Once Upon A Time… Life, or How My Body Works as I knew it growing up, is a 80s-90s drawn and animated cartoon series for children consisting of 26 episodes all about how life begins.
All the way from earth’s creation, to the dinosaurs, and eventually us it starts to explain our biology.
Originally produced in France as Il était une fois… la vie (and part of a wider series) it focuses on educating young children about biological history, evolution and our human biology in a simple, friendly cartoon form.
It discusses emotionally complex subjects such as birth and death, considers historical medical ideas, the importance of vaccination, how people can get ill and recover, how we get hurt and our bodies heal and more.
Crucially, for my blog and my own writing, this series is very good at explaining simply but informatively, exactly how new life begins.
From fertilisation of the egg via sperm, the duplication and creation of all parts of a foetus, the possibility of random or genetic defects, all the way to the birth of a child.
If you need something to watch to re-educate yourself on the complexity of human reproduction, watch this. Equally, if you have children who are asking questions and want answers to where they came from, show them this.
Happily, this particular episode focusing on the reproductive process is on YouTube now!
I don’t know how long this will be available to see and view, but if you can’t, the series is also available in it’s entirety on Netflix UK.
It may be silly and way too simple in it’s script and depiction, but it gives you an idea of just how hard conception can be.
It does show us the sperm, anthropomorphising them to help children understand, battling their way through the cervix, getting stuck, caught, killed and exhausted trying to reach the egg.
Which, by the way, has it’s own way of protecting itself from them too! And might not even be there when they arrive, as menstrual cycles fluctuate often.
It is no wonder then, that conception is harder than I ever thought it could be.
Whoever decided to warn so loudly against accidental pregnancy in schools here in the UK really over-emphasised a lot the danger. Yes, it’s easy to make a mistake and there is a chance of pregnancy in all cases, but the risk is far less than I ever knew.
At least, that’s how it feels now, at 26.
What do you think?