“Mommy, how are babies born?”
When I was all of about two years old, I wandered into the living room and asked of my mother, “Mommy, how are babies born?”
My mother, the ever-patient and honest educator that she was, took the time to let out a weary but expectant sigh. Like every other milestone in my development, this was a bit earlier than expected, but not unplanned for.
She began with love, and tenderness, and in her long and well rehearsed elegy on the subject of sex, she touched upon the act, the process, the womb and it’s relation to a large belly, the trip to the hospital, and the birth process itself. All the while, she maintained unwavering devotion to the idea that while not always necessary—and in hindsight not in my parents’ marriage—the act of reproduction had evolved past the base motivation of procreation and become an expression of deepest emotion and caring for another.
I stood there and soaked it all in, gleaming from her lecture, understanding I could. Then I cocked my head to one side and said, “Oh. Daddy said he put his penis in your vagina and mixed his sperm with your egg. Daddy’s silly.”
—Photo Mykl Roventine/Flickr