I have, as I suspect many of you have, accumulated a plethora of pre-pregnancy paraphernalia. And earlier, whilst idly sifting through these goodies, I started to look at the packaging design and ponder upon what it all means.
(It would be fair, at this juncture, to ask if I have a little too much time on my hands - there was a smattering of snow in town today so I got to leave work at 4.30pm, so maybe.)
This is what I have observed:
With ovulation tests there is definitely a strong correlation between the cost of the test and the perceived desire for a child.
This internet cheapy is clearly designed more for medical establishments rather than hopeful humpers. It's design is clinical, efficient, no messing (except when you try and wee on one of these tiny strips of cardboard - I defy anyone to have that kind of urination accuracy). There isn't a lot here for the likes of us, so we move on.
The price of these tests leaps to the cost of two family sized meal buckets from KFC - if you buy this you are clearly throwing money at the problem. And why not? It promises you'll "GET PREGNANT SOONER."
The manufacturers recognise anyone purchasing this will be quite keen on the idea of procreating so, just in case there is any doubt about what this is all about, you have the little baby's booties. Essentially saying "buy this and shortly you'll have teeny, tiny feet to clad". And as an extra sweetner, "FREE INSIDE: EARLY RESULT HOME USE PREGNANCY TEST". Well, Yeah, I've come a cropper on that one before.
And that brings us to...
Now we are talking.
If you are going to shell out a quarter of £100 for tests, they have to be modern, accurate and foolproof. No deciphering which line is the darker for this test. It's even got its own telly screen giving you a smiling face when you are ovulating:
And by gum, they know you are teetering on the edge of desperation when purchasing this test.
Just in case you missed it, see what they have only gone and done. They haven't just put a baby on the packet, they have put a baby (of indeterminate sex so you can project your heart's own desire upon it) reaching out, straining to hold you.
Come to Mummy.
You know, just in case you weren't keen enough.
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Next there are the pre-conception vitamins.
Again they can really go to town on this. No one would bother to take these unless they were serious about the whole baby making business.
If you don't know what a mother-to-be looks like they have helpfully put one on the packet. Gazing lovingly at her bump. Saying: this could be you, calm and serene during your pregnancy because YOU know YOU have given your offspring the best possible start in life with this folic acid and omega 3.
Is it just me or does anyone else have the urge to pull her T-shirt over her belly? That looks drafty.
Pregnacare on the other hand have a whole host of vitamins for every stage of your pregnancy, so unlike the aforementioned they don't want to lull you (or your wallet) into a false sense of security that one pill will take you through from conception to birth. So this is clear:
It is saying "If you are a lady and gentleman who love one another very much, and do a special grown-up cuddle, take this pill full of all kinds of things you have never heard of - let alone thought important (inositol, anyone?) - then Mr Sperm will meet Mrs Egg and you will achieve a healthy conception."
And I particularly like the the packaging on this 'for him' box of zinc tablets. "Look Gents, if you just swallow one of these a day your beloved will stop being such a cold, miserable, cow and actually hold your hand once in a while, and we all know what hand holding leads to ...."
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All this, and I haven't even started on perhaps the most interest of all, the pregnancy test.
This is when our favourite brands have a difficult tightrope to tread. For one person a double line, or word 'pregnant' will signify untold joy, for others, a hangover far more lasting than the Bacardi breezers ever gave.
The packaging has to suit both audiences.
Unfortunately I'm all out of tests so that discourse will have to wait for another day.
(But don't let that put you off coming back).