Monday, January 09, 2012


This past weekend I threw birds, bees, and "special hugs" right out the window, and instead opted for some old standbys: Penis and Vagina. That's right folks, my daughter and I had The Talk on Saturday. The one I've been prepping for for the past few months, the one God has put on my heart to pray for, the very one I have been specifically praying for for the past two weeks. And let me tell you truly and from the heart what an amazing blessing this scary situation really was. Not only do I feel relief for finally being able to open a special door of communication between my daughter and myself, but I know that by taking the proverbial bull by the horns and blazing ahead with The Sex Talk, I'm beating the odds of having B hear some strange, disturbing, and downright untrue information from her friends. I'll say this: Moms, it's worth it. Daunting? Yes. Embarrassing? Yes. Scary? You betcha. But is it worth blushing from the tips of your ears down to your toes when you hear yourself describing the mechanics of intercourse to your daughter? Absolutely.

So here's my story, and if you're as uncertain and terrified as I was about broaching this conversation with your young daughter, my hope for you is that this brings you comfort and courage.

We're in the car, on the way home from grocery shopping, and B's rummaging through my purse for a pencil. She pulls out a tampon and asks "What is this?" (Now, this isn't the first time she's asked about feminine products. Usually I just dodge the question or put her off by telling her it's for older ladies and she'll learn about it later. But this time, it just felt right.) So I launch into the whole Period Speech. The reproductive cycle, womb, ovaries, shedding of the lining, that sort of thing. At one point she says "I thought people didn't have eggs." Nice one, God, perfect ice breaker. (I'm telling you, the Holy Spirit was with me the whole time; from well-placed tension relief to impeccably timed questions from B.) I say "Well, women have eggs but we don't lay eggs," which inevitably led to me telling her how our eggs are fertilized by sperm to make a baby. B's response to sperm? "What? What's that?" At this moment my face goes hot and my hands get sweaty. I say something like "Well, sperm is what the man has that helps to make the baby."

Now we're in seriously frightening territory.

It's obvious to me at this point that the next step is to tell her about the mechanics of sex. So I started out with the relatively safe point of view of God. Marriage, love, how God designed women specially to carry babies and that's why we have wombs and men don't. I'm just gearing up to tell her about The Deed when she derails me with a question about breasts. So we talk about breasts for a few minutes, and then silence. I'm half relieved and half disappointed that the conversations stops at wombs and breasts, but I only have about 4 seconds to think about it when her little voice comes from the back seat, "Anyway, you were saying?"

I take a deep breath and say "Are you sure you want to hear this now? Because it's going to sound a little strange." B: "Yes." Quick silent prayer and I dive in: Penis. Vagina. Marriage. Love. God's plan for husbands and wives. SEX.

B says "Does it always have to happen like that?"

Me: "Yes. It always happens that way. Holding hands is not sex. Kissing is not sex. Hugging is not sex."

B: "I don't like that word."

So I tell her that it's okay to not like the word or the idea of sex. She's a child, children aren't supposed to like it, but it's good for her to know about it. When she gets married she'll like it. That's God's plan.

Another deep breath. I did it.

Elation sets in (or is that adrenaline?) I did it!

I quickly touched on the damage that sex outside of marriage can have on men, women, and sometimes children. The bond the intimacy of sex creates and how it's only meant to be within a union of marriage. She asks a couple questions. I answer. She gets it. I relax.

Another deep breath and we pull into the garage. At this point it dawns on me that I just drove 16 miles on the freeway and I don't remember any of it. Thankful to be alive I exit the car and make my way over to B's side. She climbs out and asks if she can watch a movie. I say sure. "Give me a big hug. I love you. If you ever have any questions you can ask me anytime."

B: "Even if you're in the shower?"

Me: "Yes."

B: "Even if you're working?"

Me: "Yes."

B: "Even when you're doing the dishes?"

Me: "Holy cow, yes!"

B laughs that adorable little girl laugh and I tell her again, "Seriously, you can ask me anything, anytime. Same with daddy."

B: "Daddy?! He doesn't know anything about that stuff!"


A quick side note for you here. While I was putting groceries away it dawned on me that quite possibly the first thing B would do Monday at school would be to spread the word about her new-found "secret". I casually told her that it would be best for her to not share her new information with her friends, but to let their parents tell them in their own time. I told her that it was very important to me that she know the truth about sex so that if one of her friends decided to share some misinformation with her, she would know truth from fabrication. She nodded seriously and said "Yes, mommy." As I left the room wondering if I had just put too grave a stamp on the whole thing, she calls after me, "Wanna watch Mega-Shark with me? They're the largest water-predators in the WORLD!"


Here's what helped me:
Dannah Gresh's book
Prayer for timing
Prayer for the conversation to come about naturally

Know this: you can never be 100% prepared. You'll need lots of deep breaths, patience, and straight talk. Trust me, the straighter your talk, the less embarrassed you'll be!

Also, I'm sure the talk varies from girl to girl. There is quite a bit I didn't tell her. Ejaculation for one. It just didn't even occur to me to tell her about it. Neither did we talk about how the baby grows inside the woman. But now that the door is open, I welcome her questions with an open heart and open mind. I am so full of praise for the channel God helped me to create for her questions from now until she's a young adult.

I don't pretend to be any sort of expert on this subject, but if you have any questions for me I welcome those as well.


Natalie Ensor said...

Shan I laughed, felt a little nauseous and even teared up at one point. Then laughed at you some more. Not that you didn't do an amazing job (because you did) but only because I could envision your sweaty palms on the steering wheel and taking deep breaths. I know my time will come and I will just say "go talk to your Aunt Sheenie, she knows." That or Jesus would've returned before that time comes and all is safe in my little world.

Velvet said...

Beautifully done Shannon. Now if we could just get Christians to talk more about it (in a respectful manner, of course;). The "World" talks about sex incessantly, but married Christian adults rarely do.
Before my 5th grade fiasco I told you about, we went to the Science Museum in LA. There was an anatomy section with a plastic pregnant model that you could see through. My dad said, Isn't it wonderful how a baby is born? It comes out of the mother's bottom area when she is ready". I spent years traumatized that a woman "poops" out a baby, and decided I never wanted one.

xpigx said...

Great work Shannon!

For someone who is currently working on making some babies, I must say I will probably leave this conversation to my wife to have with our (God Willing) boy and girl once they are at a similar age.

I still remember the time I had this conversation and discovery at the tender age of 7 hahahaha.
The book "Where did I Come from" and its funny illustrations did the best job (at that point)of answering any of my questions!

Praise God for providing you with this opportunity and the Holy Spirit for pouring out grace on the situation.

Happy New Year!

Kate Snow said...

Oh my gosh, I love it. I'm so proud of you for taking this step in your parenthood. I also admire that you handled it with such poise and grace. I can only imagine that had I been in the same situation, it would be a blundering mess of penis-vagina-inappropriate-sexytime-period-just-don't-worry-about-it-ness. If I was a mother, I would totally look up to you right now.

Recreation Station said...

Great job, Shannon! For a year I ran a teen pregnancy prevention program which educated middle school girls on this stuff, based on the assumption that their parents were not talking with them about sex. For the most part, our assumption was totally accurate. It's incredibly refreshing to hear about a mom who prepared for and prayed for the opportunity to talk to her daughter.