My sister is pregnant. Check that. She was pregnant. She had a beautiful baby boy a day and a half ago. This is the first time that my kids have been around a family member from the start to the end of pregnancy. This resulted in lots of questions, but mostly just "How does the baby get out of there?"
I was apparently just not that curious as a kid. Or I just never spent much time around pregnant people. I am the youngest so I have no brothers or sisters that I witnessed growing in my mothers belly. Or I was just too chicken to ask. Or maybe it's because I grew up on a farm and I saw calves being born on a regular basis. I guess I just never much cared how people gave birth to another tiny human.
So when my boy first asked me how babies are born, I freaked out. And then I turned to facebook. Because facebook has all the answers. Okay, facebook doesn't have all the answers, but it does have access to all the mothers that I know and I needed to ask them what they did when their kids asked this delicate question. So I asked them.
Some said they told their children that it came out of their belly button. I had to veto that one. I heard a story from a nurse friend once that said that there was a teenage girl in labor who actually thought the baby was going to come out of her belly button. I just can't set my kids up for that kind of failure as a human being. Some mothers told their kids that the doctors cut them, took the baby out, and sewed them back up. Okay, that is legitimate because they actually had c-sections, but I nor my sister has had a c-section. Then my cousin wrote me a note back and said you know what, you just need to tell them the cold, hard truth. Accept for the cold hard part. And make it not scary and age appropriate. So thank you Mary, I gathered up my courage, and the next time my kids asked, I told them.
But this time they didn't ask how it was coming out of their aunt's belly, they asked how babies would come out of their dog's belly. I found it much easier to talk about it in terms of my dog instead of my sister. Sorry Lisa, you've been compared to animals a LOT lately.
Then one night before bed my Sonny Boy asked again and he was very concerned that it hurt the mommy. I said yes, it does hurt a lot but then the mommies are happy when the baby is born. Truth was my new mantra. I was convicted. He said okay, can I go to bed now? That's when I realized that he thought that I was STILL in pain from when he was born. Then I had to tell him that it only hurts when the baby is born and once the baby is out, it doesn't hurt any more.
Then, Lord help me, he asked how it went back. I told him the baby doesn't go back in. He said no, not the baby, how does the hole go back? ( I didn't have the heart to tell him that it never quite fully recovers). With the help of God and a tubesock, I showed him that things that stretch can go back to their original state. I'm pretty sure I scarred him for life. But by golly, he knows how babies get out.
My Princess Blondie finally asked how babies got out when she was holding her new baby cousin in the hospital. Luckily, my girl likes animal documentaries and she had just seen one in which lots of baby animals were born. I told her it was a lot like that but people go to hospitals instead of having them outside in the dirt and grass. She seemed pretty satisfied with that answer. Thank God for PBS. Lisa, really, I'm very sorry that you've been compared to a beagle, a wildebeest, and zebras. I think you look like none of those. And readers, I'm sorry that I've now scarred you for life too.
So now I just pray every night that my kids never ask how a baby gets IN a mommy's belly. I'm just not prepared for that. I need a few years. And I need to move back to a farm. It makes all this birds and bees business a lot easier to explain.