I am sitting at the dining room table when I receive this text from my daughter's bedroom ( yes, this happens all the time-the texting from a room away):
Mom? Do you have to have a parent to get a Plan B pill?
Oh my God! I tell myself not to panic. I tell myself that I can do this. I talk about this stuff all the time with a wide variety of people. It is in fact part of my job description-to educate on human sexuality. I am somewhat of an expert. Do not freak out I tell myself while I sit in the dining room trying to come up with a response.
I finally begin my text and explain how to purchase it. I text about side effects and complications and how the Plan B pill actually works. But at the end of my response I do panic some- is this for you Kate?!
This of course sets off an angry response from the girl: It is not me! I said it's for a friend and I mean it's for a friend. How long does it take for the egg to be fertilized?
I then explain in text messages the art and miracle of conception and how we don't really know an exact time. Yes, I have explained this several times over the course of my children's lives. My son's would ask me questions to shock me-but I shocked them by giving them honest informative answers. Then they asked questions because they truly wanted to know and they would refer their friends to me with questions too. (This was most embarrassing to discuss sex with teen age boys and trying not to blush or embarrass myself or them) With the girls it has been different. Very different.
They wanted to know nothing about the changes to their bodies. The youngest covered her ears screaming. "Shut up! Shut up I don't want to hear about this!" and proceeded to put fingers in her ears and started singing at the top of her lungs. "I don't need to know this! La la la…"
Our children do need to know this. They really do whether they want to or not. I talked anyway-even though it embarrassed her. I educated anyway. I gave knowledge of the physiology of sex as well as the emotional aspects. It has embarrassed me but I did it and do it anyway. It doesn't deserve a crown in sainthood to discuss sex with your child. It does not stop teenage pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. But maybe, just maybe it makes our children stop and think for a moment before making irrevocable and life changing decisions. And maybe, it gives our children the security of coming to us when something does happen that is beyond their control.
Kate finally comes out of her room. "It really isn't me, Mom. Really."
I take a deep breath, "If it were you, would you tell me?"
"I think so." She says.
I hope so. Even though these kinds of things are hard to hear, I really hope so.
Monika M. Basile