For many years, I’ve been filling out school forms for my children. Forms for preschool. Forms for kindergarten. Forms for new schools. And many of times, I’ve answered the question… Type of birth? Vaginal? Or C-section?
And unbelievably I never thought to NOT answer it.
Well, one mother did think to absolutely not answer it. Cara Paiuk recently wrote a piece for the New York Times and said, “The ‘baby’ who had resulted from that birth was 5 years old and well over any possible ramifications of it I could imagine. I thought it was obvious that this question was absurdly inappropriate, and said so.”
And this mom started asking why this question was asked at all. And she was told “the form was stored in the school nurse’s files so that if a teacher or other administrator perceives an issue with a child (presumably, a learning disability or behavioral problem), that person could pull the file and look for clues in the medical record that might explain the cause.”
So let’s say, a kid throws a globe at a teacher. School officials might pull his file and say, “ohhh, vaginal birth. You know traumatic it can be to come out of a vagina. Poor kiddo has a lot of stifled rage.”
Cara Paiuk wasn’t convinced either. She pointed out that birth traumas could happen via a vaginal birth or C-section. Plus, why not ask about other things that could impact a child’s behavior or learning – like diet. And she was told, “We don’t like to ask questions about food. Parents are very sensitive to that.”
But not to questions about their vaginas?! I think I can speak on behalf of all women that we are sensitive to questions about our vaginas, especially when it comes from people outside the medical profession.
Which is why I can’t figure out why I never thought to leave this question blank when filling out school forms. I just answered it like some kind of parental robot. In my defense, I’ve filled out a lot of mind numbing forms and I’d probably tell them my bra size if I thought it would move the process along faster.
The thing is – I don’t mind sharing birth information with doctors. I don’t mind sharing it with friends or anyone who asks. But it doesn’t need to be stamped on my kids’ school forms. And I’m glad a mom finally pointed this out to me.