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Baby Does Not Equal Sex

When someone tells me that there is a meeting, I show up for the meeting, which is how I found myself in a school library with two other parents learning about the sex education program at the school.

There are probably many good, individual reasons why people didn’t attend, but collectively, it was a pretty pathetic showing.  3 out of 300?  1% of the parents?

Anyway.

All week I joked about how I had to attend a meeting and learn about sex, and I cannot tell you how many people responded seriously, pointing out that of course I knew about sex because we had two children.  In their mind, sex may not always produce a baby, but babies are always produced through sex.  It meant that I spent a better portion of the week educating people on fertility treatments.

I can’t say they were awkward conversations because the other person usually responded, “Oh!  I didn’t think about that.”  But it was just eye opening that regardless of how much the media covers the topic, regardless of how often it appears in People magazine or the New York Times, people still make the assumption that children come from sex.

14 comments

1 Beth { 10.01.17 at 7:47 am }

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman cutting my hair as I explained I was trying to get myself together for my daughter’s baptism. She asked if my husband was helping prep the party (which was really just a small gathering of family after mass) and I said of course. “Well he helped make her so he should help take care of her, right?” “Actually, she’s adopted so neither of us made her, but yes, he is a really involved dad.” Awkward pause and subject change.

Also – I always go to meetings too and am often one of only a small number. Baffling.

2 Charlotte { 10.01.17 at 8:05 am }

That’s funny…I have to go to the same meeting this week to learn about the sex ed program, too.

And ugh…yes. So because I have the number of children I do, people assume (wrongly) that we just have sex and get pregnant, so easily. Nevermind the fact that I have been in the family building process for 18 years now, and also have a large gap between kids. It effing drives me crazy when people say things like “time to pop out another one” and other idiotic sayings. If only. I would be the Duggars by now if it were so damn easy.
While we are on pet peeves regarding this…I also can’t stand how ignorant people are about how their bodies work to begin with. Like the mid-20’s girl who was listening to someone talk about their recently started efforts of TTC and fertility signs and such and chimes in with “maybe something is wrong with me, I don’t get any of those signs of ovulation” but who has been on birth control for the past 5 years…UM….that’s because you don’t (well…SHOULDN’T) ovulate on birth control…!!! I don’t get not understanding how your own body works, and how the medication you are taking affects it.

3 Jenn P { 10.01.17 at 8:16 am }

As a lesbian and a single mom by choice, I have to point this out too. I did not have to go through fertility treatments so I usually hit them with “I didn’t have sex. I knocked myself up in the bathroom of a Thai restaurant in the middle of a hail storm.” When I say that my son has a donor, they assume I mean a “dead beat dad.” Let the education continue…

4 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 10.02.17 at 6:35 am }

This answer wins.

5 Jenn P { 10.02.17 at 8:47 pm }

Hahahah, thanks! True story, but I do sometimes need to hit people with course language and some shock value to wake them out of their stupor.

6 Cristy { 10.01.17 at 9:08 am }

I wonder how many parents would have showed up it they learned their children would be coming home with supplies (pads, tampons and potentially condoms) as well as talking material? Either your kids are part of quite a progressive school where sex education is seen as a no-brainer or they really don’t understand what information their children are about to be armed with (and hence have no idea about the follow-up).

Anyway, yes to the assumption that all babies come from sex. I certainly encountered that this summer when I taught reproduction to my summer school audience. It was the reason I spent some time talking about infertility, introducing the fact we are biologically driven to reproduce and talking about the pain that comes when it doesn’t happen. Then jumping into to reproduction and how it happens. The conversations were very good as most didn’t have this viewpoint.

7 Liz { 10.01.17 at 9:18 am }

It could be that 3/4 of the grade level wasn’t there because their children aren’t in health this quarter…I’m not sure if they do a meeting each quarter…anyway, that wasn’t really your point – I have found it ridiculous that they don’t tell students how things are “supposed” to work until 8th grade…I’m hoping this means they’ve revamped the curriculum to explain the finer details earlier…I wonder if they will ever include discussing the many amazing ways to create a baby for those who for his/her personal reasons can’t.

8 torthuil { 10.01.17 at 9:26 am }

Heh, I will definitely show up for those meetings; I want to know what my children are being taught. I’m more worried that they wouldn’t tell me what’s in the curriculum than that they do.

You make me wonder to what extent typical a sex ed program talks about assisted reproduction. Never looked into that. I would guess probably not a whole lot, this not being very relevant to the sexual behaviour or interests of the very young. On the other hand as there are more children with a different “origin story” I could see that changing.

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.01.17 at 11:59 am }

IF has made me more aware of and more sensitive to the outlier experience. I’m sure I still make assumptions from blind spots I’m not aware I have. But this issue? Based on my experience, I am more likely to be amazed that sex = baby.

10 Kate { 10.01.17 at 1:42 pm }

Yeah. As friends have begun discussing with each other their children’s budding curiosity about where babies come from, I freely share that thus far, one of the nicest “benefits” of assisted reproduction is that I can be really, REALLY honest with where my children came from and never mention vaginas or penises. I mean, really, it just serves to remind me that sex does not equal baby, but it is one of those rare good points of IVF.

11 Mali { 10.01.17 at 5:25 pm }

Oh, good grief! I can’t believe only three people turned up to the sex ed meeting. And I always think it is hilarious that people think that if you have children, it means you know anything about how your bodies work. Sometimes (many tines) it means quite the opposite. The phrase “dumb luck”comes to mind. I may not have children, but I guarantee that I know more about the conception/implantation/early pregnancy process and details than my friends or sisters with children.

12 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 10.02.17 at 6:36 am }

So true! People who don’t have trouble conceiving don’t (necessarily) have to think about it.

13 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 10.02.17 at 6:39 am }

I’m surprised by the small turnout too! Sex Ed is such a sensitive topic, I’d think more parents would want to show up and know how it will be taught.

14 Amber { 10.10.17 at 5:30 pm }

That boggles my mind that only 3 people showed up to that meeting!

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