Last night at dinner, during a fascinating conversation about what she was going to dress up as after the meal ended, my 4 year old asked me if I wanted to dress up as a boy. This is how the conversation went:
4 yr old: mama, do you want to dress up as a boy?
me: no, not really [of course, I could have just said 'sure']
4 yr old: why?
me: well, I like being a girl
4 yr old: why?
me: girls get to do some really special things that boys can’t do [I immediately think of Thomas Beatie]
4 yr old: like what?
me: well…like, I got to carry you in my belly when you were really little
4 yr old: [blank stare]
2 yr old: me too! me too!
me: that’s something really special that girls get to do
4 yr old: can I have a baby in my belly?
me: [what was I thinking? Why did I go here with this conversation?] when you grow up and you’re much older, like me, yes, if you want to, you can have a baby in your belly, because you are a girl [I immediately think about infertility and hope I haven't promised her something that is not possible]
4 yr old: will you be with me?
me: of course I’ll be with you
This spontaneous conversation got me thinking about how we talk about pregnancy and birth to children. Having not planned this conversation out in advance, my only goal in the moment, was to talk about pregnancy as a good and safe and exciting thing. Reflecting on this conversation later in the evening, I hoped that I had accomplished this goal. Talking to children about pregnancy and birth as healthy and positive may be one long-term strategy to help women have positive birth experiences. What do you think?