A Connecticut mother has expressed her shock and anger after being asked by her child’s kindergarten whether her son was born vaginally or via Cesarian section.
As Cara Paiuk’s son is getting ready to start school in the fall, her husband was tasked with filling out a large packet of prematriculation forms.
In a piece for the New York Times’ parenting blog Motherlode, 43-year-old Ms. Paiuk wrote that she brought the operation to a halt when she noticed a very intrusive question among the paperwork.
The West Hartford mother-of-three was glancing over her husband’s shoulder when she first saw the question, which asked parents to check off whether their child’s birth was vaginal or via C-section.
‘I ripped the form out from under his pen,’ she wrote. ‘Why was he answering this question? Come to think of it, why was anyone answering it?’
At the very least, they should reword the question to say, “Is there any birth trauma we should be aware of?”
It seemed to her quite obvious that this query was both intrusive and inappropriate, even though her husband hadn’t been given it a second thought.
The request for such personal information reminded her of an ‘awful blind date’ where a woman is asked if ‘the carpet matched the drapes’. She felt any inquiry about her vagina, especially one from her son’s school, was improper – and in this case, it also seemed irrelevant.
So Ms. Paiuk had a meeting with the school’s nurse, who informed her that the information was stored in case the child had an issue that might be explained by trauma that happened at birth.
Ms. Paiuk argued that this explanation didn’t really clear up why the school needed to know the birth method, especially because, as she noted in an interview with The Huffington Post, trauma can occur during both vaginal and Cesarean births.
‘So at the very least, they should reword the question to say, “Is there any birth trauma we should be aware of?” she said.
Looking for more answers, the determined mom then spoke with a medical adviser to the school district, who told her that this was a common question and she was the only parent to ever voice an objection to it.
Because she didn’t get a response she liked, Ms. Paiuk decided to skip filling out the form altogether. Though she doesn’t think it was meant to be offensive, she does believe it is in serious need of updating.
She also clarified that she is not fundamentally against discussing how her child was born, especially with a doctor. But she argued that a school doesn’t need that information.
It also seemed hypocritical to Ms. Paiuk that the school distinct would see no issue in asking whether a child was born vaginally, but they do refrain from asking about children’s dietary habits because, she was told, parents are ‘sensitive’ about that.
To her, it seemed likely that other women would be just as ‘sensitive’ about the delivery question as she was. In fact, she discussed the form with other mothers, and many were shocked that she was asked such a thing. She told them that they had probably filled out the same form, but they may not have even realized it because society is now so ‘immune’ to intrusive questionnaires.
In fact, many people who read her New York Times piece expressed similar outrage and confusion over the question.
‘What’s next on the forms? Was your child planned or unexpected?’ wrote one, while another person added: ‘What an incredibly invasive question!’
One person echoed Ms. Paiuk’s opinion succinctly, saying: ‘The fact is, there is no evidence to support an association between birth type (vaginal vs. C-section) and learning or behavioral difficulties later in life. The question is irrelevant. End of story.’
Fortunately for Ms. Paiuk and mothers like her, the point will soon be moot. West Hartford Public Schools superintendent Tom Moore told Daily Mail Online that the forms will be revised in the future to include noninvasive questions.
‘It’s never come up in all the years I’ve been here,’ Mr. Moore said – adding that he and his wife filled out the form himself – but he understands that people may not have given it much thought because they fill out so many forms.
‘If we’re being unwelcoming in any way, we want to fix that,’ he explained.
New wording, which has yet to be approved, will focus on finding out if there is ‘anything we should know to help us better educate your child’ without asking about delivery method.
Source: Daily Mail