The Tragic Optimist

the birds and the bees and the doctors

We got the question at dinner tonight.  You know the one.  We were talking about women having babies and then Zoe asks the obvious next question, “how do you get a baby?”  I wanted to leave it at a woman gets pregnant, Chris tried to make a joke, but Zoe was having none of it, “no really, how do you get a baby?”

I prefaced it with the idea that there are a few different ways that a person or family can have a baby, and then tried to give her the simple, but accurate explanation of the most common way that, well, pregnancies get started.

“Did you do that?” she asks me.  “Well, we did for Hazel, but for you, we had to go to the doctor.”

“Why?” was the obvious follow-up.  She’s good at asking follow up questions.  In retrospect, it’s surprising she hasn’t asked about this before.  “Things weren’t quite working right, we had to take some medicine, I even needed shots.”

“I hate medicine!” she says.  She just had surgery for ear tubes and adenoidectomy, and the prescribed pain killers made her feel really unpleasant, so she’s particularly anti-medicine at the moment.  “And the only thing I like about shots are that they help you, that’s all!”  So we bonded a bit over our dislike of shots and medicine and the conversations quickly moved on to easier topics like stickers which of course led to a conversation on voting and politics.



  1. MomZ

    Well that left me speechless, from laughing. Can’t trick that Girl.

  2. Thus leading to Zoe’s lifelong belief that Mom and Dad have only had sex once, ever.

  3. Ha ha! That is so cute! We have managed to avoid such conversations so far, although Bean talks about the baby a lot and laments that boys can’t have babies in their tummies like mommies can. It’s just a matter of time before the dreaded “how” question surfaces. He has been asking how the baby is coming out, though. Unfortunately, I am having a scheduled C-section. Not only unpleasant to explain, but he’s not exactly getting the “natural birthing” perspective.

  4. Jamie

    AWESOME. That is a great kid you have there!!

  5. Sarah

    I am floored that Charlotte, an inquisitive girl if there ever was one, has asked how babies come out, how a woman can prevent pregnancy, and why it takes more than an egg to make a baby. She has not asked how babies are actually made. That’s fine. When the question does arise, David and I probably won’t have to explain much. She already knows most of the facts.

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