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Mar 15 2006

And Baby Makes Coup

About 486 people have emailed me about a newsbyte making the rounds, the one alluding to the hypothesis of a Harvard biologist suggesting that mammalian gestation is a mortal combat between fetus and host over nutritive resources. It goes a little something like this:

Fetus wants food, and aggressively seeks to suck out as much as it can. Host requires same resources for own survival, and for that of previously hatched offspring, and so mounts her own chemical offensive to thwart the aggressive fetus. When the chemical balance goes haywire—and why shouldn’t it?—complications such as pre-eclampsia occur. This adversarial relationship between host and fetus, postulates the aforementioned Harvard biologist, may account for the half a million women a year who are essentially killed by their adorable infants in utero. There’s more to it, of course (read the article), but, having slept through all my bio classes in college, my eyes glaze over when the conversation turns to the functions of specific proteins and the shutting down of genes and what not.

None of which makes me reluctant in the slightest to impose a Twistification on what is clearly evidence of cosmic indifference to the female predicament. I have long taken a dim view of the evolutionary process that created the sick joke that is vertebrate reproduction. Female mammals, I aver, are essentially prisoners of their species’ disdain. And now, here’s potential proof of what I’ve maintained all along, that fetuses are amoral little self-absorbed shitpods who think nothing of sucking their mothers dry to improve their own chances, and that interested parties, such as human women, should take immediate steps to ensure that the dehumanizing and dangerous burden of pregnancy be removed from their purview with all possible speed.

[via Broadsheet]

18 comments

1 ping

  1. Pony

    You know, you almost make me wonder if chemo isn’t the poor women’s muse.

    Dang you’re good.

  2. hedonistic

    No wonder my pregnancy felt like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I felt cheated; I kept on asking, “when am I gonna glow?” I never glowed. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

    All things considered, the Universe is a pretty hostile place. Life feeds on death; I could bore everyone to death with plant and animal analogies; however, given the present Bonobo moratorium, I’m just not gonna go there.

    Suffice it to say I’m not surprised that when my beautiful daughter was just a tiny spawn, she was probably trying to kill me. She almost succeeded!

  3. MzNicky

    “fetuses are amoral little self-absorbed shitpods who think nothing of sucking their mothers dry to improve their own chances.”

    Twisty — thanks for the first out-loud laugh I’ve had in days.

  4. Sophist

    But don’t you women get it? Being in a state of civil war with what is for all intents and purposes a rouge internal organ is supposed to be the most profound spiritual experience of your lives. You’re supposed to be enjoying this stuff.

  5. antelope

    As long as we’re rearranging the species – let’s put a 2nd clit inside the vagina. Kangaroos have two clits & I think women should, too. At least.

  6. Hattie

    My older daughter sent me the link to this article. I’m all for this kinda propaganda. Let’s have fewer kids.
    However, I must point out I that these days we hear all about the perils and horrors of motherhood. The pleasures of motherhood are personal and private, and I just don’t talk about them. All I’ll say is that I’m very happy for the privilege of bringing up my two daughters, who are wonderful women.
    As is so often pointed out here, women in the patriarchy are set against each other. I have tried not to fall into that pattern with my daughters, though it hasn’t been easy.

  7. Nymphalidae

    Fetuses really are the ultimate parasite. They really do some nasty and dangerous things to one’s body. Godbags are famous for ignoring biology and hating on scientists. Humans, like many mammals, must balance the number of offspring with the ability to provide resources for the offspring. Having a crapton of babies makes a lot of sense if you’re a locust and you just shit out 500 eggs and die, but not if you’re a bot fly and you have to carefully larvaposit on a moquito.

  8. Sophist

    …a rouge internal…

    Oh, for the love of…

    Is there no end to my crimes against spelling?

  9. MzNicky

    Twisty: As I mentioned previously, I fell asleep during this idiotic show, and I don’t even have a lime-green recliner to blame. I have no desire to watch this shitbag thing again and have nothing to say about this episode itself, since I dozed.

    But given all the recent godbaggery and misogyny and state legislatures’ rushing to ensure forced childbirth and so on, I guess I’ve had about two thousand percent or so more patriarchal horseshit than I can stand this week. I mean, what is the point of this allegedly “edgy” series? Is polygyny legal in this exponentially ridiculous country or is it not? If it is, then why is it, and how the fuck does that fit into the bullshit neocon gay-and-lesbian-excluding proclamation of marriage as “between A man and A woman”? If it’s not, then what possible putative excuse is there for this series, other than a pathetic attempt to mine the cultural landscape for something—yea, anything!—that has yet to be explored in a desperately starving, testosterone-driven thrashing-about for more, more, more titillation with which the patriarchy can cram its voracious craw? Or have I in my inchoate ranting just answered my own unelucidated question? I think so, and blame appropriately.

  10. MzNicky

    Well shit, I posted on the wrong thread. Sorry.

  11. Nyx

    When you read the truth , you just know it. That guy just explained my entire family history.
    Does anyone else think this discovery deserves the Nobel?

  12. kactus

    I always said that pregnancy was the ultimate STD. And when they’re born babies are just sucky little tumors that hang off your arm, your tit, your leg, whatever they can attach themselves to.

    At about three years of development they let go, finally, but they’re still demanding little fuckers.

    And this is coming from somebody who loves kids! Imagine if I was one of those heartless, selfish women without children.

  13. Sylvanite

    I’ve also read that there’s gender warfare on the genetic level in procreation. The woman needs to suppress the size of the fetus, so that it doesn’t kill her, so her genes limit the size and invasiveness of the placenta, but the male wants the largest fetus possible, so provides genes that make the placenta grow larger. Too much female influence, and one gets a non-viable fetus, due to inability to get nutrition through a too-small placenta, too much male influence, and instead of a baby, one gets a horribly invasive cancer. The placenta just goes nuts and tries to kill you. Wacky!

  14. Grace

    No, no, LIFE is the ultimate STD – sexually transmitted, passed down to the offspring, and universally fatal.

  15. Julia

    that fetuses are amoral little self-absorbed shitpods who think nothing of sucking their mothers dry to improve their own chances

    And they behave the same way when they are teenagers.

  16. finnsmotel

    But, babies rule!

    http://www.punkymoms.com/

  17. CGG

    You had me from the word shitpod.

  18. ozma

    I second that. We need to get out and march or something.

  1. Pharyngula

    Warring sexes

    Both Twisty and Amanda seem a bit weirded out by this news that the fetus can be viewed as a kind of parasite. This story has been around long enough that a lot of us just take it for granted—I…

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