As I was leaving the hospital with my newborn baby in my arms, a man with a clipboard tackled me to the ground. Luckily I was able to twist my body and land on my back, avoiding a very basic baby crushing.

"You've forgotten to take out baby insurance!" the man cried as my husband helped me get to my feet. "Imagine if your baby had been crushed right then."

"But why do I need insurance?" I asked. "We've got the goddamn NHS." I saluted a passing nurse. I've always been very proud of our free healthcare.

"Sure, that'll cover you for accidental damage, but what about loss or theft?"

He explained that with the platinum service I could have a new baby on my doorstep within 24 hours. I read through the leaflet that he aggresively forced into my hand and it did seem like a very good deal. Although I couldn't help but wonder how they could get their hands on a new baby at such short notice. I've always considered myself a bit of an amateur scientist and whenever I've tried to create babies from scratch using spare sperm and coffee jars they've usually taken over a fortnight to grow.

"We just take one from the refund ward." I didn't know what that was. He explained that quite often after seeing their baby for the first time the mothers would send them back.

"Obviously you've just seen a newborn baby. They're disgusting, right? All covered in guts and stuff. Imagine ordering a meal at a nice restaurant and they sent you that? You wouldn't eat it, would you?" A lot of what he just said didn't make sense, but I could understand some people not wanting to keep their babies, because they really are quite ugly at the start.

"So what happens to the babies who get sent back?" I asked.

"They grow up in the refund ward, waiting for someone to lose their baby, but sadly that very rarely happens these days. Most of them spend their whole lives here and eventually become doctors, because it's easier and cheaper to learn as you go. About half the doctors we've got here have never set foot outside. We tell them that there's dragons out there. It's a good setup."

I was getting bored of the conversation now and I wanted to get home, so I quickly took out contents cover, in case someone stole my baby's kidneys.

In the car on the way home I couldn't help wonder if the insurance man was a refund baby who wasn't bright enough to become a doctor. For a moment there when he said the word dragon I could have sworn I saw a look of terror in his eyes.

Alison, Cambridge.


  1. Can't believe you don't get more comments, this blog is awesome. I check in regularly, please keep it up! :)

  2. Heck yes. I always thought there was something sinister going on in baby wards ;)