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Do Children Remember Their Birth? My Three Year Old’s Birth, According to Her

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Growing up fast, but still remembers her first day :)

Growing up fast, but still remembers her first day 🙂

I was going to write a boring recipe post tonight on apple crumble, but as I was putting Margo to bed, she started giving me accurate details of her birth! I thought birth story by account of a three year old was more interesting than apple crumble…. fruity crumble recipe tomorrow.

I was laying in bed with Goldie in one armpit and Margo next to me in her bed, our usual bedtime arrangement. Goldie was finished feeding, but was still flopping around and kvetching (yiddish word that sort of means complaining). Margo asked for the usual, made-up bedtime story. I really pray that nobody will ever have to listen to my bedtime stories that I make up. They are so horribly boring and just… terrible! I’m so embarrassed by them, that I won’t even tell them if Art’s in the room.  Margo loves them though… Anyway, somehow the topic came up of babies in tummies, so I interrupted the story and asked Margo, ‘What did you do when you were in mommy’s tummy?.

Margo replied, ‘I just slept all the time, in the daytime and the night time  Even when it was daytime I was sleeping all the time!‘.

Me: ‘What did it look like in mommy’s tummy?’

Margo: ‘It was all red and pink.’ (Although they say that newborns are colour blind, Margo’s never seen a photo or video of a baby in a womb.. she has no picture reference of what it would have looked like in there!)

I asked, ‘Do you remember how you came out?’.

She then paused and started to get a little bit upset! She said something like, ‘I don’t want to come out of your tummy!’ She then started to cry…

Woah!’. I thought, ok, sorry chicky, I didn’t know that was going to upset you! We’ve never talked about Margo’s birth really… We’ve talked about her sister’s birth, which Margo witnessed. But, the two births were very different. Margo’s was the ironman, 36 hour labour including 3 or 4 hours of pushing, and she was very late, about 10 days late.

Anyway, so I dropped the subject, but was still just dying to know what else she remembered. I didn’t want to upset her though  Goldie was still complaining and not falling asleep in my armpit, and Margo, half asleep, did her usual, ‘Mom… I have to poo…’  Ugh, the untimely poo! So, I grabbed Goldie, who thought it was just delightful to be out of my armpit and sat down with her in my lap outside the bathroom while Margo hopped on the toilet. Margo and I have had some great conversations while she’s been sitting on the pot. This girl could seriously sit there chatting away for about 15 minutes or more, easily.

I thought I would try again and ask her what she remembered about her birth. This time was much more successful, and she really started talkingThis was our conversation, more or less:

Me: ‘Margo, tell me more about when you came out of mommy’s tummy‘.

Margo: ‘There was a tiny little hole and a big hole and I had to come out.‘ (If you know anything about female anatomy.. that is a fairly accurate description of what it’s like… I’m not sure I could have even put it in simpler terms if I was describing it to someone).

Me: ‘What was it like coming out of that hole?’.

Margo: ‘I was scared that I might fall out.  I got stuck!  I was really stuck!’. (Three hours of pushing… hello!!!)

Me: ‘Mmmhmmm…. Then what happened?’

Margo: ‘There was a really bright light, and I went way way down in the pool‘. (Margo was born in the water, and they used a big underwater torch to check her progress).

Me: ‘Yes, and then what happened?’ (I felt a bit like a shrink)

Margo: ‘You had to catch me!  I wanted you to catch me!

Me: ‘And, I caught you, right?’

Margo: ‘Yes!’

I stopped here because she was getting really emotional. I asked her things, like if she liked coming out of my tummy… she said, ‘Nope, didn’t like it‘. What I typed out is much more simple than how she was actually responding. She kept repeating herself 3 or 4 times, and really emphasized that there was ‘one tiny tiny hole and one bigger hole‘?! Lots of the terminology that she was using in her answers were words that I have never used when talking to her.

How cool! I’m not really surprised that she remembers her birth, I’ve heard that children up to the age of about 5 can remember.  I’m just glad that she has the language skills to tell me about while the memory is still sort of ‘fresh’ in her mind.  Have you ever heard about a child talk about his or her birth?

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