Congratulations on giving birth to your…whatever

This evidently kicked up a storm (pun intended) last week: news about a Canadian couple that has decided to keep their new baby’s gender a secret.


When Kathy Witterick gave birth to her third child in January, friends and family knew not to send blue or pink balloons.

The Toronto Star reports that, following their home waterbirth, Witterick, 38, and her husband, David Stocker, 39, sent a simple email to everyone in their social network, explaining that they planned to keep their child’s biological sex a secret. Only six people — apart from Storm — know the child’s biological sex: the parents, his or her two brothers Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, and the two midwives present at the baby’s birth.

“We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …),” the Toronto-based couple wrote.

At only 4 months old, Storm has already lived up to his or her name, birthing a tempest of controversy. The story has made international headlines, was featured on “Today” and “The View” this morning and has spurred ethical debates throughout the parenting blogosphere.

Read more. There’s video at the link, too.

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13 responses to “Congratulations on giving birth to your…whatever”

  1. I have been reading about Storm and his parents for about a week now. It gives me one more reason to be thankful that I no longer live in Toronto, among couples as “progressive” as these.

  2. This whole thing is just silly! What is to keep the 5 and 2 year old from finally announcing the gender of the baby? You would think that the parents would be more concerned with other things besides this little game they have come up with. :o)

  3. Jeff S, don’t be too hard on Toronto, eh? Sure there are people here who set our heads spinning and make us wander around asking why??? why??? But there are also about 2 million Catholics here in the Archdiocese, and many, many more good, caring and solid people whose heads may be shaking right now about this action.

    But as I see it here’s the thing: as with the attacks on Sacramental Marriage, faithful and chaste relationships and many other things we who are Catholics hold dear, this incident gives us the opportunity to participate in the debate because we do have something to say.

    A recent conversation gave me the opportunity to let a couple of interested people know that in my faith, men and women are both created equally in God’s image, and that means to me that God intended us to see each other in our respective gender roles. But that intention of God calls on each of us to both honour and pursue the equality of God’s creations who are women and God’s creations who are men.

    God bless.

  4. DcnDon — If we see each other only in our respective gender roles, that seems a variation of “separate-but-equal” as opposed to simply “equal”. It also seems sexist.

  5. Frank,

    I certainly don’t mean ONLY in any way whatsoever; I believe what our ‘gender roles’ become is largely a function of how our society evolves for the better through our participation in it.

    Fifty years ago, a man who expressed his nurturing side in wanting to be the primary caregiver of his children was very likely to be viewed as strange or simply incapable of ‘living up to his role as provider.’ Today we see that as foolishness. Likewise for women who feel their natural place is to be in the marketplace or wherever they choose to be, in some other role traditionally reserved for men.

    There is no need to disguise who we are in order to grow as individuals – we are female and male. It’s what we do that allows us to journey toward equality in areas in which we do not now find it.

    As for being sexist, my understanding of sexism is attitudes or behaviour based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles, preferences or abilities, so it’s up to all of us to be open to new interpretations and new living out of those roles.

    Will that provide us challenges we have to work to overcome? If it’s done thoroughly it surely will.

    God bless

  6. DcnDon,

    Your reply is well stated.

    I want to focus on the part stating it is foolishness to not have women ” …. be in the marketplace or wherever they choose to be, in some other role traditionally reserved for men.”

    Would you include the Catholic priesthood as one of those “wherever they choose to be” positions?

    I am in favor of female Catholic priests. It seems shortsighted of the Church to not avail itself of this wonderful pool of talent.

  7. Frank,

    I thought of that when I wrote what I did, and while I believe the debate on this point will outlast the years I may have left, I must be faithful to the Church as it is now, not as I or someone else thinks it should be or might like it to be. Please understand by including “I” in the previous sentence I am not taking a debating side on this issue.

    As an ordained Deacon, I cannot anoint a dying person although I can celebrate Viaticum with and for them, which I did yesterday afternoon. A colleague in my community prison ministry is an Anglican Deacon, and he can anoint. At times I wish I could, I might even be able to rationalize it if I worked at it, and the person I am with might feel better for it, but that is not the ministry I have been ordained to serve. I minister to those to whom I am sent in the way appropriate to my ordination – there is more than enough to do to keep a simple person like me busy.

    In like fashion, on the issue of ordination I refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1577:

    “Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.” The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”

    The part that lingers with me is this: “The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself.” That simple statement describes where I find the Church today, and how I view her position on the issue. Whether I am personally comfortable or uncomfortable with that position is a matter for me to deal with privately.

    God bless

  8. I agree with #8–This is a form of child abuse. And that makes it our business!

  9. What Frank said at #4.

    I don’t know if this is child abuse or not. I don’t have the details, nor do I care to have them.

    There are a lot of wrong things that do harm to children in greater numbers than so-called genderless babies. Poverty. Parents serving in the active military overseas for long periods of time. Alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy. Let’s work on these and stop playing moral chicken littles about things that are none of our business.

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