How Are We Born?

How Are We Born?


Letter 2

How Are We Born?

Hello again, dear Julian – I hope you slept deliciously well, as all people should.

(Never feel ashamed about sleeping too much at times. Sleeping is sensible, it heals us, and only silly people and brand-new parents stay up all night.)

If you’re feeling sleepy, rub your eyes for a second. And while you’re there, give the rest of your face a good rub.  

Isn’t your skin wonderful? 

It’s a very interesting organ, and the largest in your body! And wherever you go in the world, everyone’s skin is a slightly different colour. Sometimes it’s pale, almost white. Sometimes it’s lighter pink, sometimes light brown, sometimes darker. All over the world, people’s skin is different. It’s wonderful!

We’ll talk another time about the world, this amazing place we all live in. But for now, remember that even though skin may look different, the person underneath is always just like you. (We have a nice saying about this: “our differences are only skin-deep.”) 

When you were inside your mum, her skin protected you – along with other marvellous organs that kept you healthy and growing. And over time, you grew your own skin, over your own organs.

So here’s a good question: why don’t we just stay inside our mums? It’s safe and warm, and we get fed every day! Why leave?

The answer, yet again, is to do with cells, remember them from our last letter? After nine months of growing, there were just too many cells for our mum to carry around. We were too big and too heavy! So to keep getting bigger (as we must do, if we want to be healthy), we had to come out into the world, where there’s unlimited room to grow.

This growth inside our mum is called “gestation” – and it always takes around nine months, for every baby everywhere. During that time, all our cells work really hard, making more and more cells, until they’ve grown a tiny human body, floating in a sack of liquid inside our mum’s belly.

When it’s time to emerge into the world, both our baby body and our mum’s body send signals to each other, speaking a language that doesn’t need words – and when the time is right, they magically change to get us ready for the outside world, where people who love us are waiting to hold us and comfort us as we take our very first breaths of air. 

When we are born, that exact moment when our head emerges into the air is called delivery. You were delivered to the world in exactly this way, like a very special parcel that’s worth more than anything anyone has ever received in the mail. 

The very first hands that hold us belong to doctors. Your auntie is a doctor (hi there!). We doctors are people who have learned how human bodies work, and we use that learning to teach people how to look after their own bodies, and to help them stay safe and feel good. 

Doctors who are in charge of baby deliveries are called gynaecologists – a very complicated, grown-up word that really means “birth doctor”. (We adults like our big, complicated words, even when there are smaller, easier words that work just as well!)

Gynaecologists keep track of your growth inside your mum’s belly, from day one to month nine, they even help control how you’re growing (although it’s your mum that does most of the hard work!). It’s their job to keep you and your mum healthy and safe until you’re ready to be born. 

When that special moment arrives and your mum is ready to deliver you, the doctors take her to a special delivery room. They get dressed in funny coats that cover almost all of their bodies and heads, leaving only their eyes clear. (There’s a sensible reason they do this, but it doesn’t mean they look any less funny.)

Suddenly mum starts squeezing muscles in her belly, pushing that baby out into the world, and the doctors work hard and safe to make sure everything goes smoothly. When the baby is free and surrounded by air for the very first time, from its head to its toes, the doctors check its cute tiny body to make sure it’s ready to face life on the outside – and then the baby is put into its parent’s loving arms for the very first time. 

That first hug you get from your mother and father is probably the most amazing feeling in the entire world. For the very first time, after nine months of waiting, you’re all together as a family, skin to skin, joined by love, kisses and happy tears. 

So reach out your arms, right this second, and give your parents a big hug – just to remind them of that incredible day. Probably the most amazing day of their lives.

Until our next letter, my little one!

Auntie Mariana

This is a blog series after my book called Dear Julian: Welcome Letters To The World. Feel free to follow the series here on the blog or  buy the Kindle version on Amazon. Thanks for your support!

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