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Gender Neutral Baby Creates Storm of Its Own–Can There Be a Happy Ending?

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When Toronto parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker decided to withhold identifying the gender of their baby from everyone except a few friends and the siblings, it turns out that naming the baby Storm was prophetic.

For those of us who can remember a few decades before sonograms when the gender of the baby was a surprise to even parents until the baby was born, it seems like a silly thing for the public to get upset about.

In spite of the fact that the parents granted only one interview to the Toronto Star, this story has created an international sensation and is being widely reported and debated.

I’m no exception. I have an opinion too.

The public’s concern is another overraction to a private decision. While this Toronto couple can hardly be considered conventional, they are not doing anything that is out of keeping with what many modern parents are doing. The older two boys are free to grow long hair and are being homeschooled, according to news reports. So it this couple wants to shield their third child from gender stereotypes for as long as possible, why should that upset the rest of us?

(Of course, since this story has gone viral, it’s not likely that the gender will remain a secret much longer.)

The vitriolic reaction of some folks says more about the public than about the Toronto parents. Accusing these parents of engaging in a social experiment at the expense of their children or calling them “stupid” or “freaks” is irresponsible on the part of the attackers.

As long as these parents are raising healthy children in a loving environment, what right do we have to judge their decision?

Besides, those of us who are parents know that many factors other than the gender of our kids contribute to their eventual happiness. As the mom of four adult kids, I know that the efforts I made to shield or expose my kids to whatever influences we thought were best, had limited success. Once my kids grew up and were exposed to other kids, media, education and society at large, they eventually made their own decisions about everything, with gender preferences being my least concern.

Even if we raised our kids in a remote cave, free of any outside influences, their genetic dispositions will still lead them to make their own decisions and develop their own preferences.

So the public outrage over this private matter is outrageous. We each have much we could be doing instead to create happy endings for ourselves and our children.

What is your take on this story? Don’t be shy. You might as well chime in. Everyone else has.

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