A mom has numerous responsibilities when it comes to her children. She needs to clothe them and clean them, teach them how to fend for themselves and make sure they don’t slack in school. She needs to be equal parts firm and nurturing. She needs to provide encouragement and lend support – both of the tangible and non-tangible varieties.
And, when she has a daughter, it is the mom’s responsibility to teach her about image, confidence, tampons, and, yes, pregnancy as well. At a younger age, teaching your daughter about pregnancy involves little more than delivering a basic sex talk. Pregnancy is the result of sex, you tell her, and the baby born nine months later inevitably comes from the mother’s uterus and not from a stork. The pregnancy/sex talk at this age may be an uncomfortable one for the mom to deliver, but it is not factually difficult – it does not require persuasion or concern.
By the time your daughter becomes a teenager, however, talks about pregnancy and sex take on a new meaning. No longer is sex a purely abstract concept; your daughter may be sexually active or she may know friends who are. As such, it is the mom’s job to discuss sex with the goal of explaining that pregnancy is not an abstract concept, either. It may just seem that way in a teenager’s mind. So while I’ve talked to my daughter about sex and pregnancy from the angle of providing advice, I think I’ve found it most beneficial to explain my own pregnancy experience to her with the hopes of making the concept a less abstract and more palpable one.
I’ve told her about the moment I discovered I was pregnancy. I’ve described Lamaze classes and doctor visits. I’ve detailed the day of birth and everything that came immediately after it (filling out insurance forms, exploring public cord blood donation, and taking a good amount of medication). I hope this can all help her perceive pregnancy as more palpable and real.
Teenagers all too often live by the manta, It can’t happen to me. As a parent, it is often our responsibility to gently remind our kids that, yes, it sometimes can.