The Talk. It’s coming—you know it is. One of these days, your child is going to ask you—probably in mixed company—how that lady got a baby in her belly. Or why your son has different equipment than your daughter. Or, the classic, where do babies come from?
And you will hope for grace and ease and for just the right words. You may say gently, “Well, we can talk about that more when we get home,” or you may turn beet red in the check out line and panic while the English language escapes you. Or, you might have a copy of How God Makes Babies at home and feel like now, now is the time to pull it out and have The Talk.
For us, that time came around midday last Friday. In anticipation of the more pointed questions of our five-year-old, I fully expected to hear the ” . . . but how did the baby get in there?” line of questioning during this pregnancy, and so on a friend’s recommendation I bought Jim Burns’s book, How God Makes Babies. I am nothing if not preemptive.
But for a number of reasons (many of which came from this post), we decided not to wait until our kids started asking questions, but to broach the subject ourselves, since we want our girls to know from an early age that these are things we can talk about together. We want to hear their questions and help them find the answers.
And so I said a quick prayer that Lydia would keep only the information that she needs now. Then I curled up with her and read How God Makes Babies. The book turned out to be an invaluable resource, as it covered pretty much everything one could hope for at an age appropriate level: who has which private parts, what they’re for and who can and cannot touch them, plus (most pertinent for our family) how a baby grows and develops and eventually makes its way out into the world.
Burns gives great, concise answers to complex questions, but doesn’t oversimplify. He explains marriage well; he explains sex and puts it in its intended context. As a chronic over-explainer, I was thankful for a book that gave measured answers to such big questions without overwhelming readers with useless detail.
I do not expect our conversations on this topic to end with this book, but for now, the door is open and the book is on the bookshelf. I even read selected passages to Sarah, and now both girls love to read over the pages about the baby’s development, which is, perhaps, all they need for now.
How God Makes Babies comes with an age recommendation of 6-9. I also ordered a copy of God Made Your Body, which is aimed at a younger audience (ages 3-5) and focuses more on how cool our bodies are, how we’re all different and so on, while deftly sliding an explanation of the differences between boys and girls into the narrative. It also talks about pregnancy and birth, so the girls have really enjoyed that one, too. And no one has used awkward terms in awkward circumstances (so far).
Of course, be sure to pre-read these books before you read them with your kids, and use your discretion about when to introduce which topics to your kids (you can always spot read relevant sections of the book and save the rest for later). You know them far better than I do.
How God Makes Babies
Jim Burns (2009)
God Made Your Body
Jim Burns (2009)