My close friend and former Midwife Michelle, aka Kneelingwoman has written a wonderful post over on her blog. It really has me thinking about the state of grass roots movements, and where we are all headed as society. Do some movements, who were "grassroots" originally due to just being too radical or marginal or too small in numbers to be anything BUT very fringe, perhaps in the 60's or whenever, stand to benefit or be harmed ultimately by getting funded, supported or even, popular? My real-life experiences have shown me that, contrary to what my liberal heart would want to answer quickly (Funding! We need more funding! Fund everything! Support the people!) some stuff gets sullied, sanitized, changed, ruined, when it leaves the community level. This might sound and might be elitist, privileged, nit-picky, but it is what i have found to be true.
The real small stuff, the real community-level stuff is where the intrinsic goodness lies. The local midwife who delivered the 3 other ladies at your church's babies is better than the Big Birth Center with all its exciting jacuzzi tubs and hanging ropes. The group of 3 families that you and your kids grew up with is better than the 65 person field trip to the overcrowded cider mill with the homeschool support group you found online. Your 5 girlfriends sitting around nursing your babies, all different ages, talking about the real messy stuff, the real stuff, is better than the Lactation Class at the hospital.
Yes, better than. Better. But what about getting out the good word? What about those who dont have access to, due to financial constraints, social constraints, or bad luck, any of that, and them finding out about Homebirth, Homeschool, Breastfeeding "too late" and feeling so sad and left out--if only they had known, what about them?
I dont know. I guess we need many many grass roots movements. Tons and tons of them, all unique, all different, all serving the needs of their own specific communities, whatever those needs may be. But just broadly professionalizing/sanitizing/standardizing (the worst word of ALL) these things strips them of their very home-y-ness and real-ness and soon you get a midwife who "Isnt allowed to let you eat", or a homeschool group who "doesnt allow younger siblings", or a breastfeeding support group who never heard of anyone nursing triplets, or a kid after age 1 or 3 or nursing two kids when you are pregnant again, or whatever, and no you may not get up and tell us about it because you are not the Lactation Consultant.
Any experiences from any of you who have experienced this phenomenon, (did you have a great KoolAid stand and then when you opened your KoolAid store and chain of stores was there a loss of something intangible? Did your knitting circle get a little too stringent when its membership went from 3 to 75? Is it only natural to want a good thing to get bigger?)