Having “The Talk” with William
William has been asking for a sibling for years. It hasn’t been easy on my heart to see him be an only child, and all the times he has asked me about the chance of having a little brother or sister, and always telling him, that it just wasn’t the right time, or that it may not ever happen was never easy to do. He is a sweet boy, with a big heart. When we told him that we were going to try to have a baby, he was so excited; like really, really excited. There were many hugs, and questions. Yep, those questions. I have given him the basics over the years, little talks, but he is a bit older now, loves science, and has always been inquisitive, so this time around our conversation was quite a bit more in depth. Off to the library we went.
We picked out a bunch of books on pregnancy and babies. The pictures and design of the books were so easy for me to use in explaining things to him. The conversations lasted almost a week, questions poured in, and each time I kept it as open and comfortable as I could for him, knowing that although he is interested, he was also slightly embarrassed when talking about the “s” word. If you want to check out the books we think are awesome out of all the ones we borrowed from the library, they are Pregnancy Day by Day and the Pregnant Body Book, both published by DK. We also used a few You Tube videos that showed quick videos of some of the things we talked about, and watched a National Geographic documentary about how babies grow from conception to birth.
Of the funniest and most candid things William declared to me was, “don’t tell me when you guys do the “s” stuff. I am just going to watch cartoons. Yuck. I can’t believe you have to do that.” Which I explained back that I would not share that with him, and that thought never crossed my mind, laughing a bit as I said it. The conversation didn’t end there though. He went on to say, “well I guess since you guys are married now it is okay if you do the “s” stuff, but only to make a baby right? I don’t have to do that when I get older unless my wife and I want a baby, right? Because I think it’s gross, and should only have to be something you do when you make a baby. Why did God have to make it that way? “
My response, holding in my feeling of laughter at his cuteness and little pre-teen boyishness, was, “well, grownups have sex sometimes before they are married, and even when they are not trying to make a baby. It’s great to wait until you are married and really know you love the person you are with, and God, according to the Bible made sex for a man and woman that love one another after they get married, after they make a promise to cherish and respect one another. Sometimes, often nowadays, that is not the case. Lots of people have sex before marriage, but what I want you to remember is that when the time comes for you, and you feel ready, I want you to ask yourself some questions first.”
His face looked grossed out, but he was intrigued, and asked what he is supposed to ask himself.
I explained that the time may come when he is a teenager, maybe 16, maybe 19, maybe 20, and that some kids are starting far too early, even younger than 16, so it is important to make sure you are ready for an adult decision, because sex is a big choice.
At that point I could see on his face that this was a lot to absorb and think about. He is eleven, but I try to be honest with him, and understand his level of understanding certain topics. This is a boy that is still not sure if he believes Santa is real or not yet, a boy with a wonderful imagination, a boy that is still a kid, a child I have not forced to grow up too fast, but that I want to prepare for the world too. We talked some more over this week, and I was impressed with how well he did learning and opening up about this conversation. I also got a kick out his faces, oh the faces he gave me during some parts of the conversations we had. Priceless.
Also, true to who he is, a sweet and caring boy, he asked me as we were walking into Fred Meyer to grocery shop, “mom, I know it hurts girls to have babies, I mean I can’t even picture how that must feel, and I think you are brave, but does it hurt when the sperm is swimming in your fallopian tube or tries to get into your egg? Can you feel your egg? Can you feel when that happens? I don’t want you to hurt.” Which I answered with a hug and told him he is so sweet and caring, and no I cannot feel when the sperm tries to get in the egg, but that some women can feel some cramps similar to periods when the egg has been fertilized and is trying to implant in the uterus, but it is not painful, and most women don’t even know when that is happening, unless they are really tuned in, and keeping track every day. He looked relieved and then asked if he could go check out the toys and electronic aisles while I shopped.
I can’t say it is easy to have these conversations. He is my baby boy, but he is growing up, and so all I can do is be gentle in responding, offer guidance from a loving viewpoint as well as a life science/ sex ed perspective, and hope that I keep the lines of communication open with him, because it’s so important for kids to know that parents have their backs, and that they can come to them with anything. In being open with him, our bond feels that much stronger, and he is totally interested in learning what is happening with the baby’s development day by day, which is really fun to talk about, and daydream with him what the baby will be like, or hear his thoughts about what it will be like to be a big brother. One thing I can say is that William is going to be an awesome big brother, and I have no doubt he will be a good dad when he is older…hopefully at like 30. ;)
P.S. At the time of writing this I didn't have a positive pregnancy test, a s it was too early yet, but I could sure feel the symptoms hitting fast, and knew it. ;)