“Mom, they showed a birth in Science today.”
These were the words that P greeted me with at pick-up last week. At first, I didn’t quite understand what he was telling me, so he repeated again, “Mom, they showed a birth in Science today.” This time he’s looking at me, and I can see that he’s unnaturally calm.
Me: “A live birth???” I asked.
Me: “A live, human birth???”
Me: “Really? Was it a video?”
Me: “How much did they show?”
Me: “EVERYTHING, everything?”
Me: “Like, crotch shot?”
Me: “Eeeuuuwww. Really???”
Me: “Pretty gross, huh?
P: "Ugh, it was nasty!"
Me: "I can’t believe they showed you that. I didn’t want to see that on myself, I didn’t want your dad to see it when you guys were born, and I sure wasn’t planning on you seeing it in 7th grade. I can’t believe they showed you that.”
P: “I know. Cal and Mark were so lucky, because their moms didn’t sign the permission slip, so they got to sit outside during the video. I wish I could’ve sat outside.”
Me: “I don’t remember the permission slip saying anything about a video of a live vaginal birth, do you?”
P: “No, it didn’t! Mom, you should call the cops and have the school arrested for pornography.”
Me (laughing): “Yeah, it is pretty graphic, isn’t it? How did everyone react to it?”
P: “No one talked about it afterward.”
Me: “That’s so weird that they would show this to a bunch of 12 year old boys. I don’t think you guys needed to see that. Where were the girls? Did they show them the video in another room?”
P: “We were all the same room watching it. But they sat at different tables.”
Me: “WHAT?!?! They had you all in the same room????? That is crazy.”
L: “Mom, it was so nasty and bloody and disgusting.”
Me: “Yeah, it is, kind of. Lucky for me, you guys were all c-section, so I didn’t have to do any of that.”
P: “I know. I’m so glad I was born the good way.”
Ok. So I know it is my responsibility as a parent to preview the Sex Ed curriculum, and when I sign the permission slip, I am giving my ok to it. And I should've watched the video when they screened it (I'm assuming they did and I just blew it off). But really. I'm pretty open about this stuff, so I figured whatever they discussed would be old news to him. I had no idea he'd be learning the true meaning of crowning. Had I known, I think I might've held off on signing the slip. Not because I'm anti-sex ed, but because I don't think this 12 year old boy needs to see this yet.
But whatever, the damage is done. My kid has seen his first vagina. Shudder.
To be sure of exactly what he saw, I called the school, got the name of the video, and sat myself down to watch it online. Nova’s Miracle of Life. Turns out I had seen this before, back when I was pregnant with L. The video is really well done, with lots of great footage of eggs and sperm and embryos and all that good stuff. Really informative and interesting.
And then we get to minute 46.
And then we get to minute 46.
The next 4 minutes were enough to make ME shudder. Seriously, this was not for the squeamish. Sure, it’s the miracle of life, a beautiful thing, blah, blah, blah. I appreciate the sentiment. But when it comes down to it, it is aesthetically unpleasant to view. And I’m a girl! These are essentially MY parts, and I’m turning queasy watching it. Imagine how a room full of 12 year old boys felt.
I now know that P’s unnatural calm was misleading. He wasn’t calm, he was in shock.
Immediately following the birth, the video turns to the parents and their joy in having created this expression of their love. In true crazy female fashion, I quickly about-face and start misting up at this tender moment. Nothing gets to me more than the sight of a new dad crying over his baby.
A couple days later, I mentioned to P that I had watched the video and was thinking about showing it to L when he’s in 7th grade. (L is very modest and this type of public experience might mortify him to death).
P: “No Mom. Don’t show it to him.”
Me: “You think? Just let him see it in school?”
P: “No. Don’t sign the form either. He shouldn’t ever have to see that.”