When I was first starting out in this community, both online and in real life, the group of friends I was in with, the group of people on the internet I had a "super secret awesome forum" with, etc etc....were very dogmatic. Very very "trust birth no matter what", etc. Bashed non-crunchy type people secretly and spent a lot of time on more mainstream boards fighting people or being kind of mean about their choices (in fairness, those people were mean right back and were on the very opposite end oft he spectrum, the type of people who said things like "homebirth mothers are unfit, reckless, etc" and things like "I just think parents who don't vax are really abusing their children and putting mine at risk, vaccination should be a law and you should be jailed if you don't comply" - that kind of ridiculousness) I fit there. I didn't get it. I was the same way they were, thought I was "better" because I was making the "good" choices. Like I said, I was still very intellectually (but not so practically) involved in the birthing community. When I look back now, I can see how many people in those groups were new mothers with no idea, angry women who'd had bad experiences and people who were perpetually involved in the "wars" with "non-natural types" who I think really just liked drama. After my second birth...all of that fell away. I didn't feel good about being around those places or in those internet groups anymore. I felt much more tired, much more aware of how completely consuming and hard parenting is. I had to lighten up in my views for my own sake and sanity(I was being SO hard on myself about being "perfectly crunchy" and I was making myself really depressed and felt shitty about myself)...but also because, I as began to look around at the mothers I was meeting who I thought were just AWESOME individuals...I saw a variety of choices...I saw inductions that MADE SENSE, I saw repeat c-sections that, when the mothers explained why they didn't go for a VBAC, totally made me say to myself "thank god we have this technology" instead of "well, she should have at least TRIED for a VBAC" - I think that my own births and motherhood in general softened me and humbled me and I wasn't so intellectually compartmentalized.."these are GOOD choices and these are BAD" - it became "everybody is doing what they've got to do, everyone is human and everyone has to make birth choices that fit into their life, their views, their relationships, etc". I just started to see that my choices, the things that I thought were best, weren't always best. Weren't good for everyone.
Having been on two birth journeys myself, I went from wishing that more women could just "process through" their fears, so they could "trust birth" and experience true natural birth or whatever other crap like that...and came to understand exactly what so many are fearful of. I can never go back from birth, I can never be who I was before....I can never think that things are so black and white and that women who don't choose MY way are setting themselves up for failure...because I have felt how precarious birth can seem, how failure can seem to lurk no matter what you do or where you do it. I have seen how intense it can be and, knowing that I didn't even have "super" intense births....I CANNOT IMAGINE how some women come through their births in one piece. I was so proud of all of my choices before my first birth. I was doing everything right. I was going to "succeed" because I had all the answers. AFTER my first (and then second) birth(s).....I'm not exactly proud anymore. I mean, I am....but not in a "I'm better than ____" kind of way. I am EMPOWERED.....but also very, very humbled. I realize that I had pretty easy roads, compared to some women. I read birth stories that used to make me say "yeah mama! You GO!" - you know the ones, the long, hard labors some mamas have, with posterior babies or anterior lips or hours of pushing, or any number of other things that can just make it SO hard and painful. I used to be pumped by those stories, I would cheer and pump my fist even. Post birth...I'm not so pumped. I am happy...but I mainly just sob. I'm in fucking AWE. As intense as my birth experiences were, it brings me to sobbing tears to recognize what some women go through. I'm so ashamed and embarrassed that I used to run with a crowd that might frowned about a mama who transferred to have c/s...or asked the question "Well, did you move around, were you fearful...? or whatever. I read those stories now and can't believe what some of these women hold out through, what some women go through, before they decide to go to the hospital.
Anyway, I'm rambling.
The forum I returned to (MDC) and community I hooked in with after my second birth, two years ago, feels to me like the "real" birthing community. Especially my in real life connections. This is the community of people that is built up around the birthing center my midwife runs. There are a LOT of women in this community. I don't know them all well, by any stretch...but being around bunches of them at a time is amazing. Just hearing their thoughts, how kind and realistic they are....it really feels good. These are women who would never, ever blink at a UC mama deciding to go to the hospital. These are women who would never pass judgement on a mama who needed a c-section...many of them have had sections and/or VBACs. These are the ladies who really get it and aren't "natural means at home...anywhere else sucks" - they are more "we all love our kids, let's do what's best for them and for ourselves". There is no judgement, ever, just really cool chicks supporting one another and sharing ideas/information and keeping each other honest in really sweet ways.
The other thing I've noticed, though, is that this community of people seems to be less "birth centric" and is more centered on an entire lifestyle...natural family living. NFL means different things to all of the ladies there. But the point is, birth is not the only thing that is discussed, you know? I feel like the importance of EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING surrounding your birth is of less importance when it fits into a bigger picture of ALL the choices that come together to make up the decisions we make to try and have the best life possible. It just feels like, when the focus is on your WHOLE life..food, homesteading, your relationship/marriage, potty learning, sleep issues, etc....birth choices kind of fit where they SHOULD as far as their importance. You do what you do with everything else...take stock, research, talk to your community, make you a choice and move on, you know? The other, more judgmental community I was a part of....I noticed that it was ALL. about. birth. All the time. I think that's where a lot of the problem came in. When the "whole picture" is BIRTH...every small part of it seems like it is of huge importance....when the "whole picture" is on us, as women, mothers, partners.....our WHOLE life...the decisions we make about birth seem proportionately important.
So, what I mean is like this(example): When the RABID, unbending focus of a group takes natural, homebirth and ONLY homebirth to be of the utmost importance...the decision to go for a hospital birth instead of another UC is an abandonment of the whole "mission statement" of the group. When the focus of a group is on living a whole, healthy, happy life and supporting all of the elements that come into play to make that happen....the decision to go to the hospital instead of having another UC is seen as just another choice that you as a woman have to make to allow your birth to fit heathily and happily into your **whole** life.
If the community of people I'm a part of now, the truly supportive birth/family community I've come to know and love, was the only one I'd ever known....I would scratch my head at this "mysterious", hell bent on judgement style natural birth community idea. But, this community I've come to be a part of and love....the TRUE community, as I see it...was not my first stop. There DOES exist, groups of people who are unbending and rabid in their interpretation of what it means to plan for and have a natural birth.
I don't know what percentage of the community as a whole it would make up....but I've known midwives, doulas, mothers and childless women who have had this crazy, inflexible view of childbirth and parenting. I could never hang with these chicks now, because I'm just not "cool" enough. I don't do enough "crunchy" stuff anymore to "qualify". But even if I was still crunchy enough to hang with them. I never would....because I'm not interested in feeling smug and superior....I don't think my choices are the best. I make the best choices I can and I want to hang with women who do the same...unapologetically...and who will respect me as the kind and good mother that I am. I want to feel peaceful vibes with cool women. There is nothing peaceful about thinking that you are "the shit" and everyone else who makes different choices or who is visited by bad luck in a birth or whatever is a failure.
I think that the NBC is like any other community of people. You are going to have some really scary fanatical types on either ends of the spectrum....and in the middle, the "mosties"....the people who are doing their best, who are generally loving and open toward other people who are doing the same. No group of people anywhere on earth escapes having a fringe or lunatic element who are too stubborn to see any way but their way. It's a sad fact.
I think, though, that in many cases, the larger groups of very unbending, judgmental "Natural Birth Communities" types that you will find are online. It's harder to be a big a meanie head in person...it's harder not to be touched by someones story and see why they made the choices they made. These people who spend massive amounts of time on the private boards and stuff are more susceptible to falling into those types of things. I think. I know that was a large part of it for me.