How Do Babies Get Out, Mama?

My 6-year-old son is obsessed with babies. Not dolls but real babies. He lights up around anyone less than 18 months old.

I even had a mom say to me: He’s amazing with kids.

All this would be SO SWEET if it didn’t lead to conversations like these:

E: Mama, did I come out your mouth or your bottom?

I stall.

Me: When you where in my tummy? 

Once, I tried to explain the uterus, but unless I wanted to hold an anatomy class with a cadaver, it did not make enough sense to pursue.

E: Yeah, did I come out of your mouth or your bottom when I was a baby?

I consider my options. I’m not going to say mouth although I can see why he wasn’t sure after looking at this preggo picture:

Baby could pop out anywhere anytime.

But I also don’t want to talk too much about making babies when he’s only in kindergarten. I decide that my bottom area is a fair and honest response.

Me: The bottom.


Me: What?

Did he learn from someone that vaginas are gross?  Or is it even worse…

Me: Do you think I meant my butt?

E: Yes, it’s stinky. You poop there!

Holy crap! My son is envisioning a baby coming out of a butt-hole. I can hear the chang ching of therapist everywhere.

Me: Oh no! I meant my vagina.

I pause to wait for him to writhe in embarrassment, confusion, and horror, but as it turns out, the idea of being crapped out of an anus is much worse.

E: Oh, okay. Great! So babies come out penises, too?

{sigh} He looks so hopeful. Of course, he’s never had a catheter.

Me: No, just vaginas. Remember that only girls can grow babies.

E: Oh, only vaginas.

Me: Better than coming out of butts?



Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

18 thoughts to “How Do Babies Get Out, Mama?”

  1. Joshua was in the room when Emma was born. Granted, he was only 3. But I can see this coming back to bite me in the vagina when he’s in therapy one day. Or, maybe not. Here’s hoping for the latter.

  2. Abbey is relatively obsessed with the babies as well. She is much, much more concerned with the making of them, though. “So how EXACTLY does the baby get inside the mommy?” Sigh.

  3. Maybe he’ll be an ob/gyn that will do amazing research and save babies and mamas all over the world!!! You really need to read Cutting for Stone. I love that he’s so cool with anatomy and wants to learn! That’s awesome…especially cuz I’m not the one explaining it! :o)

  4. You have no idea how many times I’ve avoided this conversation. My son is almost 9. I’m falling back on “I don’t know. The doctor just gets it out at the hospital…I’m not a doctor.”

  5. My 4-year-old is pretty sure that we have been taking turns. She talks about when she was in my belly and then she switches it around to when I was in her belly. I have not yet corrected her on this. It’s just too funny!

  6. We use “bottom” as a general term around here. It’s good enough as long as the kids accept it, right??

    Oh, but since the three youngest all were c-sections, my kids think that babies come out when the doctor cuts the mom open. PERFECT ANSWER.

  7. This post and the follow-up comments were interesting to me, because my approach and feelings with my three year old son have been pretty different. And I admit, one of the reasons I read your blog regularly is because it’s generally very close to my parenting philosophy (in addition to its being hilarious, touching, and thought-provoking, of course!)

    My son knows he grew in my uterus (which I don’t find any harder to explain than any other internal organ), came out my vagina, and grew from an egg and sperm. He’s never asked about how the sperm got there, so we’ll see if my comfort level remains the same when he asks that question. 😉 We do live on a farm and he’s watched a calf being born, seen goats and chickens mating, and knows why a rooster is necessary if you want to hatch chicks.

    We also just got a very nice book from the library: How You Were Born by Joanna Cole. It had just the right level of detail for us (what he already knows about the baby-making process, but not beyond) and a mix of photos and illustrations. A bonus for me: It includes the possibility of home birth and a photo of a nursing baby.

    IMHO, it’s lack of information and squeamishness about a topic that a child may need to work through later in therapy, not open, honest and appropriate answers to their questions.

    1. If you read my post on doing “the talk” at 3 with my son, it felt different than at 6. We used all the appropriate terminology except for vulva (we use vagina). Later on, as we introduced more appropriate words, uterus was confusing for both my kids just like the difference between esophagus and trachea was confusing for them — ?perhaps because people use the term “growing in your tummy” so much? — so I just used tummy. I try to meet him at his comfort level now that he’s older, which is where bottom came in and the confusion came in (the “bottom area” rather than “butt”).
      I also think you are completely right in picking up on the fact that I find myself in a difficult place. I don’t regret being so open when he was young, but over the last year, his understanding, translation of my words, and his questions are much different than they were. I don’t want to talk about the act of sex with him yet because I don’t think it’s appropriate. However, he is smart and thoughtful so he eventually asked questions that led to egg and sperm and I got worried that this set of questions was going to go further in this conversation than I thought he was ready for so I hesitated and found myself in an even worse (but hilarious) situation.
      The night ended with me telling him his birth story (again).
      Oh and I think therapy is mostly when you think your mom pooped you out.

  8. After reading that, the impression I got was that your son has thinking about the future. It sounded like he just wanted to have a baby and was hopeful he could do it on his own. I never thought much about little boys being jealous of girls because only girls can have babies, but that totally makes sense. It must seem like the ultimate super hero power to be able to grow a person in your belly. Also, he really likes babies. He’s going to be an awesome dad when he grows up.

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