So I'm curious....how have you answered questions and explained childbirth to your older children? DS#1 is 4.5 and has been asking me LOTS of questions about his new sibling that is to be born soon. When he first asked me how the baby comes out I simply told him that there is a "special path that opens up when the baby is ready to come out". At first that satisfied his curiosity but as the time moves closer he has asked me many more specific questions that I am answering but am struggling with how to explain it in a way that he can make sense of. I want to explain things to him and answer his questions but also don't want to go into more detail than a 4 year old needs! He is my little thinker and some of his questions (e.g. Does it hurt you? Will you cry when it happens? etc.) have made me realize that he is probably a bit anxious about what is going to happen to me so I do want to reassure him about things. So how did everyone else explain things to their older children?
Explaining childbirth to a 4 year old
So far we have been very honest with our 4.5yo DD. I spent a lot of time talking about her birth and what it was like for me. When she asks if it hurts I tell her "yes but it hurts more like when we are hiking and you get tired but push through it and then have more energy."
Or "yes, sometimes but not the whole time. It really hurts more when I am distracted and not able to really be just in my body."
Also we talk about how sometimes it might seem like I am in more pain than I am because I might be making a lot of noise, but that it is ok because the noise helps the baby to come out. That is might seem scary but it really isn't
We talk about the noises I'll make or how sometimes I might not be able to be focused on her and how she will have to go to daddy or titi (my sister) for help. I am going to start doing Birthing From Within exercises with her, to help the conversation. She knows how things work for the most part, I am a doula and sometimes will pull out books and talk about the different parts of my body. I love her knowing all there is to know.
In the end I am not too worried because my niece was at my DD birth when she was 5 and my DD will be almost 5 when I have this baby. My niece says it is one of the coolest things she's ever seen though the blood (and poop ) were kind of gross. She loves that she had that special moment and they have a special bond now.
I say in the end you know your child the best and they way you choose will be the "right" way.
I tell my kids my belly will squeeze and squeeze for hours and work hard, and if I relax really well when it's happening it won't be uncomfortable. I remind them I made funny "ooooooo" noises while DS2 was coming. I'm learning hypnobabies and use my BH as good chances to practice, and ask them to quiet down while I do. Those little rehearsals might be getting them used to seeing me tune out like that. Also I tell them that I'll have long breaks between squeezes early on so maybe we'll make cupcakes, and when it gets a bit closer to the birth I need to be alone and focus so they'll go play with Nana and Granddad.
I guess we didn't do too much thinking about how to explain it to our 4 and 5 year olds... Daddy put a seed inside Mommy which grew into a baby sibling. (They've seen it on the ultrasound already and felt him/her kicking etc.) It's the same place you guys were when you were still inside Mommy. Then one day the baby decides to come out, and it squeezes out the vagina and it's born.
Sometimes there is a problem and the baby gets stuck or has to come out really quickly, and the doctors have to cut the baby out through the Mommy's tummy and sew her back up (kind of like the wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood story). Some of your friends at preschool were born that way. (I had two vaginal births and anticipate another but hey, truth is truth.)
Does birth hurt? Well, yes, some, but it's not too unbearable. I guess I'm kind of a silent birther so even if the kids are around (which they probably will be) I don't anticipate screaming/thrashing around etc as long as there isn't some crazy emergency. Not that vocalizing etc. are bad coping techniques, some women get into birthing energy that way... but I tend to be silent and go inwards.
Edited by tiqa - 1/4/13 at 4:26pm
Kind of along the same lines, I was wondering if anybody can recommend some good (not scary?? lol) birth videos that I could watch with my kids (almost 4 and almost 2). My oldest has asked a few questions about the new baby and birth, but I'd like to bring up the subject a bit more because there's a good chance they might be at the birth with me (or at least in the house), so I'd like them to be aware of certain things (I'm a noisy birther) so that they will hopefully not be freaked out! I intend to have somebody there to play with them specifically just in case they don't want to actually *see* everything, but I do really want them to be nearby, at least. Of course, if it works out like last time, they'll both be asleep and I won't have to worry about it! :P
Have you tried looking on youtube? There are some good UC videos out there - which I would recommend only because they clearly show what happens to the actual mother instead of showing the confusion of a bunch of people milling around. But you might want to look at a variety of videos too - homebirths and hospital births or whatever...
Thanks for all the tips ladies! DS will not be at the birth but I do still want to answer his questions as truthful and informative as possible (which I have been doing all along - but I have just found his questions to be more and more detailed lately!). I'm going to check out those links and I also like the idea of showing him a video to help explain the process.