Like any parent, I used to lie awake at night, fearful of the day [in the not so distant future] when my daughter would be interested in learning about the birds and the bees. I envisioned a beautiful sunny day replete with a flowery meadow and picnic basket, perfectly suited atmosphere to explain the most precious of topics with my child.
Cut to real life and the question hits me smack dab in the middle of a busy line at the grocery store. “Mom, how are babies born?” I was not prepared for an audience during this discussion. My daughter was about seven years old and just tall enough to be eye level with the beautiful belly of a woman clearly in her last days of pregnancy.
After we all had a quick giggle, I told her that as soon as we were back in the car, I would tell her. And I did. I vividly remember my answer, “Honey, when you get married, the mommy and daddy are in love and they want to have a baby. The baby grows inside the mommy’s body and when it is ready to come out, the doctor helps at the hospital.” To my relief, her only concern was whether or not she was indeed born at a hospital. “Yes you were and you had a girl doctor!”
Fast forward seven years and it’s now my turn to bring up this touchy subject. Unlike my child, I don’t announce it publicly; rather take the time to skillfully plan my attack. My daughter is now a teenager, and while this topic hasn’t been taboo over the years [we encourage her to talk with us about issues], this is now the right time for a serious discussion and actual facts.
I casually stroll into her room and chit chat about hair products, cool bands and school. We talk about her friends and it allows me to segue into whether any of them have had sex. She says no [thank goodness] and I can tell by her tone that she’s open to hearing more. I remind her of the time at the grocery store, and of the book we got from the library when she was ten, and then say that since she’s now grown up, we can move on to the important stuff.
At this age, I no longer need to bore her with the logistics of lovemaking, she understands biology. We talk about family values and how her Dad and I feel strongly that sex is for adults that are in love. We talk about how having self-confidence will help her to remain pure for the person that will ultimately become her husband and how important the commitment she makes now will be to both of them in the future. We discuss disease prevention, contraception, and about the pressures of being an abstinent teenager. We talk about ways to resist temptation.
We agree to keep this subject on the radar.