The Miracle of Birth: Guppies and Purple Finches

Recently one of the female guppies in our fish tank gave birth to a school of fry (baby fish). Guppies are one of the few species of fish that give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. She started delivering during lunch (our fish tank is next to our dining room table), so we noticed right away. My children were able to watch the miracle of birth. I must admit that I was fascinated myself at how a fry can be born curled up and start swimming before it even completely unfolds after birth (a few seconds). 

A few days after our fish gave birth, I noticed a purple finch building a nest in a hanging flower basket on our front porch. I took the basket down once a day to show my children the progress-an empty nest on day 1, a nest with 1 egg on day 2, a nest with 2 eggs on day 3, and so on. When the hatchlings (newly hatched baby birds) started to hatch, I was amazed to see the changes in them daily!

My kids learned a lot about life in the real world. More than they could ever learn from a book. I was amazed at how much I learned from watching these two miracles of birth this spring. What a blessing from God for us to be able to witness both of these miracles of birth so close together!

We live in town, so we are not allowed to own many animals. One of the reasons that we have guppies, is for this very reason-so that our children get to witness the miracle of life in the real world. There is nothing that compares to witnessing this first hand. If your children haven’t seen the miracle of birth in some form in real life, I encourage you to find a way to give them this opportunity. Here are a few ideas of how to facilitate this:

  1. Get a pet that is capable of giving birth. This could be a cow or a dog or a mouse or a guppy fish. Taking care of an animal is also a great way for a child to learn responsibility.
  2. Build a habitat for an animal in your yard. It could be a bird house, or an area for a rabbit to make a nest. This could be a research project as well to determine what a particular animal likes to encourage it to build its nest where you want it too. 
  3. Cooperate with a friend that has animals. See if they will notify you when their animal is about to give birth. Even if it’s in the middle of the night, it could teach your children that birth is not something that we can control and sometimes isn’t convenient.
  4. If it doesn't conflict with your values, have your kids present when you give birth (if you’re still having kids). This is something I have not done as I have three boys and my daughter is just too young.

For those of you that have witnessed the miracle of birth with your children, how were you able to give them the opportunity? What is one thing they learned from it?


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