I remember my mum sitting down with me, clutching a book and giving me the ‘talk’. She hadn’t got far before I felt compelled to set her straight. I explained what I had figured out for myself: ‘Mum, the thing is, all mothers are married and all married women have engagement rings. So you see there is a chemical inside the diamond that pierces your skin and releases a chemical that makes you pregnant.’ I was very concerned for her. I mean where was she getting her information from?
Now with two clever children of my own (although they’ve been exposed to a little less Star Trek), I really wanted to cultivate an open dialogue about puberty and sex, both of which are very natural and normal parts of life. But what to say and when?
In anticipation of a heart to heart with my offspring about where they came from, I picked up a copy of Sydney author and illustrator Fiona Katauskas’ The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made at Kmart last year.
It’s a gorgeous, honest, funny and inclusive children’s book published by Harper Collins and I wish I’d bought it earlier.
We’d already discussed pregnancy, vaginal birth, c-sections, multiple births, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, marriage, single parents, same-sex parents and many, many other aspects of family life because they are normal everyday elements of the world around us. Yet, when we sat down properly and unpacked them, I was surprised at how many aspects needed clarification.
The kids and I have continued to refer to the book in the months since and it’s very accessible for both my five year old girl and my eight year old boy.
One subject that is notably missing for me is the ever fun topic of the menstrual cycle but there is so much else to absorb here that I’m happy to mark that under ‘conversations to have part two’.
More information and resources
When we had our first child in 2008 we were given a Raising Children Network DVD. My partner and I couldn’t believe our luck – the baby came with a start-up guide. Eureka!
To this day, the accompanying website is still my number one go-to place for information and resources. Supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, the site provides up-to-date resources on just about every aspect of pregnancy and child rearing you could think of.