I have a new theory on how childbirth should pan out: let’s copy the marsupials. For those who aren’t 100% au fait with kangaroo and opossum obstetrics, they squeeze out tiny little pink beanie babies (around 2 cm long), which then crawl up the mother’s body like over-sized maggots and into the pouch. The joey then hangs out in said pouch for several months until it is ready to spend time outside its furry hideaway.
There are number of concerns I have with pregnancy – the stretch marks, the nausea, the varicose veins, the constipation – but none offends me as much as the belly button. The belly button, burdened with the pressure of a burgeoning baby forcing the abdomen outwards, gets claustrophobic and tries to make a run for freedom. The result is an inverted monstrosity the size of a badger’s nose. The base of the navel – that inner sanctum usually so reclusive and delicate – is forced into the public eye, reluctant and engorged. That place is so personal that it should never see the light of day. Nor should it be touched with so much as a tentative finger, let alone be distended in such a grotesque fashion for all items of clothing to rub against so rapaciously.
Even if I could come to terms with Navelgate, there’s the childbirth. We all know about the pissing-a-golf-ball analogy, but there are some trade secrets that new mums do not share with the uninitiated. Like Mother Nature’s Magic Circle they all keep schtum about some of the worst aspects of labour: lanugo, meconium and the dreaded mucous plug. If you don’t know what they are, look them up (warning: cannot unsee). I defy you to tell me that your biology teacher wasn’t in on it.
Thankfully my Theory on Marsupial Birth* aims to address these little problems.
Instead of lugging the little being around for the whole nine months, let’s get it out of la-la land when it’s small, say 3-4 months old. Once it’s out – hopefully without too much of the ripping and trauma – let’s pop it straight into our version of the kangaroo pouch. I propose a hermetically-sealed bag acting as the uterus filled with amniotic fluid, complete with some kind of artificial placenta (with this sort of detail I can’t imagine why it hasn’t already been invented. Hello? I said “some kind of artificial placenta”… How hard can it be?).
Anyway, once you have your bagged baby, you can wear it on your front to allow for mother-baby bonding. Unlike conventional pregnancy, dads can get in on the action as well and share the burden throughout the day. Come night-time, the baby-bag could be removed (to save those aching shoulders), hung up and plugged into a filtration system that would clean the amniotic fluid, top up oxygen and nutrient supplies. This would leave the expectant parents free to sleep unencumbered.
Nine months later, instead of huffing and puffing and sweating and tearing, you could simply gather together a collection of friends and family, crack open the Champagne (which you could also continue to drink unhindered throughout pregnancy) and open up the artificial uterus to reveal your little joey. With any luck, this could all be done without the need for the three vaginas and two wombs that each female marsupial requires to reproduce.
*This is not 100% medically sound
This article first appeared on MyDaily.co.uk