‘Mummy, Where Do Babies Come From?’

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‘How do bees make babies Mummy?’

Picture the scene. It’s Friday, I’ve just got home from work and my 7 year old daughter is telling me about a boy she knows who’s Mummy has 9 children and is pregnant again. I am shocked. Not by the number of children this woman has but my daughter’s comment. ‘It’s not her fault Mummy she has so many babies it’s not like she decides to have another one every year they just keep growing inside her’.

What I found so tricky about this conversation is that maybe I should have left it at that and changed the subject, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t let my intelligent 7 year old think that’s how women get pregnant. She knows a lot about pregnancy and birth, being the daughter of a midwife and often hears me giving early labour advice on the phone or speaking to my colleagues ‘She’s how many centimetres dilated? Ok tell her to start filling the pool I’ll be there in half an hour’.

So I poured myself a glass of wine for Dutch courage and told her how a woman gets pregnant. I explained why men have willies that go hard, why fannies aren’t actually where we we wee from (diagrams helped with this bit) and I think she was pretty amazed. She liked the fact that she came from the mixing of an egg and sperm and was impressed at how clever the creation of life is. All was going well, I was giving myself a pat on the back for my diagrams and explanations. Brownie points for me. My motto is always be honest with my children and answer anything they ask me honestly.

Later that evening when I was tucking her into bed she brought up the subject again.

‘Mummy, you know that thing adults do to make a baby?’

‘Sex you mean Anya, remember it’s called sex’ I replied

‘Yeah sex, well have you and Daddy just done it twice you know to make me and Marnie?’

‘Of course sweetie, just those two times.’

Has anyone else had this conversation with their children yet? And at what age did you or them bring up the conversation?

Contented and happy

The definition of contented is;

  1. Happy and at ease
  2. Expressing happiness and satisfaction

This is a photo of me feeling all of the above; it was July last year on a Greek Island. It’s hard not to see why I didn’t feel contented it was so beautiful my children were playing happily in the shore, we had just eaten fresh squid and to be honest everything felt pretty much perfect. Ok hate me for all this self-proclaimed happiness on a grey Friday afternoon but I think anything that makes you feel contented is surely a good thing right? Maybe not.

This week controversial parenting guru Gina Ford released her newest book The Contented Mother’s Guide; online forums went crazy with the opportunity to slate any advice this childless expert had to say. When I had my first baby, I had already been warned of her first book The Contented Little Baby so carried on with my new born by listening to my instincts, friends and mother’s advice. By 8 months she still didn’t sleep for more than 2 hour periods, my partner and I had pretty much given up on any happiness there was to be had with a baby, I was completely and utterly exhausted. I remember meeting a new Mum friend in the park one morning (at a very specific time of 09:40) to see her lovely little baby smiling happily in her buggy having slept the entire night. She told me she was following Gina Ford’s 8 month old routine and had been for several months, and their lives were transformed. I borrowed a copy of the book and read it like crazy for the next few days; I couldn’t believe how wrong I had got it. Not that my initial mothering instincts had failed me but I could now see why nothing we had been doing was working. Now don’t get me wrong, there were parts in her book which quite frankly I could not master or be arsed with (‘Now drink your orange juice at 07:50 to ensure excellent Vitamin C intake’) um I think I’ll drink my orange juice when I want thanks. But I think really we should cut this woman some slack, she has looked after over 300 babies and found a method that worked, so what’s to criticise?

We all need routine in our lives, humans are creatures of habit and so are babies. When you become a mother for the first time you have no idea what to expect even if you’ve read all the books and done every course available to you, it is still a BIG shock. By the time you have your second baby you feel a little more confident that the baby’s head won’t fall off if you don’t hold its neck properly and giving it a chocolate biscuit isn’t going to turn it into a junk food addict.

But it’s her advice on sexual intimacy in her new book that really caught my attention (ha!) and she’s got a good point. ‘Arm yourself with post-birth essentials such as lubricant and massage oil and take things slowly,’ Ford counsels. No one tells you how dry you will feel down there especially if you’re breastfeeding and actually having sex for the first time after having a baby really isn’t that bad. Ok the thought of taking your clothes off to expose your new post baby body sounds horrific but low lighting, flickering candles and a few glasses of wine can help. Put the Moses basket as far away from the bedroom as possible (in our case it was the bathroom) and remember to remove your breast pads beforehand, not such a turn on. Just try not to ask too many times during the moment ‘does it feel the same as before?’ your partner may find it a little off-putting. He loves you no matter what and once you get going you may actually enjoy it, after all it’s how we all got here in the first place.