I tried to put this in the askbox but there wasn’t enough space…I’d like to add my two cents regarding thoughts on Amy’s mystical pregnancy…Out of frustration I told my mother about it. Not only was she blatantly alarmed, but she reminded me of something: maternity leave. What if Amy wasn’t in a stasis chamber and she was physically and mentally in the T.A.R.D.I.S. or anywhere else she traveled throughout her pregnancy? Obviously that would be dangerous for her and the baby, but hopefully the Doctor would have realized this and took her home as soon as possible, and Rory would have probably stayed with her because he loves her that much. That would have meant poor old Doctor would have been by himself or found someone else if he was still going to travel…I can’t help but wonder why this didn’t happen. Judging Moffat, it probably would have been “boring” or something like that. In conclusion, maybe one of the reasons Moffat went with the stasis chamber idea was so he could keep the companions in the adventure without having people criticize him and say “That’s too dangerous”.
So, Moffat was willing to accept criticism for using the tired mystical pregnancy trope, for having Amy kidnapped and her baby taken from her, and for making Amy infertile through some unknown medical procedure, but not for potentially putting a pregnant Amy in “unsafe” situations?
I just don’t buy it. I think Moffat did what he did because threatening a man’s female friend/wife is a commonly accepted way to raise the stakes and increase drama and tension in a show. I think he did what he did because the mystical pregnancy trope is popular in science fiction. And I think he did what he did because he wanted to introduce River Song in a dramatic way, then get her childhood and adolescence out of the way offscreen so she could return as a mature, sexual adult and flirt with the Doctor.
But I also want to question the premise of your argument: that a pregnant Amy couldn’t be on the show because she’d have to be sidelined for her own safety and the safety of her pregnancy, and that as a result the narrative would become boring. This is exactly why I think we need more narratives showing pregnancy as a normal experience as opposed to the dangerous, disgusting, traumatic experience that most Mystical Pregnancy tropes make it seem. It’s also why we need more narratives that respect pregnant individuals’ autonomy and agency.
Imagine a series 6 where Amy suspects she’s pregnant and, with her knowledge and consent, the Doctor runs a pregnancy test. The Doctor would probably go all mother-hen and want to bring her home, but Amy knows a pregnancy is nothing to be afraid of and that it’ll be quite a while before she’ll want to take a break from having adventures. (The Doctor’s still nervous but Rory, who is actually a medical professional, assures him that as long as Amy doesn’t develop any complications, she’ll probably outrun them for several more months.)
Imagine spending the rest of the series with Amy and her boys having adventures as normal, except Rory and Amy keep picking up baby things and preparing a room in the TARDIS and the Doctor is occasionally sent on an errand to pick up that weird fruit from that market on Barcelona (the planet, not the city) that Amy is constantly craving.
Imagine, after one adventure too many, Amy pulls the Doctor aside and tells him that she’s getting a bit too big to keep running around, and the Doctor respects her decision and decides they’ll just float around time and space for a bit in the TARDIS.
This is probably where you think the narrative will get boring, but with the right writer, it could be anything but.
Imagine the Doctor taking Amy’s concerns about potential radiation from the TARDIS seriously. He’ll take her to an alien hospital to see a doctor who survived the Time War and is familiar with Time Lord biology and knows the effect of traveling through the Time Vortex, and together they’ll discover that Amy’s baby is part Time Lord. That doctor could turn out to be a villain and try to kidnap Amy and her baby, but Amy will say “Fuck your mystical pregnancy bullshit” and save herself.
Imagine an episode where we explore what it means to the Doctor to find out that there will be one more Time Lord. The TARDIS will go all mother-hen on them and refuse to land, keeping them trapped in space where she can ensure nothing ever hurts them. Trapped together for awhile, the Doctor begins telling Amy and Rory about Time Lord history and culture, and asks to teach this all to baby Melody to ensure that the memory of Gallifrey and the Time Lords doesn’t die with him. And because every episode needs a monster of the week, maybe they accidentally stumble upon a Time Lord artifact (maybe something owned by the Master?) that tries to take over the TARDIS, and Amy and Rory have to use their newfound knowledge to save the day.
Imagine an episode where Amy gives birth in a place she’s comfortable, surrounded by people who love and care for her. She’s at a hospital near her home with her family (WHO WE COULD FINALLY PROPERLY MEET), but of course an alien threatens the hospital, because when is their life ever normal? The Doctor and Rory try to handle it on their own, but Amy won’t be sidelined, and even though she’s in labor it’s her quick thinking that saves the hospital. She gives birth to Melody Pond-Williams, and the whole audience gets to drown in a puddle of feels.
And then who knows how Series 7 goes. Maybe Rory and Amy get Rory’s dad to babysit Melody so they can go on occasional adventures with the Doctor. Maybe we get an episode where the Doctor is babysitting and takes baby Melody to meet Stormageddon, and he and Craig and the babies get to go on adventures. Maybe we begin to get glimpses of adult-Melody, who took on the name River Song to hide her identity from the Doctor as she went traveling through time and space on her own. Who knows, but it could still be exciting, adventurous, and engaging.
You can have pregnant individuals in action and adventure narratives. You can threaten a pregnant individual while respecting their agency and autonomy and refusing to damsel them. You can have a story about pregnancy that is dramatic and full of tension without making pregnancy itself seem like a horrible experience.
What really amuses me here is the OP playing devil’s advocate with the argument that Moffat had to deal with Amy’s pregnancy somehow, and would have got slack from the audience however he handled it. The thing is though, he didn’t. Karen Gillan was not pregnant, River Song was not established as Amy’s daughter until very late in the game (seriously, it’s blatantly obvious that was not preplanned) … there was no earthly reason to feature a pregnancy storyline at all. Amy and Rory were newly-weds, yes, but that doesn’t mean the narrative has to jump straight to domesticity and babies. Plenty of married couples don’t have children, and don’t ever intend to. Plenty can’t. If the idea of depicting pregnancy in the TARDIS was so distasteful, Moffat could simply not have written it.
Come to think of it, that would have been a perfectly convenient way to introduce the “Amy’s infertility” plotline we were given in Asylum of the Daleks, and provide it with a more respectful treatment. If Moff wanted Amy-as-a-mother without depicting pregnancy, if he wanted River-as-Amy’s-daughter, just write it differently to avoid the ick, and everybody wins! Like so:
River is an abandoned child Rory and Amy find on their travels with the Doctor and decide to adopt. When the trio land on House, the parasitic being who devoured TARDISes in The Doctor’s Wife, they discover an orphaned child Aunt and Uncle are growing for parts. Naturally horrified, they take her with them when they leave, but find themselves unwilling to give her up. She’s not from Earth, or anywhere they know of, and Amy can’t stand the thought of any child feeling as out-of-place and abandoned as she did in her original Leadworth childhood. Rory and Amy can’t have children biologically and have been exploring their options anyway. It feels like the universe put them in Melody’s path, the same way it put the Doctor in Amy’s garden all those years ago. It feels right. So the Ponds adopt baby Melody. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that she is not entirely human. She has Time Lord DNA, which the Doctor concludes must be because her birth mother was trapped among the decaying, destroyed TARDISes on House when Melody was in the womb. He is unsure what the effects will be but vows to be there for her if there’s ever anything he can do to help. Melody grows up loved and wanted, but when she is eighteen and the Doctor is on one of his frequent visits to the family, something goes wrong. The Ponds are cornered by the episode’s Big Bad (GI, Daleks, etc) and killed … only Melody, to her shock, doesn’t die. Instead she experiences regeneration for the first time, alone and afraid, having just lost her parents. She is overwhelmed by grief and unsure who this new “her” is, so she commandeers a Vortex Manipulator and tries to find out, under a new name: River Song. We get to know at least one regeneration in depth before we get to the Alex Kingston version.The Doctor’s relationship with River, meanwhile, is sporadic. Neither of them will stay still long enough to address their grief (adding poignancy to the catchphrase “You watch us run”) but each is drawn inexorably to the other. In some regenerations that attraction is sexual. In some it isn’t. Hey, people are complicated, and regeneration is too. We use this to explore the whole issue of regeneration, and the history of the Time Lords. If the Time Lords return (if they must) then perhaps the next conflict comes from their attitude to Melody / River, who is not a “pure” Time Lord. Perhaps the Council offer the Doctor the chance to chance to return and be exalted as the hero who stopped the Time War - and perhaps he realizes they haven’t really changed, and decides he’d rather flip a giant two fingers to the establishment and become a renegade again, if that’s what it takes. He’ll defend River, and anyone like her - because he’s the Doctor. And that’s what the Doctor will always, always do.
That’s just one interpretation. One possible alternative. My point is that it’s easy to incorporate many of the themes people like from Moffat’s era into a less offensive version of the story. The River Song scenario above has a lot of meat on its bones, thematically speaking. There’s a hell of a lot of traditional Who themes ripe for exploration there.
What family really is and how important it can be. The difference one small act of compassion can make to so many lives. Grief and loss. Regeneration and change. The corruption of ancient power structures. The importance of doing the right thing, and the ramifications of that - and often, the fun of it too.
It’s silly to pretend that because Amy was a married woman, pregnancy was an inevitable plot progression. It wasn’t, and it all boils down to this: if Moffat couldn’t handle the issue respectfully, he didn’t need to write it at all. He could do what I just did in ten minutes, and get paid for it. That’s his job.