by Carol Jordan
Explaining the process to children is easier than you think.
Whoever came up with this statement never taught preschool while pregnant! You must remember that many of these children have never been exposed to a pregnant person on a regular basis. Many of these children have never seen a person's belly grow that much in such a short period of time. Many of these children are too darn curious for their own good!
I'll have to say that my favorite moment occurred sitting down with the 5-year-olds I was teaching while pregnant with my son. The time had come to tell them I was going to have a baby. They had already begun questioning why I was "getting so fat" and why I always had "to go potty more than" they did.
I had, prior to this conversation, sent out letters to the parents asking their input on the information that would be given to the children. I didn't want to offer what might be deemed as too much information, but wanted to give the best answers possible to all the children. Keep in mind, it was a Christian preschool, so the information we offered there might be different from what you would offer at your home.
The conversation went something like this:
ME: Kids, I have something exciting to tell you. Are you ready to listen?
THEM: Yes! Is it a surprise? Did you buy us popsicles?
ME: No. I didn't get popsicles. I have a special secret to tell you.
THEM: Can't you just tell us the surprise?
ME: Do you remember how we talked about God loving each of us and that he put love into our hearts so we could share it with other people?
ME: Do you remember we talked about the fact that we will never run out of love because when we share love it gets bigger instead of smaller?
THEM: (getting impatient) Yes.
ME: Well, God has decided that it's time for Dustin and me (they knew my husband) to have another person in our family to share our love. He's given us so much love that he decided we needed another person to help hold it all.
One Child: Who? Madeline?
ME: No. Not Madeline. This is a new person; one not yet born.
ONE CHILD: Who is it?
ME: It's a baby -- a very tiny baby who is waiting for a special day to be born.
ANOTHER CHILD: Where is this baby?
ME: It's in my belly. That's why my belly is getting so big.
THEM: Silent, thinking.
ASSISTANT TEACHER: Giggling silently in the corner behind them.
ME: Do you have any questions? (My first big mistake)
ONE CHILD: How'd it get there?
Of course I expected this. This was the reason I had sent the letters to the parents. We had together formulated an acceptable response to every question they could possibly ask.
ME: God put it there.
CHILD: When will it come out?
ME: October; before Halloween.
CHILD: Is it a boy or girl?
ME: We don't know yet. I'll let you know when I find out.
CHILD: How's it gonna get out?
ME: When it's time I'll go to the hospital and the doctor will take it out.
At this point the children shared their "going to the doctor" experiences and were then ready to go outside to play. They, of course, shared this special "secret" with every single person they saw and took every opportunity to rub and / or listen to my belly. It was all quite sweet.
Then it happened. One dear, sweet, well-meaning child -- honestly, he was quite a handful. He was so sweet, but so stubborn at the same time. To this day I have yet to find a child as wonderful as he was while still being such a stinker. Never was he a thoughtful child -- rather impulsive actually. Because of this, what happened next will stick in my memory as long as I live.
HIM: Mrs. Carol?
HIM: How's that baby gonna get out?
ME: I told you. I'll go to the doctor when it's time and he will take the baby out. He knows how to do that sort of thing.
HIM: Mrs. Carol?
HIM: How's he gonna get that baby out?
ME: Hun, why don't you ask your mom that when you get home. She's a nurse and probably knows more about it than I do.
The next day...
Mom and child come in. She starts giggling as soon as she sees me. After a quick rub of my belly he went off to play. He did that every morning and mom said she needed to speak to me in private. I left the class in the capable hands of my assistant and we went to a quiet room. It was there that I was informed of the previous night's conversation:
MOM: How was your day?
MOM: Anything interesting happen?
MOM: Care to share?
HIM: Mrs. Carol said there's a baby in her tummy.
MOM: Really? (She already knew so it wasn't a surprise.)
HIM: Yah. That's what she said.
MOM: What do you think about that?
HIM: I dunno. Sounds kinda weird to me.
MOM: Well, stranger things have happened. Do you have any questions about that?
HIM: How's it gonna get out?
MOM: The doctor will take it out.
HIM: How? Mrs. Carol said you would know since you're a nurse.
MOM: Why don't you think about it a little and then come tell me what you decide.
HIM: Okay. (He then trots off to the patio to think about this huge concept.)
After a short while he comes back to his mom and announces, "Mom. I think I figured it out."
MOM: Oh? What did you figure out? (Hoping he'd moved on to a different topic.)
HIM: How the doctor will get the baby out.
MOM: Oh? Tell me.
HIM: I think they're gonna have to take her head off.
Shortly after the birth of my son I went by to visit and show the kids my baby. I sat on the floor and all the children gathered around to take turns looking at the baby and try to figure out how that little person came out of my body. This one particular child stood slightly behind me. He slowly approached and then put a hand on my shoulder. I smiled at him. He smiled at me. Then, slowly, as if trying to not be noticed, he carefully lifted my hair from my shoulder and inspected my neck.
Carol E Jordan is the mother of 2 children. She has been a preschool teacher for 9 years and has a CDA (Child Development Associate), an Early Childhood Education professional credential.
Copyright © Carol Jordan. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.