If my fourth graders have learned nothing else this year, they've at least learned something about babies! They can tell you all about the umbilical cord and it's function, amniotic fluid, and when a fetus can start to hear sounds outside of the womb. Today, we had the uterus conversation and it went something like this...
Me: Now, I don't know when I'm going to be gone, but I'm meeting with the long term sub today, so after today, we'll be ready and it won't matter if I'm here or if she's here. The baby could come as late as Spring Break or as early as tomorrow, no one knows! I might even be here after spring break if she comes late!
A: (a curious and thoughtful little boy) Mrs. F....how will you know when it's time for you to go?
J: (a know-it-all little girl) Her water will break!
M: (another know-it-all little girl) She'll have contractions!
A: (with a terrified look) What's a contraction?
Me: Well, let's see. Okay. There's a big bag of muscles surrounding my baby called the uterus (most kids look confused, some of them scream "Eww! Gross!" Which I ignore because it's hilarious). When it's time for the baby to come, this big muscle will start to squeeze and push the baby out. It feels like a really big cramp, or like someone's squeezing your insides. When these really big cramps start happening one right after the other, then it's time for me to go to the hospital. (At this point, A's eyes are so large they're about to pop out of his head - I think he just realized HOW a baby comes out of a Mom and he's starting to put two and two together. Half of my kids are covering their faces and shaking their heads. I've officially given them too much information...again. I love being the science teacher!)
A: But, Mrs. F......aren't you SCARED???
I laughed and said, "No, I'm not scared. I'm going to be just fine, don't you worry." Then we moved on to something else.
When I got home tonight and thought about A and his absolute shock, I realized that he is exactly where I was about seven months ago. I felt like this whole idea of the uterus contracting and something the size of a baby coming out of me was completely preposterous and I was terrified of labor. But now, I'm really not scared! I'm not nervous, I'm not worried. I know that I don't know how this is going to happen and I'm really, really excited about that! I can't wait until it does actually happen so I can start experiencing what I've been anticipating for so long. It's not going to be a picnic, I know, but it's going to be NEW and it's going to be WONDERFUL and it's going to be OUR BABY! How could anyone be scared about that?