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Explaining to My Preschooler How Babies Are Born

When I was pregnant with my second child, my first was just a baby himself. I'm not sure he even noticed anything was different about me. I had a home birth which he actually didn't get to see because his grandmother had taken him to the library for story time at the same moment his sister came roaring into the world. Either way he was only 19 months old at the time so I'm not sure he would have remembered the birth even if he had seen it with his own eyes.

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Now he's four years old and I'm pregnant with a surrogacy baby. It's been interesting to see how he has taken this pregnancy in stride. He fully understands what's happening and is such a sweet little guy to the unborn baby and to me. He's definitely more aware this time around and is curious about how pregnancy works. But it still took me by surprise when he asked me out of the blue, "How is the baby going to come out of your belly?"

We're pretty open with our kids about everything. We want our kids to have a healthy view of sex as they grow up and we want them to feel comfortable asking us any questions they may have. We call a penis a penis and a vagina a vagina. We do our best to discuss everything in an age-appropriate way and believe honesty is the best policy.

I guess it is pretty incredible when you think about it. I can hardly believe it myself.

So after thinking for a minute I said, "Well, when the baby is ready I will start having contractions, which is like a pain I will get in my belly. The baby will move down into what's called the birth canal, which is like a tube between the belly and the outside and then she comes out through my vagina." I looked at him in a matter-of-fact sort of way.

The look on his face was incredulous, "What?!" He couldn't believe it. I guess it is pretty incredible when you think about it. I can hardly believe it myself. I think maybe he didn't fully get how it would all go down and considered showing him some birthing videos but he didn't press the matter so I dropped it. I decided if he asks again I will show him pictures from his own birth.

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It's interesting having these kinds of conversations with a preschooler and as weird as it may feel at times, it's important. I want my kids to be knowledgeable about these matters. I'm pretty sure my son's future wife will thank me that I took the time to teach him instead of leaving him in the dark. Also, I'm just glad he didn't ask me how babies are made in the first place. Maybe I'll send him to his dad for that conversation.

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Photograph by: Twenty20

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