Where Do Babies Come From?


When I had my children I had to deal with explaining the facts of life to them.  Being a modern, no-nonsense mother that I am.  I told them exactly what the process was and used medical terminology to make it clear.   I really didn’t want any surprises showing up in my stint as a single parent.   I also taught my son to respect women and my daughter to respect herself.  All things that I think a mother or parent should do when raising kids, among a list of other things, of course.

However, at school today I had a discussion with the Chinese teachers about where babies come from and who told them about the birds and the bees.   I was in shock to find out that my 24 to 28-year-old co-workers told me that their mother told them that babies came from “stones”.    (Stones? Really?)    They informed me that until they reached about middle school age they all honestly believed it.    I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the craziness they were saying.   They also told me that their mother told them they were “found in the trash or in trash cans.”   Now my mother use to say those kinds of things as jokes when I was being a little demon.. but I never actually believed it, like many of the Chinese girls did.

This started me on the topic of their monthly visitor and birth control.   I begin to ask them questions like: What did they tell you about your monthly flow?  They told me .. they were just told that they were growing up.  No details, no explanation, no nothing!!  I could not believe the lack of knowledge these girls had when they entered high school and university.

Most learned about sex by themselves.. or other students.  They were so lost to this day, that the other foreign teachers and myself… had to explained to them about tampons.   Yes, boys and girls… most chinese women do not know what is a tampon and when we explain it to them… they were amazed and wanted to know where they could get such a wonderful gift. (although one asked me how to get it out… and another kept asking if it was true that you could go swimming)

They are  told, even now, when on their period that they are not allowed to eat or drink anything cold, they can not take a shower or wash their hair, and they are unable to participate in PE class in school.   It seems when in middle school or high school… when you are on your period.. you need to sit out and watch the class… ( I thought this was ridiculous now everyone know you are on your period)  This kind of thinking was so old-fashioned to me.. that I couldn’t believe that in 2012 they were still following these beliefs.

When we told them that when we had our periods… we did the same things that we did when we did not have them… they were amazed and said … “American women are sooooo strong!”

Then the discussion turned to birth control.  One of the foreign teachers were trying to explain that she wanted to have birth control while she was in China … just in case things got a little hot and heavy she didn’t want to go home with an extra gift for her family.   We were horrified to find that most of the girls in the office didn’t know much about birth control.

Instead of preventing births the responsible way, they said if you found out you were pregnant you take a pill and it went away (the day after pill)  and if it was too late for that you went to the hospital and they made it go away.   We were speechless.

I am not an advocate of using abortions as a form of birth control.   But I do believe it is your choice and your body.  But to not even introduce the idea of birth control to women is just sad.  Mind you there are condoms all over the place in wonderful fruit and meat flavors. (yukkk) There are ones that heat up and ones that glow in the dark and even ones that smell like flowers.  But the actual birth control pill… hard to find.

I am sure this is because I live in a smaller city and not a big city like Shanghai, or Beijing but the fact that in China there are thousands of these small cities and even smaller towns that have these same beliefs really scares me.

You would think that a country that has a one child policy  (unless you pay money, which is another story) .. that they would teach you how to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

My co-workers said that they even skip that chapter in Biology class.  Their parents figured.. if you do not tell them, they will not be interested in it.  (we all know that isn’t true) They figure you should be studying anyway.. not thinking about the opposite sex.  Until it is time for you to get married.  With many of my younger students in high school and university tell me that they have secret girlfriends and boyfriends that their parents don’t know about I feel that there are a lot of after pregnant hospital visits that the parents just do not know about, unfortunately.

Wow… what age have I stepped into? Clearly, with all the push for education and high grades they have forgotten a lot of important things in the parenting stuff they are doing over here.  I can only laugh and think back to what my grandmother said to me…

“The best birth control is an aspirin…. Hold it between your knees” 

until next time….

1926 US advertisement. "Birth Control"
1926 US advertisement. “Birth Control” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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11 thoughts on “Where Do Babies Come From?

  1. pearls

    After reading your wonderful article again, I can see that nature in its state of order is clear and concise. Its certain human folks that mess it up.

    I hope you ladies continue to share and enlighten one another because it is so needed globally.

  2. pearls

    Flavored condoms and ones that glow in the dark…what’s next…snack and alcohol flavored! The may have some eunuchs running around there if they are not careful!

    In my opinion, their views toward the various traditional art forms, ie silk-making, pottery, tea ceremonies, and the practice of using medicinal herbs is more sacred and explicit in concept in comparison to their views towards a human’s life.

  3. Wow! (You had me at meat flavored condoms!) This is definitely an eye opener. I know quite a few parents who feel if they discuss sex with their children, they will want to have sex. Thing is, most of their children are already doing it.! I feel like the more a young person knows about sex, and how his/her body works the outcome is always better.

    I was very educated on birth control etc. I was raised by my Grandmother, and if I had any questions she was very open. I’m going to be the same way with my own child (Who’s four now.) I read pinkfashionninja’s comment above me, and I get the impression that men may not be wearing condoms as well. The weight seems to be on the girl/woman when it comes to birth control.

  4. OK Jo. I assume the conversation was with your Chinese female teachers. What about sex education for Chinese boys. My grad students tell me that sex ed is taught in gender-segregated classes. By inference I’d guess that 99 percent of my males (up to age 32) are virgins! Masturbation, one who was bold enough told me, is frequently practiced in the dormitory squat toilets but that is rarely talked about. He said it’s “gentleman’s time” but going solo saps “athletic energy.” Perhaps being a foreigner makes boys reluctant to talk to me openly in class or out-of-class. By the way, I sent this blog to my students to talk about when I do sex, drugs, and rock and roll in the 60s unit I will teach in a few weeks. Probably will start by playing Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls.” LOL

    1. @Harry… Yes it was a girl talk session… Most of the boys are a little shy when it comes to talking about sex but … I can get it out of them.. if I put a little pressure on them…(smile)… actually men are not normally virgins… they have KTV girls, and prostitutes they can go too… and most watch the yellow movies..(porn) so they know what to do and how to do it. It is that age old… a boy is not suppose to be a virgin but the girl is suppose to be kind of thing.

      1. Again, Jo, you have given me another angle of vision. I teach grad students, and rarely talk with Chinese adults either academics or regular folk. So my circle for “real” cultural information about where babies come from is virtually nil. The KTV girls and prostitutes would seem to be possibilities for my students, but I dunno. The boy who told me about “gentleman’s time” is Han Chinese and the comment was off-the-cuff. I saw a boy and girl in a heavy petting embrace in broad daylight on campus this week. Normal behavior on my US campus. Was on my way to the barber with two male students about 25 years old. I told them that before coming to China I was told that Chinese couples rarely show affection in public. “What would the girl’s mama I say,” pointing to the couple, I asked? One boy said “She would say you make me lose face. Stop!.” Finally, your blog me me think cross culturally about masculinity. Chinese boys, at least the students I meet, seem to have a “soft masculinity” that is not the American norm, especially among most of my black male students and particularly those who practice “hit it and quit it” as a measure of their “hard” masculinity and manhood. Thanks for letting me pick your mind and then leading me to think about such topics in Chinese context.

        1. As Always Harry, your questions are appreciated…. the young men in China are most certainly ..not the most macho of men.. for sure.. but they have their own way of catching the eye of the ladies…. It always good to keep in mind that Chinese young people dont really date… they look for the person they will marry…. it is serious business over here… and most want to marry a … ahem…. virgin…. nearly impossible in the states..of course…

  5. Wow, though we live in modern times stuff like this is still going on! It’s similar out here in Korea. Study study study but no sexual education. A korean must go to the doctor and get a prescription filled to get birth control so you cant just go and buy it. So if its a young girl shes gona be embarrassed about going to the doctor. So they all end up getting it aborted which is illegal out here. I was once told 1 in 4 middle school girls get one. Its really sad.

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