Monday, August 10, 2015

Pregnancy Principles for Pre-Teens


As a family, we enjoy watching "Full House." It was a wonderful part of my growing up years, as well as my husband's. We have studiously watched every episode in consecutive order through season 4 as a family. We enjoyed watching Jesse and Becky get married. At the end of season 4, Becky finds out she is pregnant, but is worried about Jesse's response. She is nervous to tell him and the whole family knows she is pregnant, except her new husband. 

A couple weeks after watching this episode, our 9-year-old son approached me in the morning, right before we were getting ready to leave. 

K: "So, if it takes a man and woman to make a baby, how did Jesse not know that Becky was pregnant? They both had to work together to make the baby."
Me: "Why yes, yes you are right. Good question. That will take a little while to explain. Can we talk about that tonight when we have a little more time?"
K: "Sure."

So, I didn't realize I would be teaching him about a female cycle until he was closer to puberty, but that was the only way to honestly answer this question. I was glad we were leaving so I could have time to think about an appropriate way to answer his question. I wanted to answer the question and give him enough information, but not too much. That is a tricky balance. I like to let the kids guide the discussion as much as possible, but I also know I need to be prepared for more than I'm thinking I'm going to share if questions are asked that go beyond the original question. 

Later.....
M: "I'm ready to answer your question about Jesse and Becky now."
K: "Good." (VERY emphatically)
M: (Laugh - I have to laugh - he really wants to know....I put a balloon, two pens, and two balls on the floor; I grabbed what was easy to work with).  "Do you remember how we talked about how the uterus is like a balloon?" 
K: "Yeah."
M: "So, how is it like a balloon?"
K: "Well, it has an opening. It gets bigger.It can get smaller again, too."
M: "Yes. Those are important similarities. So, what happens during sex, which is how a baby gets started?"
K: "Well, the man puts his penis in the woman's part. I forgot the name."
M: "Vagina."
K: "Yeah."
M: "That's like the opening in the balloon. The penis goes in the vagina, like the opening here. When the sperm is released, it goes into the vagina and uterus."
K: "Okay. I know that."
M: "Well, here are other parts of a woman that help make a baby. The sperm comes from a man's penis. The woman's egg comes from this ball here. It's called an ovary. A woman has two ovaries, that are like little balls. One time a month, an egg leaves the ovary (pointing to the ball) and goes through these tubes (pointing to the pens). These are called Fallopian Tubes. The egg then goes into the uterus. Somewhere along that journey, the egg and sperm meet and a baby can get started. A woman doesn't always know when the egg is going to be released from her ovary."
K: "She doesn't know."
M: "Most women don't really know when it's released  because we can't feel it."
K: "Oh."
M: "Any questions so far?"
K: "What are these called again (pointing to the balls)?"
M: "Ovaries."

K: "Okay. And these (Pointing to the pens)?"
M: "Fallopian Tubes."
K: "Okay. So, how does she know when she's pregnant?"
M: "Well, every month, if the sperm and egg don't meet to make a baby, the uterus gets rid of the stuff it has been saving to make a cushiony and safe place for a baby to grow."

K: "What? The uterus does what?"
M: "Every month the uterus starts preparing to help a baby grow. The sides of it get thicker. If a baby doesn't start to grow, the uterus needs to get rid of the extra stuff it's been saving because it doesn't need it to help a baby grow. Does that make sense?"
K: "Yeah. It actually does."

M: "So, every month if there's not a baby growing, the extra lining comes out of the uterus and it's kind of like bleeding, just a little. That's how a woman knows she's not pregnant."
K: "So, if she doesn't have that stuff come out, she knows she is pregnant."
M: "Well, mostly yes. She goes to the doctor to make sure she's pregnant. That's why Becky was talking to the doctor on the phone. The doctor told her for sure that she was pregnant."
K: "Oh. I understand."
M: "Then, when the baby is born, it comes out the same opening in the vagina."
K: "Yeah. I remember that."
M: "Any more questions?"
K: "Hmmmmm....not right now."
M: "Well, you can always come ask if you think of something."
K: "I know."

I was so happy to hear that he knows I am here if he has questions....and he's been asking a lot of questions.....

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