6 Things You Should Probably Never Tell Your Children About Pregnancy

Pregnancy for Kids

Young boy listening to pregnant belly
Photo © Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images

Talking about pregnancy was something that used to never be done in polite company. Women got pregnant and as soon as they could no longer hide the pregnancy with a corset were kept inside for their period of “confinement.” Yes, you can even still occasionally see a due date listed as estimated date of confinement or EDC. Thankfully, we have come a long way from those days in many respects.

Certainly you will see pregnant women out and about, all the way through early labor. Moms flaunt their gorgeous bellies everywhere, even in bikinis and bathing suits at the pool. But with all this talk of pregnancy (and certainly I don’t need to point out sex is pretty obvious in the media), I wonder why we still share some whoppers with our kids. Here are some things I think we should really think twice about saying to kids, no matter how young:

When I was in labor with you…

Be careful what you say about your pregnancy and birth with your older baby. Painting a picture, even if it’s true, that it was scary, hurtful or otherwise less than wonderful needs to be done very carefully, particularly at an age appropriate manner. Think about the purpose of what you’re trying to say to your child. Are you trying to talk about what women go through in labor? Practice some vocalizations with your child instead. Are you trying to convey that labor is hard work? Talk about things you do that are hard work. Just be careful not to have your child feel like he or she is associated with anything that is awful and painful. (There are certainly conversations you can have about your feelings and pain with older children in a way that separates the birth from themselves.)

The baby made mommy sick.

Let’s not start the baby’s life out with a bad case of sibling rivalry. Sure, there are lot of things that mommy will experience in pregnancy that can be “blamed” on the baby, but it’s really better to put it another way. An example might be: When mommy is pregnant, sometimes her stomach doesn’t feel so good. You might explain exhaustion and lack of playing in a similar way: Mommy’s tired because when you’re pregnant your body is working really hard.

Mommy ate a watermelon seed.

Along with the above, letting your child think that mommy ate something, that’s just downright dangerous. It can also have your child in tears as they accidentally swallow fruits seeds. Or perhaps they get disappointed when they don’t get pregnant as well.

The new baby is going to take your room.

If you have to move your older child out of a room or out of a bed to make room for a new baby, be sure it’s not something you blame on the new baby. In fact, it’s best to do it as far in advance as you can so that the two are not connected. You might reframe it as: You are getting to be such a big kid, now you get the privilege of sleeping in a big kid bed.

Mommy swallowed the baby.

For a young child, the belly grows and the baby grows. They know the basics that when you eat food, it goes down your throat and into your belly. Therefore, mommy must have gotten pregnant by swallowing the baby.

The baby is going to come out of mommy’s belly button.

Yikes! I’d be afraid to have a baby come out of my belly button. I have talked to a couple people who been told this as kids, as a way to avoid discussing where babies really come out… They weren’t very happy about it. It’s just best to be vague if you’re not ready to discuss vaginal birth or cesarean birth.

Now, please note, I did not say you had to spill the beans and tell them everything. Just watch the whoppers. If you need some help breaking the news or explaining facts, I’ve got some advice on that too: Where do babies come from? There are also a number of really great pregnancy books for kids that can help you in talking with your child, no matter what the age of your child.

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