FAMILY MEDICAL CARE: EDUCATION FOR THE FAMILY
Besides this, it offers one of the most beneficial opportunities you will ever find to explain to your children the so-called "facts of life."
It depends to a certain extent on the age of the other offspring. But it is surprising how intelligent in these matters even very young children happen to be. They are unusually observant. Even toddlers are geared for absorbing sounds and sights in their environment. Indeed, this is all part of the growing-up routine. It is nature's way of establishing in their minds sets of standards which will stay with them for the remainder of their lives.
Most will come to recognize the gradual alteration in the shape of mummy's tummy. Questions will be posed. The simplest and easiest way out is to offer straightforward, honest answers.
Tell them Mummy is expecting a new baby. Let each member touch the expanding stomach. Let him feel for himself, and have a listen. Children's tactile senses are very acute. They can readily sense internal movements as the foetus moves about. This will give them an amazing sense of pride and happiness.
If the opportunity arises, and in many cases it will, explain in some detail how baby got there. Don't be shy and embarrassed. Your children will not be, so why should you?
Show them how the little seed got inside. Indicate how baby will get out. Don4 point to the navel and say "through there." It's done by unthinking mothers-to-be every day of the week, and it is foolish. Make the most of every opportunity, and you will never be embarrassed to discover that your children one day will be sat down and told the facts of life - perhaps crudely and by some precocious child.
You will have already told them, little by gentle little. This is the most natural, effective and beneficial way to present the story of life, of sex and reproduction to your growing family. Grasp every opportunity, and make the most of the situation while it lasts.
At bath time is often a good time. On such occasions, everyone is peeled down to the bare essentials. It can be an excellent opportunity for a highly profitable discussion of the body, its functions and potentials.
Even in these enlightened days, enormous numbers of youngsters still do not get a comprehensive story of sex and reproduction. They learn the hard way, the questionable way. Magazines and popular books abound. But so many give only a garbled version of the seamy side, the sensational, and dwell abnormally on sensuous gratification, that too many young people consider this to be the only side to the picture.
The simple words of a pregnant mother, talking to her young children in words that they can understand, will often form the basic framework on which a sensible, reliable understanding of sex in all its true beauty may be imparted. Use the opportunity as often as it arises.
Youngsters, even in early childhood, are accumulating their yardsticks and values. They face life honestly. They will accept, usually without question, information imparted to them.
So take advantage of this. Give them honest answers. Do not pretend, do not fool, and do not be dishonest. In this simple way, you may be establishing very important subconscious masses of important data in the memory banks of your children. It will serve them well for the rest of their lives, whether you recognize the fact or not. So, be natural, direct and as forthright as the age of the child indicates. It will pay handsome dividends.
Do this and the terrible day when you feel obliged to tell your child the facts of life will never eventuate. He will already know them. He has built on the basics you provided, and has a clean, intelligent outlook on life. In today's world, this is of inestimable value.