How do you explain a colostomy to a toddler? Turns out we didn’t have to.
Our baby has Hirschsprung Disease and needed an emergency colostomy at just four-days-old. When we (finally) brought him home, he had a still-healing belly button and about two inches just to the left was his little red-button stoma with a little colostomy bag attached.
We didn’t specifically mention the colostomy to our toddler. We didn’t want to scare him or make it seem like a big deal. Plus he was going through enough change with having Mom and Dad at the hospital all the time, and then suddenly we were home again – with a new little brother.
So during one of what would be many, many bag changes, our older son declares in complete fascination, “He has two belly buttons! My baby brother has two belly buttons!”
“Um, yes, I guess he does,” I stammered.
“What’s in the bag?”
“Really?” he questions.
“Wow!” still fascinated. Then just to make sure, he asks, “He poops out of his belly button? And then into a bag?”
“Well, yeah,” I say, pointing to the stoma. “But just out of that one.”
“I want to poop out of my belly button!”
So much for the stigma of having a colostomy, I guess. And even though the baby doesn’t have his colostomy anymore, our toddler is still fascinated that his brother used to be able poop out of his “extra belly button.” And, naturally, likes to tell other people all about it. Especially strangers. Usually at odd or inopportune times. “Hey, did you know my brother used to poop out of his belly button!”
7 months ago