Questions often follow the announcement of an expected sibling in our home. Questions about conception, the baby’s development and impending birth. Sometimes the children are too young to remember our previous answers and sometimes they are simply wanting reminding or more depth appropriate to their age development. A sibling’s birth is a wonderful opportunity to revisit this topic and answer any questions your child may have. Books can provide a gentle way to answer general questions and provide an atmosphere for more indepth discussions. Most ‘birds and bees’ questions I prefer to answer directly, finding conversation more satisfying than books in this area, however we do have a small collection of favourites we pull out at these times.
Angel in the Waters – Regina Doman
A tiny baby grows in its mother’s womb, exploring the waters and talking to the angel who is there. Lovely, gentle illustrations perfect for very young children to see the journey of conception through to birth.
Where do Babies Come From? – Angela Royston
A simple introduction to the natural cycle of life; a seedling, a duckling, a kitten and a baby. The focus is on how the baby, duck etc grow inside the mother and emerge. “An egg joins with a sperm inside the mother to make a tiny kitten” simple and discreet. Readers are simply told that human babies are “pushed through a special passage between the mother’s legs.” Pictures are always discreet and attractive. Perfect introduction for when a young child asks questions with just the right amount of information.
Being Born – Shelia Kitzinger
We bought this book over a decade ago when expecting our third child, I had long been a fan of any of Kitzinger’s birth books. The microphotography in this book is astounding! Via the incredible microphotography we see sperm entering the ovum and follow the growth of the baby throughout the nine months to birth. The tiny white silhouettes are the actual size of the baby at 30 and 37 days!! imposed upon the enlarged photographs of the baby. The colours are vivid against the background of glossy black paper. Text is written in second person, concentrating on how the child felt, what he did and how his mother felt about him. The descriptions are powerful, gentle and yet very informative. This is a very ‘real’ book with photos of the birth, though it shows no blood or pain, but a newborn with a squinced up face, who has a little suckle before falling asleep. There are a couple of parts of this book I don’t share with our children. Whilst I choose not to read the short passage on how fertilisation happens (I’d prefer to discuss this individually, at appropriate ages) it is explained simply and nicely. And I don’t always share one of the birth photos with my children (dependent on the individual). This really is an incredible book, a fantastic explanation of conception, development and birth with stunning photography!