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Last night M (age 9) was having trouble going to sleep. She asked that I sit with her, so I sat there in the dark listening to music with her (Christmas music for pete’s sake) playing on her CD-player.

Just when I thought she was down for the night, she opens her eyes and asks, “How could a pregnancy be unintended?”.


“At the State Fair, in the bathroom, there was a sign that said, ‘One-Half of Preganancies are Unintended’. How can you not intend to get pregnant?”

I took a moment to compose myself – you can never really plan for these things – and started out:

“Well you know how babies are made – right?” [Mom had covered this, but I wanted to establish some basic facts – and stall for time.] “Well, sometimes people just ‘mess around’ and aren’t serious about what they are doing, and they get pregnant.”

Not waiting for her to say anything, I blundered on, “Couples should be older, in a committed relationship, you know – married, before they think about having kids. However, it’s possible for people – even young people – teenagers – to get involved and get pregnant without meaning to.”

She was pretty quiet after that, so I asked, “Does that make sense?”

“Yes,” she said.

[Awkward moment of silence.]

“Would you like to talk to Mom? I’ll get her to stop by and say ‘Goodnight’.”

I made a quick exit, and got the Mom.

A few minutes later, the Mom returned. “How did it go?” I asked. “Did she have any more questions.”

“She said you explained everything OK.”

Score one for Dad!


amy said…
way to go Hobbled-dad! Can we get you to come give that talk to some of our teenage patients...! ha!
Anonymous said…
This is similar to the conversation I had with M while driving a few weeks ago. We were at a stoplight, and the bus shelter across the street had a huge ad for a help group for people who were sexual abusers of children. Try explaining that to a 9 year old w/o scaring her to death!

- the hobbled wife

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