New Details Emerge of Free Birth Society Leader’s Role in Infant death
by Katie Paulson
Last week Free Birth Society announced that their Facebook groups were closing following the tragic death of an infant in California. As the community created by Free Birth Society mourns the loss of the group, former members joined other Facebook groups. Recently a conversation opened in one of the groups regarding the end of Free Birth Society and the loss of the infant. Through the discussion, mothers revealed their attempts to help Free Birth Momma. Several expressed Emilee Saldaya blocked them for voicing their concerns. Perhaps the most shocking detail provided was the lengths Emilee took to prevent members from helping Free Birth Momma seek help.
In the status to the Free Birth Society community, Emilee Saldaya distanced herself from the mother. She stated that her involvement with the mother was limited in scope. Emilee insisted she only spoke with the mother briefly via Facebook Messenger and a few text messages.
However, Free Birth Momma told the group in posts that she had spoken to Emilee. She told the group Emilee had been a great support to her during the labor. While the mother admitted to speaking to Emilee, there is no indication how the communication took place.
Emilee blamed trolls and haters for spreading vicious lies about her. She claimed she received death threats. Due to all of those issues, she decided the group needed to move off Facebook to a safer environment. She announced to the group a new paid membership group would be forming soon.
As the group disbanded, members sought other Facebook groups associated with unassisted birth. In one group, members started talking about their experience with Free Birth Society. The details provided about the group shed light on the lengths Emilee took to prevent Free Birth Momma from seeking medical help.
When a member told the group Emilee kicked her out of Free Birth Society, others within the group shared similar stories. Each of the women that Emilee removed said they tried to help Free Birth Momma seek medical assistance. Despite their concerns, they allege Emilee told them the mother and baby were fine.
Following the admission by the first woman, others responded with similar stories.
What the mothers shared is consistent with the information our sources provided us about the birth. Several of our sources attempted to provide help to the mother. Our sources told us Emilee deleted their comments, and the group removed one of our sources for trying to help the mother.
Other members expressed their outrage that Emilee turned the tragedy of the death into a way to make money. They expressed outrage that Emilee would be charging members to participate in a group off of Facebook. Many felt Emilee’s motives were disingenuous and profit driven.
In one comment, a member suggested that Emilee sought assistance for the birth of her child.
Another mother shared that she attempted to alert Emilee about the rumors circulating following the death of the infant. According to the mother, Emilee deleted her from the group and blocked her as a friend.
All of the statements made by the former members contradict the statement Emilee released publically last week. She told the community last week she had limited contact with the mother.
Emilee says she offered no medical advice to the mother and only spoke to her briefly.
Since the death of the infant, there has been considerable criticism of the group for not helping the mother. However, after reviewing the exchanges by former members, there is little doubt that Emilee holds some level of responsibility for the infant’s death.
To break down what members said about the event, they allege:
- Emilee deleted any comments by members that suggested the mother should seek assistance.
- Emilee admitted to mothers in private conversations with members she was in contact with the mother.
- Members allege Emilee told them the mother and baby were fine and did not need help.
- Former members suggest the radicalization of the group created a toxic environment for women. When members needed assistance, they felt shamed by the group to speak up or seek help.
- Several members believe Emilee is using the death of the infant as a way to seek financial gain.
- The group contained inexperienced mothers with no birth experience. Because of their inexperience, members did not know warning signs during a birth.
Many of the mothers expressed gratitude that the group was shutting down. The current group, the women, are in does not block members from discussing hospital intervention if it is needed.
What we learned in the investigation is that many of these members were victims of Emilee’s poor choices. Women attempted to help the mother, and Emilee took great lengths to stop them. Many of them described feeling depressed and guilty for the infant’s death.
Our reporting of the death has always been focused on the toxic community Free Birth Society created with their rules. Now it appears that members feel the same way.
The real question is if Emilee will ever take responsibility for her role in the death of the infant. Based on all of our research and reading hundreds of conversations, we are doubtful that Emilee will ever take the blame.
Emilee’s motives are more evident with each passing day that her power was most important. Her desire to make money and create a radical community is more important than the safety of its members.
We believe Emilee Saldaya is a dangerous cult leader.
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