Mama, How Did The Baby Get In Your Tummy?

What do you do when your three-year old starts to ask where babies come from? I have to be honest, I knew this question would creep up eventually, but not this young. I guess since Isabelle was born, she has been fascinated with everything to do with babies, doctors, and midwives. She often tells us that she wants to be a doctor. Her exact words the other day were 'I want to be a doctor, in a hospital and do blood pressure like when you had a tummy bump. 

Now, I like to think that I'm fairly open with Emily, We don't really have different names for body parts, for the most part, she calls them what they are, which I think is really important. In my opinion, it lessens any sense that sexual topics are off-limits and embarrassing. God forbid anyone touched Emily inappropriately, I want her to be able to tell me, to not hide it, or be embarrassed. As someone who was sexually assaulted as a minor, I think that it is really important for her to feel comfortable and secure in her body, and in the fact that no means no. No matter the situation. 

I already introduced the NSPCC pants campaign to Emily, and I will do the same with Isabelle - if you haven't heard about it I would definitely go and check it out. It gives child-friendly practical and reassuring advice, It doesn't scare or upset people, as that is not what they want. They just want to make talking about sexual abuse and keeping safe as easy as teaching your child about crossing the road safely. While it really bothers me that it is something we have to teach our children, I believe it really is important to equip them with all the information they may need to protect themselves if they ever need to. I personally don't see the big deal in talking about sex, where babies come from, or using the correct terminology for body parts and the more comfortable you are with it, the more comfortable your child will be.

The whole thing started really innocently, Emily was playing with her baby like she does most days. Since Isabelle has been born, she likes to dress her babies up, feed them, change them, give them whatever they may need. I came into the living room after getting Isabelle down for a nap, to find Emily had popped her baby under her shirt, and when I asked her what she was doing she said 'look, mama, I have a tummy bump, like you'. She then pulled it out and shouted 'ta-da, I have a baby'.

A few seconds later, this confused little look set in on her face and I just knew that the curiosity had got the better of her, and I was in for lots of questions I hadn't even thought about yet. Then came the question I knew was coming, 'mama, how did the baby get in your tummy'. Now I could have completely avoided it, lied, told her it was magic, or that I ate it - I've actually heard someone say that before, but I wanted to be honest with her, I know that she looks to me for the truth, and information. She just wants to learn.

After a few seconds of the puzzled look, and me trying to scramble for something to say, I said the first thing that came into my mind, that wasn't too much information for her to process but was the truth and something that I felt comfortable telling her. Knowing that it would keep the curiosity at bay for a little while longer. I simply replied, 'well, when two people really love each other they want to start a family, just like daddy and I really love you. A seed from daddy and an egg from mama join together in mamas tummy, and that grows a baby - that's why mama has a tummy bump.' She looked at me for a second, and then said 'oh, like chickens have eggs, and baby chickens'. I just kind of smiled at her, I wasn't really too sure how I was going to answer that - but before I got a chance she came out with 'oh so thats why you went to the hospital to have sissy, the doctor got the baby out of your tummy'. Reassuring her that she was right, that the doctor helped to get her sister out seemed to satisfy her enough that she went back to playing. 

I really hope that for now, thats enough of an explanation for her, and that we wont come back to this topic till she is much older. Old enough for her to have a better understanding, and for me to be able to explain to her a little better, but for now, it's worked, she has gone back to playing with her babies.

I'm hoping that being open and honest with her about anything and everything sex related, whether that is asking questions about periods, how babies are made, tampons, sexuality or condoms - will make it easier for her as she gets older. I want her to know that she can come to me, I don't want it to be something that she is worried to talk about, or embarrassed about. After all, you don't even need to go to the doctors now to talk about contraceptive, condoms, or even to get prescribed viagra, you can get viagra connect at the independent pharmacy. This is something you can do in a chemist, at school where they have sexual health adivsers. Sex is normal, healthy, and it's not something we should be embarrassed about.

- collaborative post

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