Here is something some people don’t really know about me: I’m kind of a sci-fi geek. Now I’m not going to claim to be the Grand High Poobah of the genre, but I’m not someone who claims to love sci-fi by saying, “Oh! I love Star Track! Captain Kurt and Dark Vader are totally cool! I’ve always wanted a lightsaver!” Let’s put it this way: Between the ages of 11 and 14, all of my birthday gifts were Star Wars-themed. Also, Wall-E is my personal hero and life coach.
The beauty of science fiction is that when you get down to the bones of most works, they’re never really about space, or aliens, or dinosaurs reconstructed from fossilized mosquitoes and frog DNA. The fact that these stories take place in a dystopia is usually beside the point. That’s the window dressing; the fanciful devices that lure us in and trick us into thinking about our world and nature in a more nuanced way. Science-fiction is a reflection of our fears, hopes, shortcomings, or vanity. So by the transitive property (if a=b and b= c then a=c, which is literally one of two things I remember from math class), it stands to reason that real life will often remind us of science fiction. Never have I found this to be truer than when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. Here’s why.
There are a lot of changes that take place over the course of your tiny invader’s stay in your uterus, and yet somehow, at times it seems like each development is creepier than the last. So it’s not even like your baby looks like one type of alien forever. Instead, your embryo, and later your fetus, will run the gamut from insect-looking aliens, to lizard-looking aliens, to Admiral Ackbar-looking aliens (aka, Mon Calamari), to the creepy big headed gray aliens that were, like, everywhere in ‘90s iconography (why were we all so into those aliens back then?), and a million other little nightmare creatures in between, until they emerge as the adorable squishy nightmare creature you love.
On the one hand, it’s a miracle of nature that humans can go from two cells to billions and start out basically looking like any other animal embryo (for real) to a person. On the other hand, it’s unsettling to think of your insides as the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in Star Wars.
I dare you to tell me that fetuses do not, at one point, look like these dudes.
It’s like, “Here, let me put this gel on your belly and then run my magic wand over it… aaaaaaaaaand now we know exactly what your baby will look like because we have this 4D ultrasound machine!” Or, “Oh, do you want to know if your baby will have a horrible disease? Let’s take out some of its DNA while it’s still inside of you and sequence its genes… because we can do that!” How effing crazy is that? And it’s insane to think about how new this technology is. I had a boss once who didn’t know she was having twins until she woke up from twilight sleep and the doctor was like, “Congratulations, it’s a girl… and a boy!” If you receive even a modicum of prenatal care these days, I feel like that could never happen. There are those that argue that all the bells and whistles of modern obstetrics aren’t really necessary and, largely speaking, no, some of them probably are not. But they’re incredibly useful tools (life-saving in many cases) and in and of themselves just so damn cool.
Ever. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. You may eventually not be freaked out by it. You may dig it. But it’s never not going to be weird as hell.
In a good way, I promise! Kinda! OK, it’s pretty gross but still, it gets you a baby! Look, on top of being an absolutely fabulous movie, Alien is, in many ways, an extended pregnancy metaphor, so it’s no surprise that they captured a certain je ne sais quois of the whole delivery aspect of things. While you will (hopefully) not give birth to a carnivorous alien that runs around terrifying you in enclosed spaces (that comes later, probably around 2 years old… I kid, I kid. Somewhat.) you will find a bloody, angry looking little creature emerging from some orifice (either naturally occurring or surgically created). I don’t care how prepared for birth you are or how many times you’ve done it: Whenever it happens, it will fill you with awe and a degree of bewilderment.
Just think about it for a second: This living creature grows inside of us, busts its way out, continues to grow, and immediately starts learning our ways. Eventually, they take over our homes and then, together, the world. Babies in and of themselves are the ultimate space invaders.
Images: Twentieth Century Fox; Giphy(6)