Can You Please Butt the F*** Out Of This Mom’s Life?!

Yesterday, the story of Storm Stocker, the baby being raised without his or her gender being made public, created an intense debate publicized by the media.  You can find stories here, here and pretty much all over (just Google it).

In a May 7, 2011 photo, Kathy Witterick plays with two-year-old son Kio in Toronto.

Storm’s mother, Kathy Witterick, defended the family’s choice not to uncover the sex of their baby saying, “The idea that the whole world must know our baby’s sex strikes me as unhealthy and voyeuristic.”  And that the “strong, lightning-fast, vitriolic response was a shock.”

I try to be a peaceful person (emphasis on the try).  In most situations I can see both sides of a debate and allow for differences of opinion.  But I just can’t hold my tongue in this case.

I don’t agree or disagree with this mother’s decision but I strongly support her right to make it!

I appreciate that there is a feeling that this is not “normal” so it feels scary to many people.  But from my understanding, the research and studies that would be required to understand whether this is healthy or unhealthy just don’t exist.   And yet a number of people have decided they know best how this family should run their home.

So many of my clients are women who have ignored their own inner knowledge of what was right for themselves and their family in exchange for some version of motherhood dictated by the “norm” and “media.”  They feel disconnected from their lives and overwhelmed by their life.  Once these same women learn to turn inward for their answers, their well-being and the overall well-being of their families inevitably increases.

Every single day parents, especially mothers, are bombarded with messages about what it takes to be a good mother from completely UNQUALIFIED experts.  And somewhere along the way we’ve come to believe that if we don’t incorporate all this “knowledge” into our parenting, we are not good mothers.

This needs to end and it needs to end now.  I firmly believe we have yet to recognize how debilitating this outward focus is to us as individuals, our families and the country at large.

I realize you may have a strong opinion about Kathy Witerrick’s decision not to reveal the sex of her baby but could you stop for a minute and ask yourself what informs that opinion?  Do you have access to some gender research not yet published?  Do you have special knowledge about this particular situation?

Or do you simply have a gut feeling about it?

And could that gut feeling possibly be tinged with a bit of fear or ignorance?

Everyone is entitled to an opinion.  That is one of the gifts of being human.  I just have a request for those of you who feel exceptionally open to sharing those opinions about other people’s parenting choices – and I make this request with absolutely no authority – on behalf of all mother’s doing the very best we can with the information we have access to:

Can you please butt the F*** out of this Mom’s life!

Image By: Toronto Star, The Canadian Press, Steve Russell / AP
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11 comments to Can You Please Butt the F*** Out Of This Mom’s Life?!

  • Should the world be involved in this family’s life? NO.
    Is this a little insane? Yes.

    I don’t like to judge people (I really don’t!) and I’m CERTAIN that this mother is raising her children as she sees fit but I’m going to have to disagree with HOW she’s doing so.

    Gender is biological. You either have lady parts or man parts. Should your parts dictate your preferences and choices in life? NO. If you want to be a BOY that likes to wear dresses, I have no problem with that. And no one should either.

    I feel that allowing a child to grow up knowing WHAT he/she is but defining WHO he/she is {just as this mom has done with her older children} and standing by their choices is much harder to do than to simply conceal the gender.

    • Patty Lennon

      Hi Nicole! I get it. What this mom is doing feels “wrong” to many people but there really isn’t any solid research that would support the concerns that I’ve heard and unless there is something to point to that would say “This is going to harm this child” I just don’t feel we have a right to pass judgment. Also, since babies don’t really gender identify for the first couple of years there is absolutely no risk right now.

      My biggest concern in this whole situation is that people feel entitled to pass judgment. There is a fundamental lack of respect for the individual parent-child relationship when that occurs. Being a mom is hard enough. This mom (and dad) clearly have been very thoughtful in their decision.

  • I found my way to you cause we’re both sponsoring Ayelet Waldman on her tour. Came across this blog. We obviously have a lot in common in our perspective. Let’s stay in touch.

    And thanks for writing this…

  • Could not have said it better myself.

    Having been judged as a mother (haven’t we all, at one point or another?), I fully appreciate your perspective that we need to turn into our own wisdom rather than constantly seek it from “experts”. No child is the same as another. No family identical.

    • Patty Lennon

      Thanks Kimberly! I think we have all been judged as mothers. You are so right! Unless there is actual abuse involved I don’t think anyone has the right to step into the middle of someone else’s parenting and judge. Mom Gets A Life is a judgment-free zone for exactly that reason!

  • Mary Matthews

    Hi Patty,
    You are such a wonderful soul to stand by Motherhood in all forms, shapes and sizes. There have been so many studies on the psychological aspect of gender from early ages. Allowing children choices of toys, playmates, clothing? The child probably isn’t phased in the least or cares about anything other than the loves it receives. Thanks for staying neutral and strong in your thoughts. You lead by a strong example. While I am not a “Mom” I know we are all connected and doing the best we can down here on this little planet. You have such a strong maternal instinct. So nice that you use it — even outside you own family.

  • Your position is well taken, not just for mothers but for anyone who decides to “call the shots” in their own lifestyle. This is certainly true for me, who am walking my own Path in defiance of the judgments of others.
    Bright Blessings!

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