A Fantasy

Several years ago, I requested permission to reprint an essay from La Leche League International’s book Learning a Loving Way of Life. The essay is a birth/breastfeeding parody and I realized I’d never shared it here (please do not reprint without permission!).

A Fantasy

By Melanie Axel-Lute

Time: The not-too-distant future.

Scene: A Doctor’s office.

Doctor: Yes, Judy, the test is positive—you are going to have a baby. Now I’ll just give your instructions for the artificial womb.

Judy: Well, doctor, I have been planning to be pregnant.

Doctor: (surprised) Oh! I do have a few patients who say they’d like to try that. It’s very difficult nowadays, though, so many pressures on the modern woman. Of course, I’m all for it. It is the best thing for the fetus, though the new artificial wombs are very good. Now—have you done any preparatory exercises?

Judy: I didn’t think about that.

Doctor: You’ll find it very hard then, especially at first. I usually have my patients do several months of sit-ups and leg-lifts.

Many women say they’d like to try being pregnant, but they have to give it up in a few weeks. They have morning sickness and are very tired. I always recommend that anyone with nausea switch to the artificial womb.

Being pregnant takes a lot out of a woman. You’ll need your strength for the baby. And you don’t seem very big through the pelvis. You may not be big enough to be pregnant. I’ll have to test your amniotic fluid to see if it’s adequate.

It’s very hard to judge the weight of the fetus when it’s in a human womb, too. Some women worry whether it’s gaining enough weight. I always like to start intrauterine feedings at about two months.

Now, how long had you planned to be pregnant?

Judy: I planned on letting the baby be born naturally.

Doctor: (shocked) Oh, my! That’s really not necessary, you know. Most of my patients go for about three months—that’s the critical period—although a few stick it out for six. More than that is definitely unnecessary.

Have you thought about what people will say? Most people don’t mind seeing a woman pregnant with a tiny fetus, but when it gets to be more than six months—well! It’s just very unusual.

Besides, have you thought about how tied down you’ll be? You’ll have to take that fetus everywhere. Women really need to get out alone once in a while, you know. I feel that most women who prolong pregnancy like that do so for very selfish reasons.

Judy: I want to go ahead with it anyway.

Doctor: (patronizing) Well, I guess I just have to let you try it for a while and see how it goes…

This essay was reprinted with permission from the book Learning a Loving Way of Life, published by La Leche League in 1987. The essay reprinted was originally written in 1978. LLLI is the world’s foremost authority on breastfeeding. For a wealth of breastfeeding information, support, resources, or to purchase a copy of the book referenced, visit: www.llli.org.

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