Miss Moo is much more aware of my pregnancy this time around. When I was carrying Miss Roo, she was VERY young and only could comprehend that there was a baby in my belly. This time she wants to feel him kick, know what he eats, how he moves, etc. She's interested in who my midwife is and what she does when I visit her. I tell her what she does and how she checks on the baby. I've also told her she can earn a solo visit with me after Christmas - she's getting a stethoscope from NanaPop so I'm sure she'll be excited to go.
We are always very clear and honest with our children when it comes to anatomy and biological processes. We talk about bodily functions openly and clearly so that we know what is going on with them and to teach them how to properly identify their parts and tell us of any problems. Given all the educating that we do with regard to our bodies and their cycles, I should have been ready for the inevitable question she asked me the other day. I SHOULD have been ready but I didn't let myself think she'd "get" it that well. I had also hoped I would have been better prepared to answer it and in a better setting - not driving on the interstate.
"Mommy, how is my baby brother going to get out of your belly?"
I didn't want to lie to her and I didn't want to scare her. I also had to think fast. So I told her a brief version of the truth.
"You know how you and mommy have vagingas* that make us special? Well it is even more special because it lets babies come out of Mommy's belly. That's how you and Roo came out and your brother will come out the same way. Some Mommies have problems or really big babies and they need help - so they make a cut in their bellies and get the babies out. But Mommy is blessed to have you all with the help of her vaginga."
I glanced in the rear view and could see the wheels turning. Slowly she asked, "If I have a baby - it has to come out my vaginga?"
"Well,yes, but you don't have to worry about that until you are much older, Baby Girl, and we can learn more about all that then."
So, now - faced with our planned home birth - I must enter a new level of education with regard to pregnancy and birth. I must decide what involvement she'll have in the prenatal learning as well as the birth. And, I need to find resources to help educate her gently. Although I think the Birth Doll is cool, I don't want to spend the money and I'm not sure we "need" it. There are several books I've seen mentioned around the web that I am considering purchasing for us - specifically We're Having a Homebirth!
But mostly, I'm just going to talk to her. I want her to feel excited about our new family member, her role in his life, and how special and loved she will be by him. If I want to openly communicate with my daughter, I have to do it at every age level and for every situation. I have to talk when she wants to discuss things and educate when I have the opportunity. And above all, I have to make her feel comfortable, listened to, and loved.
*Vaginga is what we have always called vaginas since she started pointing to body parts and naming them - she couldn't get the pronunciation right and we found it endearing.