For explaining 'where babies come from' like this?

(80 Posts)
BitofSparklingPerry Fri 11-Jan-13 00:47:06

To make a baby, you need a seed from a man, an egg from a woman and the special bit in a woman's tummy called a womb.

Usually, the baby's daddy gives the seed and the babys mummy gives the egg and womb, and they all live together as a family.

Sometimes the mummy and daddy don't live together and so the baby can have two houses! Sometimes the baby only lives with one parent. Sometimes the people who first made the baby can't be a mummy and daddy so the baby gets new parents.

Sometimes two ladies are in love and so a kind man gives them a seed, or maybe two men find a kind lady to give them an egg and let them use her womb.

Sometimes the mummy or daddy need a kind person to give eggs or seeds or let them use their womb because the mummy or daddy have a problem with theirs.

Sometimes a woman and a man even make a baby by accident! When you grow big enough o make a baby, you can get medicine that stops ou havin a baby until you want one.

All sorts of different things happen, and babies end up in all sorts of families, isn't that lovely!

No matter what, there always needs to be an egg, a seed, a womb and someone to love the baby, but there are lots of ways to do that, just like there are lots of different families.

Because this is the way I tell it to my dds when they ask, and people seem to think it hilarious... Obviously I didn't just spout all that when they were 2, but that is pretty much what emerged. Dd1 has quite a probing mind so keeps asking 'what if...' Questions, and has asked in great detail about childbirth and breastfeeding, but not about how the seed and egg meet for some reason.

(Although she got the impression from somewhere that god gives seeds out, and only if you are married to a man. Sigh.)

She wants to be a doctor or vet (or an olympic diver, despite the fact she can't swim...) so she loves a bit of gore and is asking for a model of the pregnant pelvis to go with the other models that she demands I make, then ignores...

SageYourResoluteOracle Fri 11-Jan-13 01:03:28

I actually think YANBU. And, as a parent of a child conceived with the beautiful gift of a donor egg, I am delighted that this permutation of baby making has been included!

MrsPoglesWood Fri 11-Jan-13 01:16:09

YANBU. What a brilliant explanation!

DSM Fri 11-Jan-13 01:20:03

As much as I think this is lovely, it just makes me sad to think there are people who don't explain it like this.

Not the whole 'seed and egg' thing, but the differences in different families.

SweetTeaVodka Fri 11-Jan-13 01:22:40

I think this is really lovely and am actually trying to burn it into my brain for future use!


pennefab Fri 11-Jan-13 01:27:16

Love your explanations! We are family that borrowed another woman's womb.

At the 5 yr old explanation, my DC learned that my tummy was broken and they wouldn't have been able to grow there. So another woman (who have met) let us grow baby with her.

BitofSparklingPerry Fri 11-Jan-13 01:28:57

Maybe I should write a book :-)

TraceyTrickster Fri 11-Jan-13 01:33:43

we have a book about being a donor which we have read to DD since she was little (for us to get used to the words). Think it is published by uni of Sheffield...would have to find it.
(DD wanted to take it into school but I know some parents think 5 is too young about babies etc)

MrsPoglesWood Fri 11-Jan-13 01:34:49

Yes you bloody well should!!

There's no way I could've explained it all to DS as well as you wrote it. I'd have loved a book that made it all sound so straighforward and most importantly all about love and babies being wanted.

TheBOF Fri 11-Jan-13 01:42:41

You can always bodyswerve the question by filling all the cupboards drawers and cabinets in your house with babies, then when you get asked, you can run round dramatically flinging doors open and laugh maniacally "Where don't babies come from?!"

That's how I'd like to handle it.

BitofSparklingPerry Fri 11-Jan-13 01:44:14

Amazing! grin

SageYourResoluteOracle Fri 11-Jan-13 02:00:39

Totally agree with DSM

The world would be a better place if more people like the OP explained differences between families like this. Or, simply if more parents taught their children about the facts of life with no shame and with the accurate facts.

Bitof- I think I luffs you a bit!

Tracey- I'd love the title of the book if you can find out please. DD has already been told her story (we have told her a few times since birth) but as she's entering the toddler years I'm planning on making her a 'My Story' book to help with her understanding. It also helps that we know two other families with donor egg conceived children, who will also be told the beautiful stories of how they came to be so hopefully DD will eventually have others she can chat to if she wishes.

Sorry OP- don't want to hijack thread!

Kytti Fri 11-Jan-13 02:05:36

OMG - is this market research for your book or something?

It seems reasonable to me. I wouldn't want someone else saying things like this to my 5 year-old though. It's a parent's job to do this.

BitofSparklingPerry Fri 11-Jan-13 02:09:03

Everyone I have said it in front of has said that I'm trying too hard and that the kids don't need to know, but to me it is the only way of not setting up things I then have to go back on as they get older...

ripsishere Fri 11-Jan-13 02:33:27

Of course YANBU. What a ridiculous question.
My DD got the idea that a man 'puts his willy up your bum and has a wee'. Once I'd got over my tears of hysterical laughter, we had a conversation similar to yours.
Unfortunatley the next week they grew beans from seed. DD confidently told every one they would grow into babies.

Personally I prefer to use the word sperm, I find 'seed' can get a bit confusing.

I'm a bit confused as to how many people you have had to say that in front of though. I don't randomly go about explaining biology to my DC in front of people. confused Who is it thats telling you that you're trying too hard?

Catchingmockingbirds Fri 11-Jan-13 02:50:48

How old are your dc?

ComposHat Fri 11-Jan-13 03:06:20

Sounds like a very well thought out way of explaining it, factual and inclusive without being pompus or high faluting

I assume it was one of your children who asked this question and it isn't the response you gave in your biology finals at university!

MammaTJ Fri 11-Jan-13 04:15:24

Brilliant and not unlike how I explained it to DD1 and DStD!

I have only got as far as 'You have eggs in your tummy to make a baby when you are a lady. When you grow up a bit but are not ready to make a baby, every few weeks one of those eggs comes out of your tummy, through the middle hole and what looks like blood comes out with it' with DD2 age 7. She has shown no interest in the rest of it.

Lurkymclurker Fri 11-Jan-13 04:45:49

I love this explanation and am storing it up for when DD is old enough to ask.

YorkshireDeb Fri 11-Jan-13 04:59:06

Seriously - if you saw some of the complete shite highly educational books on the market you'd get your ass down to a publishers with this beautiful explanation. My personal favourite is 'mummy laid an egg' by babette cole: "mummies & daddies for together in lots of different ways" WHAT?! Particularly love your simple explanation of gay & lesbian relationships as children are particularly inquisitive about this and yet have a lot of prejudice probably pushed on them from narrow minded adults. X

YorkshireDeb Fri 11-Jan-13 05:01:00

Whoops - that should say "mummies & daddies fit together in lots of different ways". Oh, and it comes with lovely illustrations that could give us all a few ideas for spicing things up including use of balloons! X

acceptableinthe80s Fri 11-Jan-13 07:18:28

YANBU. I'm raising my son alone and that's exactly what I've told him. He's only 4 but very inquisitive. I was looking after a friends child the other day and she very loudly in front of ds asked why he didn't have a daddy so I gave her the 'all families are different' chat. As others say I wish everyone would explain this to their children.

CailinDana Fri 11-Jan-13 07:40:41

It's a lovely explanation, but seeing as you use the word "egg" which is correct, it would make sense to use the word "sperm" too. Children do a lot about seeds in school and sperm doesn't act like a seed at all (in biological terms it's not a seed) so they could end up a bit confused. Sperm isn't a dirty word, so why not use it?

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 08:11:47

I explained like that too - not all in one go but gradually.

Flycat Fri 11-Jan-13 08:21:28

Great to explain about different types of families, but why be so coy on the mechanics? 'Penis-goes-in-vagina-and-sperm-comes-out-to-meet-with-egg' is a concept we introduced from 2. And we explained IVF as it was relevant in our case.

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 08:24:02

We did too fly

LadyCurd Fri 11-Jan-13 08:36:56

You need "what makes a baby" I can't wait til this b

LadyCurd Fri 11-Jan-13 08:37:35

Posted too soon,

Can't wait til this book is published. Corey Silverberg is awesome.

Kytti It seems reasonable to me. I wouldn't want someone else saying things like this to my 5 year-old though. It's a parent's job to do this.

I agree that parents should tell their children all this stuff but unless you're (generic you, not you personally) a bigoted idiot I don't understand why it's a problem for someone else to discuss it if the children ask. Can you explain a bit more?

DD was very interested in all this when DS was tiny and had a bad habit of asking awkward questions in cafes (Mummy, remember you said that babies come out of the mummy's bits, well do they have to stretch?) to the amusement of staff. confused

Yanbu. I'm amazed that you remember it all without a book each time tbh though! I'd miss one out and then feel guilty later about it if asked to recite it blush

You should write one, when I have kids I'd buy it smile the mummies and daddies living together with child stories just don't hold true for a lot of children these days but there aren't a huge amount of books aimed at explaining more than one difference.

Peka Fri 11-Jan-13 09:45:50

It's fine but when the primary school teacher explained to (ONLY THE GIRLS!!) about periods I did have the strong impression that women laid chicken-sized eggs each month and that it was very painful confused

ErikNorseman Fri 11-Jan-13 11:38:47

I did it a bit like that for DS, though shorter as his attention span isn't that long.

Spatsky Fri 11-Jan-13 11:51:40


BrittaPerry Fri 11-Jan-13 20:24:34

Right, I am actually now thinking of turning it into an ebook and print on demand and giving any profits to a relevant charity. I can refine the words and do some pictures, but I'm thinking the best way would be lots of different styles for each page, to go with the 'different families' theme.

What would be an appropriate charity, and what is the best way to self publish a picture book?

WeeWeeWeeAllTheWayHome Fri 11-Jan-13 21:36:20

OP that's a lovely way of explaining it, and what I hoped to convey to my DC when they ask.

And a bit late to the party but I properly snorted when I read what TheBOF wrote.

MsPickle Fri 11-Jan-13 21:48:17

If you can do decent pictures as well why not try kickstarter for the funding? An old friend self published a paperback book using that. Great explanation, I'd buy it!

SageYourResoluteOracle Fri 11-Jan-13 21:51:43

Stonewall is a brilliant charity that may be interested as although they are a charity for LGBT they have recently had a lovely poster made for schools celebrating the differences in families

Just a thought.

But totally agree that a downloadable book with proceeds going to charity is a wonderful idea and YY to PP who mentioned Babette Cole's books. 'Hair in Funny Places' is another lovely one of hers about puberty.

DameFanny Fri 11-Jan-13 21:53:18

Another snorting at BoF's idea - would make a fabulous cartoon for your back cover Britta grin

MsVestibule Fri 11-Jan-13 22:04:34

DD(5) has been asking for ages how babies are made, and while I've talked openly to her about how babies come out, I've been a bit more squeamish about how they actually get in there. I keep saying "I'll tell you when you're older", but this thread has inspired me to take the bull by the horns and next time she asks, I'll be telling her!!!

LadyCurd Sat 12-Jan-13 18:23:55

BrittaPerry see links I shared above- already being done am afraid

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 12-Jan-13 18:27:11

Good explanations

I do agree that it's no bad thing to mention penises and vaginas. The earlier you do this (assuming they ask the question of how the egg and sperm meet), the less embarrassing it is all round.

LilQueenie Sat 12-Jan-13 18:31:07

Its truthful and I like it. However much better than what I had thought when DD gets around to asking.

I was going to tell her we got a free baby from babiesrus when we bought a pram so we took the baby and grew it in a petri dish. confused Technically she was grown in a petri dish. I just didnt want to explain it all too soon. I think I better rethink this one lol grin

This is lovely and I'm storing it away for future use! If you do manage to get it published I'd love to get a copy for DD when she's older.

chubbychipmonk Sat 12-Jan-13 21:37:07

OP how would you explain where the baby actually comes out?

Am 31 weeks pregnant, my 3 year old DS knows there's a baby in there, that there's a tube to feed it that joins between mummy & it's belly button & he thinks the baby is going to 'pop out' like he 'popped out'

I know it's only a matter of time before he asks 'where' or 'how' the baby pops out?

Is 3 too young to say its pops out mummy's flower??!!?

quoteunquote Sat 12-Jan-13 21:40:50

children who live in the countryside with livestock always know.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Sat 12-Jan-13 21:51:45

Very nicely done OP. Can you or do you know somebody who can draw and paint? If you can, do I think this would make a fantastic book for younger DCs (4-10 yrs) IMHO smile

determinedma Sat 12-Jan-13 21:52:19

Am I the only person whose Dcs have never actually asked where babies come from? Just never had that conversation really. Dds are now 22 and 19 so I imagine they figured it out somehow...

nooka Sat 12-Jan-13 21:56:08

Seems fine for a pretty small child, but I don't really understand either the 'wow' type responses here or the disapproval elsewhere. Why wouldn't you talk about the various different ways that families are formed - aren't these the sort of questions small children ask? Perhaps my children were just the curious types but to me this seems like a pretty normal way to talk - unless it's some sort of patter that you say on a frequent basis - I can see why that might be funny (esp to a non parent).

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Sat 12-Jan-13 22:00:13

Very good explanation smile

I try and use the correct words within reason with mine, so I'll say sperm instead of seed, and definitely womb rather than tummy.

My 7yo asked very directly how the sperm gets into the womb recently. I just said that the man puts his penis in the woman's vagina (he knows what that is because we have talked about periods and childbirth). I added that this is something that only grown-ups do, but he wasn't that interested, tbh. Which convinces me that matter-of-fact, truthful (without being overly graphic) and unspectacular is the way to go.

We have Mummy Laid an Egg by Babette Cole and neither of my children (5 and 7) have been that interested in the 'sex' bit.

marriedinwhite Sat 12-Jan-13 22:03:21

I agree but might just add that whatever type of family a child is born to - what the child needs most of all is love and wherever there is love and kindness a child will thrive regardless of how the child arrived and what sort of family the child has.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Sat 12-Jan-13 22:03:50

chubby - I would have told my 3yo that once the baby is ready to be born, the womb's muscles work to push it out through my vagina. Simple as that.

chubbychipmonk Sat 12-Jan-13 22:11:50

Never used the word vagina (or penis) , thought 3 ( just turned 3) was a bit young? Have used the words flower & willy. Have other people used the words vagina / penis?

Molehillmountain Sat 12-Jan-13 22:11:52

I also appreciate donor conceptions being covered- my three dc are donor conceived. I've told them how they were conceived using a book from the donor conception network called "my story". I do wonder when they might get around to asking how babies usually get into mummy's tummy. At 7, 4 and 18 months all of them are pretty disinterested in the whole thing. Anyway, good effort op. nicely put.

Molehillmountain Sat 12-Jan-13 22:14:21

Oh, like yours,op, mine are fascinated by babies, pregnancy and breastfeeding but not conception.

littlestressy Sat 12-Jan-13 22:28:39

Lovely OP, a brilliant way to explain how babies are conceived. Our son was conceived using donor sperm and we have the 'My Story' book from donor conception network to read with him.

CailinDana Sat 12-Jan-13 22:55:03

Chubby, why wouldn't you use the words penis and vagina? That's what they're called! I presume you call your arms "arms" and your head "head" or is he too young for those words too?

chubbychipmonk Sat 12-Jan-13 23:05:21

Yeah obviously I use the word arm for arm. Just thought it was better using age appropriate words for genitals. . . Looking for advice here, no need to be quite so harsh!

CailinDana Sat 12-Jan-13 23:12:26

Sorry, I was making a point but did go a bit overboard. The way I see it, there's no point in giving children hang-ups about body parts and sex. To them it's all just normal natural stuff, and hiding behind silly words and twee explanations doesn't do them any favours. The mechanics of sex aren't really that complicated, small children can understand pretty easily, so if they're interested, just tell them, and use the proper words! Giving the impression that it's embarrassing or "dirty" won't encourage the child to be open in the long run.

BrittaPerry Sat 12-Jan-13 23:26:16

Dd1 knows all the proper names for the bits of her genitals, but has taken to saying 'fanny' and 'bum', which is fair enough.

They both know that babies usually come out between a woman's legs, and that the seed gets in that way too. They know that dd1 got stuck and so the doctors gave me medicine so it wouldn't hurt and cut a hole in my belly and womb to get her out, and that things went a bit wrong so the same happened with dd2 and that went a bit wrong too, so I can't grow any more babies.

BrittaPerry Sat 12-Jan-13 23:26:59

Oh, mine are 5 and 3

Kytti Sun 13-Jan-13 08:06:32

"Giving the impression that it's embarrassing or "dirty" won't encourage the child to be open in the long run."

Well I'm sorry, CailinDana but I'm with chubbychipmonk on this one. I have told my older dd the 'proper' words for her bits, but I hardly think having my 3yr old twins running around talking about vaginas and penis's in public is a great idea. Calling them flower / tuppence / fanny / willy whatever isn't making it embarrassing or dirty at all, just .... I dunno, I'm not ready for my dcs to understand all the mechanics of sex yet. I simply don't think they need to know. I always answer all their questions honestly (dd1 already knows all about periods & ds (5) knows a bit about them too) what's the rush in telling them it all? When the time is right I will explain it. People are in too much of a rush to remove some innocence and mystery from children.

And as for being embarrassed about body parts, I'd be much more worried about another thread on here about pooing and weeing in front of people. (sorry about the digression but... ) I find it amazing the number of mnetters who preach about teaching preschoolers about sex and the correct sexual terminology, but can't have a shit in front of anyone because it's too disgusting!

13Iggis Sun 13-Jan-13 11:04:21

I hadn't realised people used the word "flower" for vulva/vagina - doesn't it cause complications with real flowers? (Picking flowers, smelling flowers, dried flowers, artificial flowers).

ChouetteMouette Sun 13-Jan-13 11:19:16

Thank you so much for posting this, it's lovely!

My husband and I are currently trying to conceive through donor sperm and have been thinking a lot about how to explain this to our future baby.


AmberSocks Sun 13-Jan-13 11:23:22

thats prettymuch what i told my dcs but not all in one go,just gradually as they asked,they know where the babies come out(notout my tummy button!) too and they have seen me breastfeed,im glad they know all the facts and theres no shame attatched to it.(athough they dont know how the seed gets in yet either!)

AmberSocks Sun 13-Jan-13 11:25:11

my kids use the proper words and made up words for their bits,they say penis and vagina (gina!!!) and willy and minnie.

CailinDana Sun 13-Jan-13 12:00:59

That's fair enough Kytti, I don't object to doing it like that, I'm just saying it's not how I would approach it. The concept of "innocence" implies that simply knowing sex exists makes a child less innocent, guilty somehow, of what? Sex isn't dirty or wrong, and I think it's unfair to project adult ideas onto something that, to children, is something people just do, like eating or going to the toilet.

This is totally my own hang up too, but I honestly believe that informing children about sexual matters is very important for keeping them safe. "Innocence" often equals ignorance - a child who is clueless is an easier target for someone who wants to abuse them because they just don't know what's going on. A child who is clued up, knows about the body, knows about sexual things (at an age appropriate level of course) will be able to identify when something unacceptable is going on much more easily than a child is who is kept "innocent," ie in the dark. Denying a child knowledge is never a good thing in my book - most adults would hate not to be told something important, yet they do it to children all the time for no good reason.

BTW I don't advocate sitting a bored and uninterested 3 year old down and foisting a load of facts on them. I am in favour of answering questions honestly when they come up and then introducing knowledge gently at an age appropriate level. Hiding things from a curious child is a total no no in my book - it's unnecessary and unfair IMO.

Sallyingforth Sun 13-Jan-13 12:19:09

Sometimes the people who first made the baby can't be a mummy and daddy so the baby gets new parents.
I'd be a little worried that the child is being taught to deny its biological parents who may still be in contact.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 13-Jan-13 14:40:13


I just wouldn't use the word flower for something that isn't a flower. Confusing

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 13-Jan-13 14:43:13

OTOH willy is a recognised term for a penis and less confusing (unless your name is Willy).

And I totally agree with your post above Cailin

chubbychipmonk Sun 13-Jan-13 16:04:01

I've only used the word 'flower' once when DS asked me where my willy was and I said mummy's and girls don't have wills they have flowers (was kinda put on the spot as it was in a public toilet cubicle!) he's never asked again & it's never been mentioned again. Would do mums of little girls use for the word vagina?

13Iggis Sun 13-Jan-13 16:17:08

You do know you don't pee from your vagina?

chubbychipmonk Sun 13-Jan-13 16:23:51

He's just turned 3!!!! I'll deal with female urethras when is is a bit older . . . We're still at the 'establishing boys are different from girls, boys have a willy girls don't' stage!

ninah Sun 13-Jan-13 16:31:31

I agree about the use of the correct terminology, I found the original explanation toe curling tbh, it's like great aunt mavis trying her best to be broad minded - the 'usually' kind of gave it away

Catchingmockingbirds Sun 13-Jan-13 16:40:42

Haha I agree chubby, I've just expained the same to my 6yr old DS, he's still trying to get his head around the fact that girls don't have winkys (explained it's a penis but he's sticking with winky).

Molehillmountain Sun 13-Jan-13 17:22:16

Okay-I'm an adult who has taught sex ed, had three babies and plenty of medical interventions "down there". I have managed to explain donor conception to my children. So why do my toes curl when considering using the word "vulva" with my dd's as the term for their external genitalia? Don't know really. So we're sticking with "bits and bobs" or front bottom for now. Quite often simply "bottom" suffices.

DizzyZebra Mon 14-Jan-13 05:42:21

The first bit is pretty much what exs Mum told him.
I'm apparently never ever ever to mention what this led to - As afterwards he questioned her further, to make sure that he had heard right - That she, being a woman, has a 'special place' that he, being male, does not have. Once he had made absolutely sure of this he demanded she let him have a look at hers grin I might actually say something next time i see him. He would be mortified.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 14-Jan-13 07:12:28

I do think 'front bottom' is very misleading tbh. As most children understand the 'bottom' to be for dealing with poo, couldn't it even potentially lead to disgust?

I talk about 'private bits' as a catch-all term for genitals - less out of shame than to reinforce the fact that everyone's genitals are private to them -, but I use the proper name for individual parts of the anatomy within that. One of my children once saw me on the loo and wanted to know what the flaps of skin were. I said they were my labia and help keep my vagina clean. I don't think there's anything inappropriate about that.

valiumredhead Mon 14-Jan-13 08:38:23

I agree poppy

zingally Mon 14-Jan-13 15:07:05

I think you've explained it perfectly for a little person. smile

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