Dear My Little Yoni: How do I Explain where Babies come from?
“Dear My Little Yoni,
My daughter asked me, ‘where do babies come from’ and I choked up said ‘from Mommy’s belly.’ I’m surprised this conversation makes me so nervous. I don’t want to give her too much info, but I also want to be honest with her. What do I say!?” - Yesenia
Don’t worry Yesenia, I know for a fact other moms have had this same experience! Many parents feel uncomfortable with their own sexuality and at a loss for how to prepare their children. But, with the lack of adequate sex ed in schools, the reality is it’s up to parents to rise to the occasion and figure it out. You want to be the first one to tell your daughter about sex. We know that children can learn about sex from classmates, the internet, music and advertising, but these can often paint a dangerous picture of what sex is.
Stepping up and giving your children proper, shame-free education
The only way to ensure they know what sex really is. Having this conversation early, and keeping it ongoing, sets your child up for success. You establish yourself as approachable and ‘askable’, which creates the opportunity for you to give them accurate information. Don’t worry if you missed the early boat either. Now is better than never! Give your kids the accurate information they need, no matter what age.
First off, I want to tackle a common misconception when it comes to early sex ed. You aren’t ruining your child’s innocence by talking to them about sex. Who would you rather have them learn from: you or porn? Exactly. Keeping your daughter informed leads to her making smart decisions and postponing sexual activity until she’s ready. The research shows it! It’s important to keep language simple (eggs, sperm, etc.), factual (no stork!), and age appropriate. The conservation will grow as they do. Of course, there is more to sex than making babies and eventually, you will teach them this too.
Let your daughter steer the conversation. Kids develop at different rates, so a good rule of thumb is to let your child steer the conversation. If they ask questions, answer honestly. If they ask follow up questions, continue answering honestly until they seem satisfied or ‘full’ of information. You don’t want to confuse them with myths and lies, but you also don’t want to overload them with too much information. Generally, when kids have enough info, they stop asking questions and move on to a new topic or activity.
To start, use an explanation YOU feel comfortable with. Babies come out of the yoni. Babies grow inside the womb of a mommy. Whatever you say, answer your child’s question honestly and accurately. Ideally, by the time children are learning about where babies come from, they already have accurate words for their body parts, including genitals. There’s no shame in a toddler knowing the accurate word for penis or vulva alongside knowing the words for elbow or belly button. Yoni is an actual word for vulva, if you prefer that term (I do!) As kids get older, you’ll want to be more specific with different parts. For example, helping them understand the difference between the clitoris vs the vagina vs the all-encompassing vulva.
When discussing how babies are made, there are many different explanations you can use. A woman and man, a sperm and an egg, cells, or anatomical parts. As your child asks more questions, you’ll want to name these parts by their accurate names. Hopefully we all know that a male makes sperm and a female has eggs, but with the state of sex ed, can you blame me for asking!? Explaining this accurately to your kids helps them grasp how life is created. It’s important to let your daughter know that babies can be created in many different ways. Aside from natural conception, babies can come from egg or sperm donation, surrogacy, medically/technology assisted reproduction, and adoption.
Use this conversation as a teachable moment about other topics, like consent! A good way to explain and reinforce consent to your daughter is to let her know that a woman allows a man to put his penis inside her vagina so the sperm and egg can meet. We want children to know it’s something both parties should agree to. Generally, parents start the conversation by explaining sex is to make babies. However, there’s obviously a lot more to sex than that and most sex is not procreation-based. You can explain to your daughter that there’s more to sex than making babies and that consenting adults will do it because it feels good. It helps them feel close and can be an expression of love. Some parents prefer emphasizing trust over love, saying that sex is something that adults who trust each other do. It’s important to make it clear that sex is for consenting adults and not for kids.
Remember, it’s the ongoing conversation that matters! This is only one conversation of many you’ll have with your daughter over time. Your daughter will see you as the person to come to, and this conversation will only strengthen your relationship with each other. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the end of this, My Little Yoni has resources to help! You can purchase our book, Yoni Magic: Creating Life, and read it with your daughter. I always encourage reading a comprehensive sex ed book with your child, because this can lead to a longer conversation after the book is over! It gives your child a chance to visually see the information you are sharing as well as an opportunity to ask any questions she may have. Know that the more you talk with your daughter about sex, the easier it will be. So don’t stress too much about saying exactly the right thing. Just starting the conversation is a big step. Remember, always answer your daughter’s questions honestly and accurately! She will appreciate it more than you know. The talk doesn’t need to be daunting, Yoni Gang! Especially when you’ve got Lil Yo’ to help you out. Yesenia, you got this mama!