I understand that for many (sane) parents this is not an issue. The kid wants to know? Tell her! The end. Experts agree, and good, loving parents the nation over host “Birth: How It Happens” seminars for their wide-eyed, inquisitive children.
he had to find something to do
While I truly admire parents for being frank and get that experts are paid for their opinions, I just don’t like the way this thing usually goes down. From what I’ve seen, forward conversations about birth leave kids terrified and bewildered. Come to think of it, those conversations usually leave me terrified and bewildered. Let’s just say the doctor brings me the baby in her fancy black bag, OK? I’m happy with that. On the one hand, I want to be direct with my babies and explain things correctly before Someone Else usurps the privilege. But on the other hand . . .
Birth is a technical process, true, and as a technical process not that hard to explain. But it’s ever so much more than a technical process—the horrible suffering, the strange beauty, the awful mortification and the soaring joy of birth cannot be explained in a cursory casting about of medical terminology and charts. What's more, children intuit some, but not enough of what lies behind the technical diagramming—hence their terror. Even when taught Latin words and Grey’s Anatomy, they don’t understand. How could they? So, why not save the sticky stuff ‘til later?
I’d rather my children laugh at my belly until it’s time to wonder at their new sibling, and call it a day. My little people are still pretty little; we’ll slouch toward the in-depth seminars slowly: first crawl, then walk, then run, with information sufficient to each stage. In the meantime, how did those of you with older children handle explaining birth (just birth, really; we can discuss the other side of this coin some other time)? Be warned, everything you say can and will be stolen. ;)