Explaining Pelvic Surgery to My 3-Year-Old Son

This Friday, I go in for pelvic surgery. It is for, per a previous diagnosis, endometriosis and an ovarian cyst. I wanted to explain it to my son, and this is how I did it.

We’ve been doing some matching games with other human anatomy parts.  To do this, I print out two pictures of a particular body part. One picture is kept in tact and the other is cut up into parts. Then we match the cut up parts to the in-tact picture.


I started doing this based on reading The Montessori Method. Montessori writes about how matching games are sometimes used to draw a child’s attention to an aspect of reality before explaining it. It gets them interested in the topic and humans tend to learn better by doing and touching something than by being recipients of a lecture.

When I did the matching game with the eye, my son would look right at my eyes to see where the sclera (the white part is) and the iris and pupil. We then matched the cut up parts to the other picture. I then could start the three stages of learning, where I say, “This is this” (Stage One) “Can you get me [X]” (Stage 2) “Can you name what this is?” (Stage 3). I was dissatisfied with most products on the market, which is why I made this game. I have been focusing on parts of anatomy that are visible. I then keep them in 8.5 X 11″ photo sheets like this:


To explain my pelvic surgery, I printed out the female reproductive system. I again did the matching game at first.


I then used a light up table. I put the in-tact picture of the reproductive system down and then tracing paper on top of that. I draw on the tracing paper endometriosis and an ovarian cyst. I then explained how the doctor is going to remove these undesirable things and I erase my drawings from the tracing paper. He loved this. He asked me to do it over and over again.


He then asked me to draw the lesson on our white board easel. I always do what I can to give lessons in a way that he is asking. So, I drew the female reproductive system again. I then explained that little eggs are in ovaries. One thing led to another and I found myself explaining sexual intercourse and childbirth to my 3 year-old-son!


It is recommended in Positive Discipline books to give factual information about sex to children at very young ages, even younger than 5. The main reason is because otherwise, in absence of information, malicious and devastating gossip among children can spread.

This lesson on childbirth was even more exciting than erasing ovarian cysts. He loved to hear about how he was at one time attached to mommy by his belly button. He liked the picture of a baby coming out of a mommy. I was asked to erase and redraw and retell this story over and over again.

Finally we ended with the matching game. I matched all of the parts to the original picture then asked him to give me the Fallopian tube, the ovaries, the uterus, and the vagina. He did all of them successfully and successfully pronounced all of the correctly.



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