V is almost two, and since she became verbal I’ve been talking to her a little differently about how she was conceived. Call it, if you will, a slight age-appropriate update from my last post (a whopping 18 months ago!)
Looking for how I talk to her at age 4? Check out the video here :)
What do I say?
Well, it goes a little like this:
To make a baby you need three things: oocyte eggs, sperms, and a uterus. Mummy and Daddy wanted you very much, but the doctor said that Mummy doesn’t have any oocyte eggs* but she does have a uterus. Mummy was very sad but a lovely lady, Nellie, said, “I have lots of oocyte eggs and I will give you some.” And that’s what makes Nellie our donor, because a donor is someone who gives you something you need. Wasn’t that kind of her? So the doctors took Nellie’s oocyte eggs and put them with Daddy’s sperms in a special dish called a Petri dish. And they all did a little dance and then do you know what happened? The next day there was a little dot baby! And it was you! So the doctors put Dot Baby V in Mummy’s uterus, and you grew and grew and grew until you were a big baby. Then the doctors took you out of Mummy’s uterus and Mummy and Daddy were so happy to finally have you. We love you very much.
*Although, strictly speaking, this isn’t true, it won’t be hard to expound on this later.
Here’s a clip of us tonight:
It’s not verbatim, because a) I’m human, and b) it was almost bedtime, but it gives you an idea of how the easily the conversations flow at this age.
What’s changed from 18 months ago?
I no longer refer to my eggs as ‘broken’ because V understands what ‘broken’ means, and I don’t think she needs to be exposed to the horror of infertility just yet. Instead, I call them ‘oocyte eggs’ to distinguish them from ‘eating eggs’. It’s adorable to hear her say “Oo-side! Ecks!”
I’ve stopped using the word ‘seeds’ as a euphemism for sperms because I’m teaching V to use anatomically correct language for parts of the body, so why not also for bodily functions. Similarly, I say ‘uterus’ instead of ‘belly’.
The exception to this is ’embryo’ which I think is a bit too abstract at this age, so I call an embryo a ‘dot baby’. She pointed to a Richard Scarry drawing of a raspberry and said, “Dot baby!” so I think she understands a dot baby is a very tiny baby who just doesn’t look like a big baby yet.
An Added Layer to Parenting
I’ve been telling V her conception story since I was pregnant with her, and, on average, I tell her three times a month. At this age, it’s pretty easy to drop it into conversation without needing some kind of segue.
Although, true to my goofy nature, when she and I are wearing jeans I quip that “we don’t share jeans…” Arf, arf.
As you can see, I am very much in the Tell Early and Tell Often camp. I felt mortified when I first began talking to my bump, but it gets easier the more I do it. My challenge now is trying to find new ways to tell the same story, but then I remind myself that as V gets older, the story will be adapted to each stage of her cognitive development.
Non-genetic parents: How do you talk to your kids? Have you started yet? If not, what’s holding you back?
Genetic parents: Do you have any questions? Have you started talking to your kids about reproduction?