, simple birth anywhere but home. I'm surprised that you don't see that.

I am all for homebirth, and I think "Born at Home" shirts are great and I love to see them on babies. But there is no need to imply that your birth was simpler or safer than anyone else.

You are wrong that no one wants to hear about homebirths. Many women do, but have never met anyone irl who's had one. Let's say I was one of them, and only knew women who had given birth at the hospital. One day I encounter you at the playground with your kid.

Am I more likely to approach you with my interested questions if your child is wearing "Born at Home" or your shirt, which I'm going to interpret as a snide commentary on my own (perfectly wonderful thankyouverymuch) hospital birth?

I guess it really comes down to what impression you want to make. Preachin' to the choir, or nonjudgmentally spreading the word to all.
post #6 of 56
It is a neat idea for a shirt, and I think the wording is cool, but yes...there is an implied judgement there. Change the wording around to describe another situation, and you might see how people are reading it. It isn't a statement, really...it's written more like a campaign slogan. So if you're talking like it's a campaign, or a movement, people are going to assume you're making a statement for/against something. I don't think that's a surprising reaction, really. When you talk about a choice in that way, people are going to assume you're putting your choice above others.

Drive simply.
Drive safely.
Drive a Ford.

(What? Are Chevys not as safe?!)

Goofy example...might be best to substitute something more personal like breastfeeding or circ'ing, but see what I mean?
post #7 of 56
Thread Starter 
I just see it as a statement of fact that goes against a widely held belief in this country that the only safe place to birth is in the hospital.

Saying "ate a delicious ice cream cone. ate it at home." does not imply that you can't have a delicious ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins, it just says there's an alternative to Baskin Robbins, great ice cream can also be had at home! Right? What am I missing?

eta: redoakmomma, I guess with the ford I kind of see what you are saying (btw think I beat you on goofy examples :-)) But its the fact that I'm not saying "do this safely. do this simply. do this..." I'm saying this baby was born simply, born safely, and born at home. As a mom who at one time didnt know much about homebirth and had a hospital birth, I think I would have been intrigued more than offended.

I guess really the fact is some people will be offended by the shirt. I have to decide if I am going to worry about that and remove it for fear of lost sales, or leave it up for those who do like it. Since I'm not trying to make a living with my store, it will stay, b/c I really like it and I think it's a fair message...
post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by dylan1984 View Post
I just see it as a statement of fact that goes against a widely held belief in this country that the only safe place to birth is in the hospital.... What am I missing?
I thought I explained it really carefully in my post, and RedOakMomma did, too. It comes down to whether or not you are willing to consider that others will likely interpret this as a slam, not a "statement of fact."
post #9 of 56
Yeah, I'd tend to disagree with the Ford/Chevy analogy. I don't read the shirt as saying the reason for the safe and simple is the homebirth. I mean, you CAN infer that meaning if you choose, but the shirt says "a.b.c." rather than "a+b=c". I think it's a choice as to how you link the three sentences conceptually. I interpret it as "c=a+b".
post #10 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by donutmolly View Post
Eh, people are just sensitive about anything motherhood related, as far as I can tell.
Yep!

I think it's a lovely shirt idea and I don't find it preachy. Like a pp said, if a few are turned off by it (and they are free not to purchase it), several more will love it and want one.
post #11 of 56
I like it and would love a top with that slogan for my lo's
post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by dylan1984 View Post
Saying "ate a delicious ice cream cone. ate it at home." does not imply that you can't have a delicious ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins, it just says there's an alternative to Baskin Robbins, great ice cream can also be had at home! Right? What am I missing?

Since I'm not trying to make a living with my store, it will stay, b/c I really like it and I think it's a fair message...
I think it is a fair message , but it's still a message. One that some people will feel is a judgement, or a comparison with their birth choices.

For me, the Baskin Robbins thing doesn't hold up as a true comparison. Eating ice cream isn't a loaded subject. Lots of things aren't. Or commonly held ideals (well, at least in this area...can't speak for the whole country) like living simply, living peacefully, recycling, etc....those are "campaigns," but of commonly held ideals of behavior. People don't get offended (usually ).

That's why I said to compare it to a campaign/informational t-shirt on breastfeeding or circ'ing. These are highly personal choices, as is where to birth a baby.

Now, I have a few breastfeeding advocacy shirts (my favorite, "got milk?" is a 6-mo. old's shirt that's been passed down through four kids). Still, it's a pretty harmless and fun way of advocating. Much like the simpler "born at home" shirts. I'm not sure that I would feel comfortable taking it further than that, simply because it is such a loaded, personal choice (even if I believe, FIRMLY, that breast is best, in extended bf, etc.)

Feed simply.
Feed safely.
Breastfeed.

That kind of t-shirt is true, is lovely, but I even have friends, many of whom also believe strongly in breastfeeding, that might look at that bfing t-shirt and have mixed emotions. Some of them wanted to bf past several months, but couldn't. Some of them adopted and have been facing years' worth of judgement about not being able to "feed their baby naturally." Many of them feel like they didn't live up to the LLL ideal, and feel bad about that. It's loaded. It's a little bit of a "I did it, did YOU???" kind of feeling, you know?

This thread is probably a good example of what you're going to face with that t-shirt (though through an MDC filter, of course). Some people will see nothign wrong with it, others will see it as "preachy" or something similar. If you're okay with that, and if you love the statement, love the cause, then go for it! Like you said, it's something YOU like, so it's probable that a lot of others out there will like it, too. And really, when being creative, it's about what inspires and speaks to you. Just don't be surprised, or upset, when you encounter negative reactions. Not everyone thinks or feels the same--about many things, including birthing choices and wording.
post #13 of 56
And I should have said, where I come from, Chevy vs. Ford IS a loaded subject. Oy.
post #14 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
I thought I explained it really carefully in my post, and RedOakMomma did, too. It comes down to whether or not you are willing to consider that others will likely interpret this as a slam, not a "statement of fact."
hence my last paragraph:

I guess really the fact is some people will be offended by the shirt. I have to decide if I am going to worry about that and remove it for fear of lost sales, or leave it up for those who do like it. Since I'm not trying to make a living with my store, it will stay, b/c I really like it and I think it's a fair message...

also I realize looking back my baskin robbins analogy wasn't really accurate as I didn't make the qualifications - so scratch that one and I'll go with the other analogy of "I drive safely. I drive simply. I drive a bike" Some people who drive cars will feel like they are being preached to. Some people who drive cars might think twice and wonder about how they too might drive a bike. People who drive bikes might want the shirt.

Thanks for your input, I can now see how it might be taken negatively by some.

eta: lol redoakmomma we must be typing at the same time :-) and I had a mini meeting. Anyway, thanks for your feedback, I do get it. I hope my shirt is a little less offensive since I am phrasing it "born safely..." rather than "give birth safely...." which I would be put off by as well if it were a shirt suggesting I SHOULD give birth a certain way. Anyway, this is good, I do feel more prepared for potential negative reactions than I was this morning when it took me off guard b/c I was in warm and fuzzy la la land with my new shirt idea :-) Thanks for the help!
post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebemommy View Post
Yeah, I'd tend to disagree with the Ford/Chevy analogy. I don't read the shirt as saying the reason for the safe and simple is the homebirth. I mean, you CAN infer that meaning if you choose, but the shirt says "a.b.c." rather than "a+b=c". I think it's a choice as to how you link the three sentences conceptually. I interpret it as "c=a+b".
It's a neat way of thinking about it, these equations.

Personally, I think the layout of it (sentence form, progressing through description (adverbs) to a conclusion (noun)), DOES give more of an a+b=c format:

adverb a (safely)
+
adverb b (simply)
----------------------
= noun/location c (homebirth/at home)

Whereas, perhaps, saying something like "born safely and simply at home" is not such an equation. It also sounds more like a statement, and less like a campaign slogan.
post #16 of 56
Nope, no implied judgment. Here's why:

In these examples:

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post
Drive simply.
Drive safely.
Drive a Ford.

(What? Are Chevys not as safe?!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post

Feed simply.
Feed safely.
Breastfeed.
The poster used a command form of the verb (sorry, don't remember what that tense is called! ) But it is a preachy form of the verb and not what the OP used.

Drive simply.
Drive safely.
Drive a Ford.

=

Birth simply.
Birth safely.
Birth at home.

Which, yes, would be preachy, because it's telling people what to do!

But the OP said,

Quote:
Originally Posted by dylan1984 View Post
"born safely. born simply. born at home"
Which is like saying,

Drove safely, drove simply, drove a Ford.

OR, even, Driving safely, driving simply, driving a Ford.

Feeding safely, feeding simply, breastfeeding.

Not a command, not preachy, just sharing a little quick story.

OP, I love it! I'd buy that shirt.
post #17 of 56
Good point, but even given the tense of the verb I don't think it changes much.

Fed simply.
Fed safely.
Breastfed.

Past tense, present tense, same thing. I think the past tense makes it even MORE of a declaration/conclusion, really, versus saying that something will be done or is being done (with the present tense).

Is STILL going to hurt/offend some people, for all the reasons I listed above. Very personal, intimate choices are like that. As for the Chevy/Ford thing, I was mostly trying to lighten the mood and give an off-the-wall example.
post #18 of 56
I LOVE the wording! Not preachy at all.
post #19 of 56
Well... coming from another perspective, I'm not crazy about the wording. I have been a homebirth doula for 10 years and couldn't wait for my HB. After 3 days of labor, 60 hours of active labor, 1 day of transition, and 15 hours of pushing my huge baby with the off the charts head size had to come by c-section in a hospital.

So... when I read that I think... yea, but not all HBs are simple or safe. Not every birth can be a simple safe HB, and deciding to HB does not give you a simple safe birth every time. So I interpret it as saying that my birth is inferior because it wasn't a simple/safe HB. I agree with PPs that the wording makes it sounds though "I had a simple safe birth BECAUSE I birthed at home." And it implies that if only you had birthed at home, you too could have had a simple safe birth. Birth is a very personal, VERY sensitive topic for many women. I can't tell you how much less of a woman it makes you feel to know your body couldn't birth your baby the way it was created to.

Not that my opinion should hold any weight on your decision, I just wanted to tell you my gut reaction. Yes, I would probably not like store with that, whereas I'd be fine with a "Born at Home" shirt.
post #20 of 56
Wow, way to overthink a totally lovely sentiment everyone. I am not seeing anything preachy about it at all. It is a statement that I'd assume was true for the individual who chose to wear it, and that can be the end of the story. It isn't an exclusionary statement; it doesn't imply that another sort of birth is not safe or simple. If you read it and your own experiences create that exclusionary statement, honestly, there's nothing in the original statement or sentiment that sets that feeling up and it's all about you at this point.
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