Nowadays, the womb is no place for slackers

Unless your baby looks like this, it could be a slacker... Unless your baby looks like this, it could be a slacker…

Parents used to be satisfied with sonogram images of their child developing in the womb, even though, for all we knew, we were actually watching video footage of a school of mackerel on a depth finder.

“And if you look closely, you can see your baby … right … about … whoops! It’s gone. Something must’ve scared it.”

The doctor would then print copies of these images, which we carried in our wallets to share with family, friends, and anyone unfortunate enough to make brief eye contact. At the end of nine months, the only real expectation any of us had for our child was that they come out headfirst. Laughably, we actually felt it was enough for them to grow from a microscopic egg into a full-fledged human child within nine months.

Those babies, of course, were total slackers.

Thankfully, today’s fetuses are on the fast track to success with the help of new “Prenatal Education” Systems. These products are specifically designed to “maximize” a child’s time in the womb — time which, until now, was frittered away on eating, growing, and using Mom’s bladder for step aerobics. The philosophy behind this new trend is best summed up by the makers of the BabyPlus prenatal educational system, whose official marketing slogan is:

You’re never too young to learn.
In fact, you don’t even have to be born.

As a parent who learned of this opportunity much too late, I say why even TAKE THE RISK of stunting your child’s intellectual capacity by wasting valuable time and waiting until you’re actually pregnant? I suggest you start reading a thesaurus to your ovaries right now. Think of the pride you’ll feel when your child emerges from the womb and, with full command of the English language, announces to everyone:

Slap my behind and I’ll sue you.

The above scenario may be an exaggeration. But it illustrates an important point, which is that our entire judicial system could eventually collapse under the weight of frivolous lawsuits brought on by talking babies.

It’s not that there aren’t obvious benefits to exposing your child to sounds while it’s still in the womb. Like many parents, I too placed headphones on my sleeping wife’s abdomen to see if our baby reacted to Pink Floyd. I feel the exposure broadened his musical appreciation, though it did cause him to cover his ears and inadvertently prolong pregnancy for an extra week.

However, accidentally frightening your unborn child with rock music is one thing. Enrolling them in a 16-week “Prenatal University” program is another.

This program, which was developed by a California-based obstetrician, promises to intellectually enrich fetuses using a special microphone and strict conversational regimen aimed at stimulating the developing brain.

I don’t know how long this program has been available, but, from what I can see, so far it hasn’t had much of an effect on California.

The truth is, why would any parent want to hasten the intellectual gap between themselves and their children— or worse: risk being outsmarted by someone who does their best thinking while chewing on a binkie?

The bottom line is that I’m not sure how smart children really need to be before they come into the world.

Maybe there’s a reason the umbilical cord doesn’t come with an intercom system?


image(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and a member of the writing team at Long Awkward Pause. This has been an excerpt from his book, Humor at the Speed of Life, available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

53 thoughts on “Nowadays, the womb is no place for slackers”

  1. Whew! No pressure there. I recall reading an article some years ago that compared the development of kids in different cultures – some started school at 3 or 4 and others at 7 or 8 and in the end there was no difference in individual development.

    1. I think there’s a lot to be said for the importance of having a childhood and being a kid. In my experience, developing good social and life skills will get you farther ahead than a high IQ, and chances are you’ll be happier while you’re doing it.

  2. Oh my… I see this as a doctor capitalizing on yet another gimmick to make money *sigh* smh. It just goes to show that people will do anything to try and be better than the next guy. I’m sure it would be difficult to do any studies to get any true information of it’s efficacy. :-/

    1. I think it’s sad that babies have to come into the worlds with those kinds of expectations.It’s getting harder and harder to have a childhood anymore. That’s why I’m still in mine and never giving it up…

  3. Oh, you sexist! Sure, ovaries need education, but sperm is fine without it? Although, I admit sperm get something of an education just hanging out so close to the bar stool.

  4. When my wife was pregnant with our first daughter, the doctor told me the baby weighed like 12 ounces. I couldn’t imagine what a human would look like at that size… so I got some ground beef, weighed it out, and made me some meat babies… my wife wouldn’t let me throw a barbecue…

  5. So if this educating the foetus malarkey works, you would think that eating large amounts of strawberries, lots of broccoli and pasta with veg while pregnant would lead to a kid who just laps up such things as if they were manna. Why did I get a Kid who doesn’t believe in such foods??? Personally I blame his Dad who used to pick out the veg of chicken ‘n’ vegetable pies when Little One complained. Sigh, it’s always the Dads…… 😉

  6. It’s funny. At the baby shower my coworkers threw me yesterday, my wife was telling them how things have become so complicated (she can’t lay down on her back or right side, the many schools of thoughts around boosting your child’s brain activity to make them competitive later). Finally, she asked how did our generation of parents become so wimpy? Our parents didn’t do these things and turned out fine. She said the parents who subscribe to these new an methods end up raising kids with various social issues. Thanks for this post, Ned.

    1. Your wife sounds terrific, Alan, and I couldn’t agree more with her summation. You guys are goung to make great parents, my friend. She’ll be a little better, of course, but you’ll still be pretty good 😉

  7. “I suggest you start reading a thesaurus to your ovaries right now.” THAT is hilarious! I’m with you on this! How about the parents who put their not-yet-conceived child on a school waiting list. We really have lost our marbles!

  8. And then there would be parents who actually believes this BS and proceed to enroll. Proving ironically, that their kids probably need a heads-up in life…

No one is watching, I swear...

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