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What to tell your children What to tell your children

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Unread 01-13-2002, 11:57 AM
What to tell your children

I have 2 boys, age 5 & 9. How do I explain to them at that age what is going on? I have always been honest and upfront with my boys, and have told them that I have to go for surgery, and explained the after surgery bit. But when they ask me why I am having surgery, I am at a loss what to tell them. The 9 year old, somewhat understands (already had the "sex" talk with him) but I feel that what I tell the 9 year old will be too much for the 5 year old to handle. Any advice on what to say? I thought about telling him that my baby maker was being taken out, but then I am scared it will open a whole new can of worms, and I am not prepared for that. Any advice?
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Unread 01-13-2002, 12:51 PM
What to tell your children

Hi There!

Just my humble opinion: I would not say that the 'babymaker' was being removed; I think you are right in feeling this may open up a whole other discussion you had not planned on getting into at this point.

Maybe I would say that there are some things inside that are not working properly and causing problems, therefore the surgeon will go inside and remove the problem parts so mommy will feel better. Hopefully, although vague, this will suffice; if not, perhaps the DR or their pediatrician would have some ideas as to what to tell them.

Best of luck and best wishes!
Unread 01-13-2002, 01:15 PM
here's a suggestion


Like you I have 3 young boys aged 5, 8 and 9. I asked them if they remembered all the times that mommy was sick and layed in bed most of the time. Unfortunetly I would hemmorhage on a monthly basis and swell and feel horrible.

I then explained that the doctor was going to use a special knife and cut out the "boo-boo" that was making mommy so sick. I explained that the doctor would have to cut mommy's tummy open to get to it so they'd have to be very careful.

That seemed to help them understand. Their dad also helped and they were there when I woke up from the hyst. I only wish I had thought ahead to tell them to expect the IV and the oxygen tube in my nose. That really scared my 5 year old.

Seeing that mommy was okay immediately also helped them.

Best of luck with your surgery and with what you decide to tell your children.
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Unread 01-13-2002, 01:30 PM
What to tell your children


About 2 weeks before my surgery, I told my daughter, who is 8, that I was going to have surgery. I did not elaborate on the type of surgery, I only said that there is something inside of mom's tummy that is making her feel bad and the doctor's are going to take it out.

I also let her know that mom may not be able to do alot of the things that she normally does for a little while after surgery. She was too cute, she was so concerned about who was going to cook for her and take her to school. Of course I reassured her that her step-dad would be helping with "mom's duties" for a while and for her not to worry.

I also did not "stress out" about the surgery in front of her, I think kids read into our emotions and sometimes feel scared if you display that your are "upset" or "frightened" about your surgery.

I also did not feel that the hospital was a place for her to be, with all the tubes and me being "out of it" for the first day, I thought it would be more scary than good for her.

Good luck to you!
Unread 01-13-2002, 01:34 PM
What to tell your children

My son was 9 1/2 and my daughter turned 5 the day I came home from the castle. I really believe that what you say and how you handle things depends a lot on your and, mostly, on your children. You know them and know how much -- or how little -- you need to tell them.

In my case, I told my son --- gifted, ADHD --- that I was having surgery. He knew that I hadn't been feeling good for almost 4 years and didn't question beyond that: typical male

In my daughter's case, telling her that I would, once again, have tummy aches was enough. She didn't relish the fact that I would be in the hospital for 4 nights (had complications) but was relieved when I assured her I would still have both my breasts when I came: My MIL, who lives with us, had a mastectomy in 1999.

I think that, at that age, it is most important to stress that recovery will mean that you'll need to rest a lot, that you'll be, most likely, dealing with a sore tummy and that you will not be able to as much for them as you usually do. For instance, because of the rectocele repair, I was 6 months into recovery before I felt secure enough to carry my daughter in my arms or to lift her from the table or wherever else she's climbed on.
Unread 01-13-2002, 01:36 PM
What to tell your children

I have three kids boy 7, girl 5 and girl 2. My 5 year old was the one who was popping the questions about why did I have to have surgery. I told her that the dr. was going to take out an organ in my body that was causing me hurt alot. At first she was ok with that but then when we started talking about other things, (she got a bladder infection) she asked if they were taking my bladder out as she noticed I was always spending time in the bathroom. She's very intelligent and catches on quick. I also didn't want her to go to school and say the wrong things to her classmates. I told her "This might make you sad but you know that before you were born grew inside my belly? She said yes. I told her the uterus (she's heard the word before at a dr's appointment), helped her grow and protected her from the world till she was ready to be born. Anyway "It presses on mommy's bladder to much and mommy is having this taken out. I won't be able to carry anymore babies in there". I never went into any explanations about periods, other troubles, or answering ?'s about how the baby got in there. Always told her that God put it in there and for now at that age that's all she needs to know. She was sad about that as she likes being a big sister but I told her that if she wanted any babies of her own she could have them when she gets married. Of course she is also started telling me that she doesn't want any babies because it would hurt. Since you have a son this won't be his problem I'm thinking to myself I just hope she doesn't have painful periods like I did. She doesn't even know what those are yet. They have been really careful about the way they sit on me because they knew where the tender area of my belly was. I think I'm going to need a little extra help discussing the other questions she brings up.

I have decided to inform my kids better than my mom did who didn't tell me anything about periods till after they happened but I wanted to only go little by little at a time. Ever see the movie The Blue Lagoon or Return to the Blue Lagoon. I remember the second one was alot better. The surgery definitely got me talking and maybe have said a lot more than most parents would have said. Had to add that some girls are starting their periods as early as age 8 and 9.
Unread 01-13-2002, 04:08 PM
What to tell your children

I have 3 children, DS 10, DD#1 8, DD#2 5 and I told them that I was having surgery on my tummy so that I would feel better and be able to do things with them all the time. (They already knew there were problems as I had had 2 failed ablations). They seemed to understand and didn't ask too many questions. There is no sense in scaring them or over informing them.

Unread 01-13-2002, 07:01 PM
What to tell your children

For my 6 yr old I just did as many of you have--made it very light, not much detail. She hasn't asked much. My others are 13, 17 and three older. They all know and don't much care.

Thanks, Danielle, or whoever it was who reminded me that I can't lift her for a long time. I was under the impression that I'd be able to lift her up six weeks after surgery. Now I know better. Maybe six MONTHS.

My mom had tons of surgeries and didn't want me to worry--so she told me EVERYTHING IN DETAIL, thinking it would make it better for me. It did NOT. I was older--11--but it made me a complete cancerphobic.

Thanks for the hints, everyone. It seems I did what most of you did.
Unread 01-14-2002, 12:13 AM
What to tell your children

Thanks for the replies to a sticky situation for me. I did have the talk with DS 5 (years old) and it turned out pretty good. I simply told him that there was things in my body that was not working properly, and I had to have surgery that would correct it & make me feel better, not hurt, not so grumpy, etc. For the most part, he understood, and talked at length about what was going on. (his feelings towards it, what to expect afterwards, etc)
As for the hospital visits, I have already talked to the 9 year old, so he is prepared. (Nothing to graphic, just about the IV's and being groggy) As for the 5 years old (my main concern) DH and I think he is to young to grasp what is going on & it will scare him.
Thanks for the advice!!

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