Both of my kids have a bright future ahead as interrogators. Seriously, Curious George has got nothing on these two. They are relentless question askers who need to know the answer to everything. I love that my kids are curious people. But, I’ve been secretly dreading the question I’m not ready to answer: How do babies get out of their mommies’ tummies?
I’ve been dodging the question for a long time. My son was 3 when his little sister was born, and naturally, he was curious about my growing belly. As her arrival got closer he asked, “Does the doctor make a door in your tummy and take out the baby?”
Images ran through my head of the movie we saw in sex education class that left me scarred for life. I can’t possibly tell a 3-year-old that there is no door. I thought to myself. There is only a part of my body that becomes very, very enlarged.
So, I agreed. “Yes, kiddo. The doctor makes a door.”
For a while, my little white lie was good enough. The subject of babies and how they are delivered never came up again — until this week.
See, the mom of my 4-year-old daughter’s bestie is about to have a baby. My kids have seen her belly grow and naturally they’ve become curious. So, as we drove to swim class the other day, the subject of Christy’s baby came up. And more importantly, the subject of how Christy’s baby was going to get out of her tummy came up.
First, the kids wanted to know when the baby was due. “July,” I answered. Then, they asked how big the baby would be. “Probably about the same size as a turkey or a chicken,” I said, sure that would be the end of the conversation. But the kids kept going, firing off one question after another and I knew that there was no chance I was going to get out of the car without answering them honestly.
Finally, my 7-year-old son asked the question: “Mommy, I don’t understand. How is Christy’s baby going to get out of her tummy?”
I paused, took a deep breath, and stopped acting like a baby myself.
“Most babies come out of their mommies’ vaginas when they are ready to be born,” I told him.
For the first time, maybe ever, my kids were silent. I looked in the rearview mirror and I swear they both looked like they had seen ghosts. I knew that in a few more seconds one of them would put two and two together and realize that they, too, had come out of a vagina. My vagina.
I could see the wheels turning as they processed what I had just told them. A few seconds passed and then my son spoke up first.
“So, does that mean we came out of your –”
Telling your kids the truth about hard-to-grasp concepts is like tearing off a Band-Aid. It’s more painful if you do it slowly. So I just said it.
“Yup, you both came out of my vagina.”
The kids made fake barfing noises and pretended to gag.
“Gross, Mommy!” my little one said.
“You’re telling me,” I joked. “Can you imagine finding an 8-pound person in your vagina?”
“Ewwww!” they both responded, cringing.
I know there will be more conversations on the subject in my future. But, for now, I’m fairly certain that my kids are done asking questions.
Have you explained to your kids how they were born? What was their reaction?
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