At a loss... - FamilyEducation
At a loss...
01/15/2008 at 10:57 AM

I'm new to this message board thing and to this site, so please forgive any errors I may do, but I'm at a loss. I married my husband at age 21 (24 now) and he has two young children, both girls. The oldest one, Payton (9) is too smart for her own good, and my sanity. She asked me where babies come from...and how they got there. I've never lied to her before and I'm completely honest with her about any question she may ask, but this one stumped me. I know her mother won't care if I answer it, but should I? Is this a question that should be answered by the biological mother or is it okay for stepmom to answer?

Dad's know the answer to this question, too!  I would have referred her to him, because of the delicacy of position that step-parents are in. 

   I did something cool with my now-10 daughter.  Last year, I got together with another mom of a 9 year-old.  There also happened to be teen-age daughters.  We had a girls night out that was soooo fun.  I borrowed 2 identical books from the library that had the information in the books.  The six of us got dressed up in our fancy clothes and went to McDonald's for salad.  (partly because sometimes you have to pick the brown parts out of the salad there).  It was a drizzly blowy night, and McDonald's was pretty empty.  We sat there and ate our salads and looked through the books and talked about menstruation.  Each of us who had been through it talked about the circumstances and how we handled our first period.  

And then we talked about puberty, and about how the butterflies have it figured out. 

  Caterpillars just crawl along being caterpillars, then they go in their room and close the door, and when they come out, they are beautiful butterflies.  We all wish that adolescents could go into a chrysalis, that we could leave them alone and they would leave us alone, because it is a really hard time.  But instead, we all have to live with each other.  We need to forgive each other and help each other, and be gentle.  Because we aren't butterflies, we are people.

  Then, we went to the very nicest restaurant in town and had expensive desserts.  We talked about how the menstrual cycle is when your body is getting ready for a baby to come.  If a baby doesn't get in your womb, menstruation is your body throwing out all the furniture and the decorations and the baby clothes.  Sometimes our bodies get cranky and sad, just like if you thought somebody was coming to visit and you got the house all ready, and then they didn't come.  So then, you get extra rest and good food and light exercise, and cut yourself some slack, because your body is disappointed.  We talked about that even though your body might be ready for a baby, there is more to raising a baby than being pregnant. 

  We didn't go into the mechanics of how a baby gets in, in this setting.  The girls didn't ask.  If they had asked, we were ready to answer. 

   Anyway, then we went and bought bubble bath stuff at a bath products store.  It was SOOOO much fun.

  Maybe you and bio-mom could cooperate on something similar.


Ugh. I hate to say it, but Payton's dad was more at loss than I was. He didn't feel comfortable answering such a question, probably thinking that she's too young. (Of course, nowadays, with twelve year old girls getting pregnant, I do believe the earlier you tell a kid, the better.) I've always been the one to come to if the kids needed a serious question answered, sometimes I feel as if they believe I'm the only one that would tell them the truth. I don't think Payton asked her mother this and that's why I freaked out a little. To help clear something else up, the girls do not live with us, they stay with their mother and we get them two or three times a month. They live an hour away and their mom is frankly uncooperative when it comes to sharing the driving responsibilities. But I do like your idea. I will get in touch with Allison (their mom) and see what she thinks of it. Thanks so much!

Hi there.  first of all there is no such thing as making errors on this site.  I would answer her question, at her level.  think about what it was like when you were 9... and respond, appropriately.  I wouldn't blow it off and wait for her biological mom to respond, because you are an important figure in her life and she is going to you. that's cool.  


I too was married young and had an instant family from the get go.  It says a lot that Payton came to you with her questions.  That means she must trust you.  My step daughters mother didn't care at all to talk to her.  She is now 14.  I just approached the subject as a matter of fact.  I didn't want to degrade sexual relations at all but she had to learn it and no one else would step up and talk to her about it.  In the beginning of our chat I let her know how uncomfortable this subject may make her, and I too was uneasy about it to a degree.  I think this allowed her to be a little more open to what I had to say.  Nine years old isn't to young to talk to young girls regarding sex.  I am a nurse and see 10 and 11 year olds coming into our ER already sexually active.  Best of luck.


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