Reddit user lLoveYourCat asked: 'How did you think babies were made when you were little?'
In the United States, it's no secret that sex education for minors is inconsistent at best.
But some people learned very unexpected stories about how babies were made, and those stories had a way of making a lasting impression.
Curious about other's stories, Redditor ILoveYourCat asked:
"How did you think babies were made when you were little?"
One Time's the Charm
"I knew babies came from sex as a fairly young child. My parents never sugar-coated that. But for some reason, as a kid, I thought you only had to have sex once to have multiple pregnancies. I seriously didn't fix that misunderstanding until early middle school."
"At some point, when I finally accepted that you had to have sex to have a baby, I thought the only time people have sex was to make a baby, and it only took one time to get the job done."
"Then when I figured out teenagers were having sex, I thought you had to be married and have sex to make a baby, but then when my unmarried cousin got pregnant, I was just confused."
"But I was sure my parents only had sex four times, and then when my mom got pregnant with number five, I thought, 'Wow, they did it again.'"
"A stork delivered them, of course. What the f**k, lol (laughing out loud)."
"Storks... I thought people trained them to steal babies from a factory and you would leave special treats on your doorstep as payment and encouragement for the stork to steal one for you."
"I was scared to death of birds for the longest time and would have a tantrum at the zoo when I saw a flamingo."
Young Conspiracy Theorist
"The government. I used to think that we lived in a totalitarian society and that the government was in complete control of everything."
"I thought the President sent people their babies when asked by mail."
Scheduled Baby Delivery
"The women in my family explained to me at the age of six that a doctor calls you sometime after reaching adulthood at the age of 18 to schedule a baby delivery date."
"The husband either pays to schedule the appointment or the government does after verifying that you have been married and financially stable for quite some time."
"When two people kissed."
"I thought the same thing, but I understood that when my mom gave me a kiss, there was no risk. Being someone raised in a very Christian background, I assumed that when you got married, God made kissing a reproductive act."
"Since I made this assumption, I remember questioning why teenage pregnancy could possibly be an issue."
The Ultimate Christmas Gift
"I thought Santa was bringing them."
"He was. I mean, Christmas comes but once a year..."
"I MAY NEVER ENJOY CHRISTMAS AGAIN."
A New Meaning to 'Forest Friends'
"When I used to ask my dad where I came from, he'd say he found me under a rock in the forest. Of course, I would go look for babies under rocks, too, but all I ever saw was dirt and those rolly-polly pill bug thingies."
"It was so gross thinking babies were just found THERE that I was actually relieved to find out how they were actually made!"
Pregnant By Proximity
"I thought women got pregnant by just being around a man, and I was always confused about what would happen if a woman still lived with her parents or dad after she’s an adult."
Coming of Age Story
"I thought it was a 'just happens once you reach a certain age' sorta thing. As a woman, I was terrified because pregnancy sounds like the most awful thing, lol (laughing out loud)."
"(I know the end result is worth it but even as a 31-year-old, I'm like, nope.)"
"I thought they grew like a seed inside the mother's belly."
"Technically, that’s true."
"Well, not like that."
The Power of Marriage
"My mum told me you couldn't have a baby if you weren't married. Note that she said 'couldn't', not 'shouldn't'."
"When my unmarried cousin was sleeping a lot my mum told my aunt 'she's having a baby'. I thought 'she can't be having a baby, she isn't married.'"
"A couple of weeks later she had an engagement party, quickly followed by a registry office wedding. She had a baby a few months later."
"I thought they grew on trees. True story."
"Baby trees, lol (laughing out loud)."
"I was surprised when I learned how it really happened, lol. I was like, 'You mean there are no trees?' And Mom just shook her head."
They Were Just There
"I don't recall a time where I gave the matter any thought without knowing the reality of it."
"Like, literally, until the day I was first introduced to the concept of birth, I don't think I cared where babies came from."
"Right, the little guys just EXISTED."
Educated Is Best
"I asked my mom and she told me the truth."
"Educate your kids, folks. They can handle it."
"I didn’t... They just showed up, honestly."
"That’s what I thought. I was terrified as a little kid that I’d wind up being a teenage mother because I thought it just happened spontaneously."
"Exactly what I thought would happen. Like one day you were just, boom, six months pregnant."
While these responses might be funny, it's an important reminder of an area in the educational system that's often lacking.
But in the meantime, while the system's curriculum is getting sorted out, at least we can take comfort in the fact that we weren't alone in believing these tall tales.
For couples who want to have children, the actual child-birthing process might be one of the most trying experiences the couple will ever go through together.
But while many of us think of the process of pushing and the physical messes of birthing the baby, there's actually a lot more to it, and the partners who witness their other half giving birth tend to remember far more about the experience than just the blood.
Redditor Asleep-Awareness5249 asked:
"Men who have watched their wives/partners give birth, what was that like?"
"My wife cussed out the doctor. I was glad we were forced to wear face masks because I was cackling when she would let him have it in-between pushes."
Inopportune Phone Calls
"My wife's phone went off during a really painful procedure, and she yelled, 'Who the f**k is calling me!!!!???'"
"But to be fair, one does not need to go thru painful procedures in order to justify saying this every time the phone rings."
Sort of Fascinating
"I was holding my wife's hand through two c-sections, the first an emergency."
"There was a low green cloth screen to stop her (and me) from seeing the actual procedure, but I'm tall, so I could see over the top anyway. Fortunately, I'm not squeamish. It was like a butcher's shop window (except very interesting)."
"They had a radio on and the first kid came out to the sound of 'First Of The Gang To Die,' which was funny."
"It all worked out well, both kids are great, a fascinating and completely exhausting experience."
Absolutely Not Useless
"As someone who had a 36-hour labor that ended in a c-section, I can say that having a partner there for you is a godsend. I spent so much time with my eyes closed, drifting in and out, not able to acknowledge my partner but I knew he was there the whole time."
"He was the person that knew me best out of all the strangers that popped in and out of the room. He was my advocate and anticipated what I needed before I knew I needed it."
"After, he said he felt totally useless and helpless but that couldn't be further from the truth."
The Importance of Aftercare
"You're the cheerleader in this game. F**king play your part and feel useless."
"A father's REAL test is aftercare. While your wife is recovering from childbirth, you are to do everything, and I mean f**king everything, for her that you possibly can."
"Men who don't change dirty nappies are just f**king p**s-weak men, and even more so if they brag about it."
"Am I a bad person if I say horrific? It was a c-section and seeing her knocked out like that was one of the most disturbing images I can recall. I nearly cried on the spot."
Childbirth on Fast-Forward
"Our first was 13 hours, giving us a false sense of security for the second. It was only three hours."
"My wife didn't do an epidural for #1 and said, 'I didn't need to do that. I'm getting it for the next one.' So we get to the hospital and said, 'Give me the epidural.'"
"They say we need to get settled in the room. By the time we got to the room, he was coming out. There was no time for anything; the docs had to scramble."
"All things considered, both deliveries were 'fine.' It's mind-boggling that that is the best-case scenario; they were the most intense days of my life."
Don't Skimp on Breakfast
"My wife was going into contractions but they were pretty far apart, so we drive down to the hospital, stopping for Egg McMuffins along the way. I dropped my wife off at the receiving area for delivery with some nurses and the midwife and then I went back out to move the car because I was in a 15-minute parking area."
"While I was moving the car, I looked at that Egg McMuffin I hadn't been able to eat yet and was like, 'I totally have hours before this baby comes out. I should eat this sandwich now and not like, in the delivery room as my wife was trying to push a baby out.'"
"So I ate the sandwich, moved the car, and went up to the delivery room."
"At the reception desk there, one of the nurses said, 'I think your wife just had a baby.'"
"And was like, 'Nah, you must be mistaken. I just arrived. WE HAVE HOURS.'"
"So I went to the delivery room and there was my son, fresh as could be, and my exhausted wife who had just given birth."
A Traumatic Experience
"My wife was in labor for about 35 hours. When we got to the point where she was ready to push, my son’s heart rate started to plummet."
"We went from a single midwife in the hospital room with us, encouraging and owning the whole process, to a team of doctors (about 10 people) who came to help within two minutes. They performed an episiotomy and had to pull my kid out with forceps and the vacuum."
"My wife lost about 1.5 liters of blood, and I remember sitting there watching all of this and thinking they would both die and my whole world was crashing around me. She looked like a ghost and he looked like a bloody, bleeding little alien when he came out. They rushed him to the NICU and gave him oxygen."
"My son is now almost 3 years old, my wife made a full recovery, and they are both the best people I know. It can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved, but f**k me if I don’t look back on it and remember what a warrior she was and what a fighter he is."
"I saw a strength in my wife I don't think either of us knew she had. It was an incredible experience, and I was so proud of my wife and child. I'm glad they still keep me around."
"This is really my experience in the maternity ward. You are 'dad' and you will carry bag and get water. Not because you are actually needed to carry these bags that could fit on this cart, or get the water from the sink over there that literally takes more time to explain where the cups are."
"But you need a job to keep you occupied, so get moving."
"I've never been so 'handled' before in my life, and I knew it was happening, but f**k if I was going to mess up the process and make them focus on anything besides my wife and kids."
"Nurses are the most amazing, and most evil things ever."
New Appreciation for Life
"With our firstborn, I had three primary thoughts:"
"1. Thank god for modern medicine, or both my wife and son would be dead."
"2. My wife is a godd**n warrior."
"3. I have a whole new appreciation for my own mother."
"Every birth is a medical emergency, and every successful birth is a miracle. Simple as that to me."
"A planned c-section for our second was much smoother."
Lonely and Helpless
"The loneliest and most helpless feeling in the world. She had to undergo an emergency C-section and went under shortly after they started. The head doctor made the call to not let me in the room, so I was stuck watching through a small window."
"The little man came out purple and not breathing and my wife was limp. For about five minutes, nobody came out to speak to me and I was quite certain both of them were dead."
"Then I heard him scream and cry and one of the nurses rushed him over to my wife and held him against her cheek. Shortly after that, the nurse handed him to me and said that both my wife and him were perfectly healthy. To say it was the largest range of emotions my mind and body had ever experienced is an understatement."
"We felt like we were prepared for anything during labor, but the emergency c-section really threw us off. Happened so fast. Luckily everything worked out, but it was pretty scary for a while there."
Something Out of an '80s Movie
"It's kind of like the movie 'Aliens' but entirely based around a vagina."
A Message to Fathers
"So, I'm the wife. And we didn't get to take our babies home, but I delivered stillborn twins a few months ago."
"My husband said exactly the same as many fathers here, that he felt so helpless watching me give birth."
"But to me, that man standing there and holding my hand was exactly what I needed. It was both medically and emotionally traumatic, but I remember feeling calm and purposeful because I knew what needed to be done, and I knew that I was the only one who could do it."
"What I needed from him was his presence. He didn't leave me alone. He didn't run from any of it, and I think he saw more of the blood and such than I did (I was a little doped up and had my eye closed for the actual delivery)."
"I could do that, keep my eyes closed and focus on what my body was telling me, BECAUSE he was there holding my hand. I didn't need to be on high alert, because he was there. His presence and my trust in him helped me do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life."
Whether the birthing process was really long or really short, whether it was complicated or straight-forward, many partners had shared experiences of being overwhelmed, of being proud of their wives, and of feeling like there was hardly anything they could do.
At least for the women who chimed in, though, them being there might have been the most helpful part.
Childbirth is one of the many things endured by women that men will never have to go through.
And though the payoff is, of course, extraordinary, childbirth is often considered to be the worst pain anyone could possibly endure.
Though there are some men, and even a few women, who might disagree.
Redditor WolfiooTheWolf was curious to hear from the men of Reddit what they think might actually be even more painful than delivering a baby, leading them to ask:
"Men of Reddit, what do you think is more painful than childbirth?"
"I'm a burn survivor."
"In 1973 I was involved over 85% of total body surface, 15% of that total was 3rd degree, meaning all layers of skin were burning."
"My shipmates put me out with a mattress cover."
"I spent the next 18 months in hospitals."
"After becoming stable, about two weeks, I underwent daily debreedment of dead tissue."
"Lowered into a stainless steel t-shaped tank filled one third with saline, the nurses cut away all the bandaging and then using scissors and scalpels cut away all the detritus."- fuzzo
"According to several studies, being on fire."- RetroNotRetro
"I had a pressure ulcer that went down to the bone after a coma, required many debridements to cut out slough tissue."
"One time they didn’t adequately numb the area before cutting."
"The world went white and I wished someone near by would stop screaming."
"A second later I realized it was me."- MFDork
It's not childbirth, but what comes after...
"They have to push down on the mother's stomach after giving birth to get some of the excess blood out."
"Think CPR but on the stomach."
"My wife said that was 10x worst than the birth part."
"I'm going to go with that."- Samilski87
...or what comes before...
"My wife thought the last month of pregnancy was worse than giving birth."
"She said giving birth was more painful for that day, but the constant tiredness and back pain was a worse experience for her."
"Makes me think of all those people, especially old people, with long term ailments having to go on each day with pain."- AFourEyedGeek
Hopefully not something that happens too often
"Getting flayed alive."- carawanar
"Sawing of a limb without anesthesia."- jbsdv1993
"Accute Radiation poisoning, the level that you get from holding Cobalt-60 too long or what killed Daghlian and Slotin after the demon core incidents."- FASBOR7Horus
"Acute radiation poisoning."
"Fun fact; it's impossible to administer pain killers effectively."
"Once your body starts decomposing with you still alive inside of it, there's nothing but pain left."- propellhatt
"Wife said kidney stone was at least the same as child birth, natural, maybe worse."- afictionalaccount
When all is said and done, this doesn't seem like a competition anyone wants to win.
Nor does one expect those who were actually able to compare and contrast feel particularly lucky for that unfortunate distinction.
At least with childbirth, there's a glorious reminder of why it was all worth it.
Fathers love their kids. There's no question about that. But fathers have one major advantage when it comes to babies--they don't have to do the physical labor.
Giving birth itself, well...it's painful. We all know that. But men have the luxury of not totally knowing.
But what if they had to?
Here were some of those answers.
The Details Matter
It depends what hole they are going to come out of.... lol otherwise yes. I love being a dad!
No From Me Dawg
Hell no! I wanted kids and so did my wife. We had kids and I love em all, and I am so proud of my wife and impressed with what she did - but I wouldn't want to go through it. Gaining weight, I could do that. Swollen ankles, nausea, being uncomfortable all the time...ok. But the actual birth? No. Even with all the medications, hell no.
Now, take this for what it's worth coming from a guy on the internet, but I'm a pretty tough guy. I can push myself pretty hard and if I can walk off some pretty serious injuries (or at least not cry while I'm getting carried off). But one of the worst things in the world isn't getting hurt, it's knowing you are going to get hurt, bad, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
In 8 months you are going to feel the worst pain you have ever felt. in 6 months. In 2. In a week. Tomorrow. 4 hours. 1 hour. 15 minutes...
That is psychological torture.
(Regarding the countdown, we had an induced labor)
The Risk Involved
Not a father but I may want children in the future...
I would feel the same. Having children is a terrifying (and beautiful) prospect, even not having to carry the pregnancy. I'm both scared and drawn to it, regardless. I would be scared for my SO's and children's health and well being both for during the pregnancy and worried that I would not be a good enough parent in the upbringing. I'm pretty confident that I could do a good job, but I also think it would be naive not to have misgivings. For the actual pregnancy as is I would be worried about my SO's health. Pregnancies and deliveries still do frequently enough go wrong and end up dangerous, and it seems like all pregnancies do have permanent physical consequences. In some way it would almost be easier being able to face that myself rather than see a loved one risk it, but it would also be a difficult thing to face as the one at risk too.
It Makes It All Harder
I wanted one, maybe two, so it's not like I'd have been birthing an army. Now at 2 and no one has to worry about pregnancies anymore.
Honestly I'm always slightly shocked we're not dying off planet wide, we need to average more than 2 each just to maintain and I can't imagine either side choosing to go for 3+
Yes. I just watched my wife give birth all natural (no pain killers) a month ago. Most women will not want to hear this, but I honestly believe I could crush it. I'd be like those MMA fighters on youtube getting pepper-sprayed, then attacking a punching bag. The whole maternity ward would hear me. I'd be like "YEAH, I'M CRUSHING IT!!!!" And they would know what's up.
Love being a dad but envied absolutely nothing about pregnancy, labour of delivery.
Ladies deserve much more credit for what they endure and sacrifice!
Yes. I want two and I would happily carry them myself if I could spare my girlfriend the pain.
Yes, I would want the same amount of kids. Zero kids still remains zero.
A woman requesting the presence of her two sisters during childbirth led to an awkward misunderstanding involving her transgender sister-in-law.
Redditor "AITAThrowaway8787" excluded her brother's wife from attending the intimate gathering and was consequently accused of transphobia.
After a severe backlash, the original poster (OP) asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) in the popular subReddit forum where people discuss if they are guilty of committing something objectionable.
The expectant mother wrote:
"So basically, I thought this was a pretty cut and dry situation, but apparently not, as I'm getting a lot of judgement (some bordering on abuse) from different people and my phone is blowing up."
"So I want to know if I was out of line."
"So I'm 6 months pregnant, and I've been very open about what kind of way I want to give birth."
"I've discussed this with my group of girlfriends extensively, along with my family. I ideally want to have a natural, unassisted birth at home, which is near a hospital if things start to shape up as problematic."
"Now, for this process, I want support, and of course my husband is going to be there, but also I want my two sisters to be with me."
"This is where things get controversial."
"In my many conversations with friends and family, I mentioned I want my sisters there with me. I do not want my brother there, that would just be weird!"
"But, in these conversations, my trans-sister-in-law was present, and she got the idea she would be included in this childbirth situation."
The OP mentioned she did not know about of her sister-in-law's transition until recently and explained the reason for excluding her.
"Just for reference she transitioned around 3 years ago. I was unaware of this until last week, when she told me if there is anything in particular she should bring for the birth."
"I calmly mentioned that I am very selective over who I want in this very intimate situation, and told her than I hope she isn't offended if she isn't there for the birthing."
"This is when things blew up. She lost her temper and I got a torrent of emotional outbursts."
"She said that she would never be able to give birth herself and excluding her is taking away from her womanhood and depriving her of her only chance of experiencing this expression of femininity."
"When she found out my two sisters were going to be there she told me that I was transphobic and she has as much of a right to be there as they do.
"After this, I received many emails, facebook messages, and text messages from several different people, calling me transphobe and many other hurtful things."
"My trans-sister-in-law is very active in the transactivism community (which I fully support), and apparently she told them what had transpired. This has obviously rallied them to harass me, and now I'm starting to wonder if I messed up."
"I kind of wish I never mentioned anything about the birthing process to her, maybe I should have just kept all these plans to myself so she wouldn't feel excluded."
"I'm aware transpeople have a pretty sh*tty deal in life, and perhaps this added to their feelings of exclusion."
"But the other part of me says, it's my birthing, I'm going to very vulnerable and exposed, and I (perhaps selfishly) owe it to myself to make it as comfortable and safe for me as possible."
The OP opened the floor for discussion on whether or not she was being the a**hole.
Many Redditors expressed that childbirth was not a spectator sport and that the dispute had little to do with transphobia.
"NTA - UM WHAT?!? No one gets to be at the birth unless the mother (you) invites them. People are there to support you, no one has a 'right' to be there."
"The fact that she reacted this way and made it about herself and her experience is proof she shouldn't be there. If you had a female born sister who felt entitled, but for WHATEVER reason you didn't want there I'd tell you the same thing."
"Make sure there is no way she can show up. You don't need that stress to deal with." – AlwaysAnotherSide
"Plus it's her sister .. in law. Sisters arent typical birthing room invitees to begin with. In laws even less so. The fact she assumed instant invite as an in law is very Just No." – rainjays
"Same here. I would have liked to be present during the delivery to hold my sister's hand and encourage her, but she clearly stated she wanted our mother and her husband and no one else."
"I never gave it a second thought as I didn't want to be the cause of stress during such a huge occasion." – LibertyUnderpants
"I think it depends on how close you are. I know many aren't but my my sister and I are in our 30s and best friends."
"We talk to each other every day and see each other almost as much. I would want her with me in any life changing situation, because our lives are so interconnected for so long, I trust her to take care of things with my best interest in mind if something went south." – BlatantNapping
"Yeah, some how she got the idea because OP was doing it at home/happy talk about her plans that it was a big tea party rather than a child birth. She can stay away!" – AlwaysAnotherSide
"Especially after this behaviour... how are you going to feel comfortable now?! People need to understand that the mothers relaxation, trust and comfort is literally life saving for her and the baby."
"And (more likely) will reduce labor times and minimise pain. No one has a 'right' to be there for any reason if it makes the mother uncomfortable." – AlwaysAnotherSide
"So let me get this straight...."
"Your sister-in-law only just told you about her transitioning a week ago, yet she expects you to include her on the most terrifying/joyful event in your life? And when you said no, only expecting to have people you've known for your whole life there, she sent a wave of misinformation out there to get people to harass you?"
"Tell her it has nothing to do with her being trans, but everything to do with her behavior now and not respecting your wishes about an incredibly life-altering event. It's your pregnancy, not her chance to use you as a proxy." – TheAlfies
This user did not appreciate that the sister-in-law made it about her.
"Even if she were there, it's not something you make about yourself, you're support for the mother not making the whole thing about your 'experiencing womanhood'. She needs to get over herself, childbirth is not a spectator sport." – frecklyfreakyfoo
"The way I see it she is using the fact that she is trans to be manipulative. Because she's not getting her way she perceives it as an attack because she's trans and that's not the case."
"She then in turn is getting other people to call OP transphobic, all because she isn't getting what she wants." – littlejupiter5
We got to hear from another perspective.
"Trans woman here. You are not being transphobic here. You alone decide who gets to attend the birth and you are NTA."
"Dysphoria is a b*tch and your SIL should get this sorted out in therapy." – SuddenPresentation0
Redditor "AlwaysAnotherSide" offered a no-holds-barred explanation to avoid further confusion over the sacred and personal nature of childbirth.
"Is this a cultural change? Why are people confused?"
"It's not hard: mother needs to feel ok moaning, pooing, moving around in weird ways, not being able to talk, being afraid, crying, not having control over her body, having her cervix expand to 10cm!!! and vagina stretch, perenium tear."
"Why on earth would you think you are invited just to see baby the very second it rips out of her vag?
"Is it because we don't have some social construct for introduction Bub to the family/community? Or people just don't understand because birth and post partum life are not depicted accurately in popular culture?"
"NTA...even if she WAS a biological woman NO ONE has a 'right' to stare into another person's vagina while they push out a human naked and in pain without thier express permission and enthusiastical consent."
"F'k her for using this MANIPULATION tactic. And her friends for harassing you. As if your vagina is public property for viewing by and and everyone for the sake of political correctness."
"Your sister's are YOUR sister's. They aren't near strangers whose family you married into. Even if she was a bio woman you would STILL be in the absolute right to be uncomfortable with a near stranger seeing you like that over your own family." – Mlynn44144
It is ultimately the OP's choice.
"NTA - Your birth your rules. If you decided to pick one blood sister over the other then that's also your choice."
"Her being trans isn't an issue. They're an in-law and not someone you grew up with."
"Your sister in law seems entitled. I understand sensitivities due to oppression her community receives but this is not one of those cases and they're being entitled."
"There's plenty of born women who never experience giving birth. She should get over it."
"SHE and no one else has any rights over your birth."
"If you wanted to replace your husband with a juggling clown that's YOUR CHOICE." – CookingwithHafsa
"NTA and your f'g husband need to stand up for you! My wife is pregnant and if anyone in my family demanded to be in the room while she was giving birth I would nip that sh*t in the bud instantly."
"OP no one is entitled to your experience and your body. You did nothing wrong and the people contacting you have a pretty sh*t moral compass." – AlluringAllura
Reddit has spoken. Childbirth is about the mother and child most of all.