One time when I was several months along in my first pregnancy, my husband cluelessly parked our car in a spot about five inches from the car next to us. When I stared at him and pointed out that there was no way in hell I'd be able to open the passenger door, much less exit the vehicle, he had the audacity to look confused and ask why I couldn't just "squeeze" my way out.

I remember thinking at the time that I wished he could be enormously pregnant, just for a minute, so he could enjoy the effort of attempting to "squeeze" his Beluga-sized midsection ANYWHERE AT ALL.

Too bad the "Mommy Tummy" from Kosaka Laboratory wasn't invented back then. I could have whipped this thing out, re-parked the car, and invited him to give it a shot.

The Mommy Tummy is a truly bizarre Japanese invention designed to simulate both the joys and difficulties of maternity—the intended result being more understanding, empathetic husbands. It's made up of a specially designed vest for the man to wear, and over a two-minute period, balloons inflate to imitate breast growth, a water bag over the belly fills with water (this is the "fetus"), and air actuators mimic the sensation of kicking.

Mommy Tummy wearers can even monitor their pretend baby's vital signs on a monitor and observe as the fetus eventually flips upside down to prepare for birth. Mercifully, this is where the simulation ends, although I wouldn't be surprised if Mommy Tummy 2.0 comes with an optional vaginal delivery add-on (plastic placenta not included).


Here, take a look at the Mommy Tummy in action:



(Heh. I am particularly fond of the foofy pink apron the guy is wearing.)


This is being presented as a "serious game project" from Kosaka, and debuted at the Tokyo Game Show earlier this month. Honestly, I can't imagine the Mommy Tummy rolling out in U.S. stores any time soon, nor can I figure how donning a water-filled vest for two minutes would encourage any man to feel anything other than desperate worry someone was going to film him wearing that thing and put it on YouTube ... but hey, what do I know. Maybe this will become the latest maternity-store gadget, available for clueless dads-to-be everywhere.


Would your partner wear the Mommy Tummy? Would you want him to?



Image via YouTube