Saturday morning, I had two friends text me the exciting news: “April’s having her baby!” and “It’s happening!” You might think April is a friend of mine or at least an acquaintance. No, April is a giraffe, and because this is 2017, pregnant giraffes in New York on live stream cameras can achieve worldwide fame as humans across the globe wait while they gestate.
I will admit, I found little interest in watching this pregnant giraffe pace in circles for weeks and when I found out a few days ago she was STILL pregnant, I thought “hasn’t it been too long?!” (I’m sure April felt that way too!) However, my interest was piqued by those texts and I immediately tuned in with my 7 year old daughter as we saw the feet emerging from the giraffe’s body.
We couldn’t look away.
Is that’s the head? Is it supposed to come out that way? Oh yeah the neck is gonna be loooong!
As we watched the numbers grow on the live stream quickly from 18,000 to 25,000 we knew we were chanting with so many others across the globe in unison “PUSH!!” We watched the encouraging comments pour in on the live feed. America was all rooting for this long necked mammalian mama! After a very polarizing election and lots of political drama in our nation, I felt we were coming together and bonding with the help of a giraffe in labor!
Then it was almost time for my work out class at the gym, but luckily my friend was riding shotgun with me and planned to keep streaming during class. She gave me the play by play, and as we pulled in to the gym the baby giraffe splashed to the ground and we cheered. Two mamas in a car rejoicing for another mama far away. We kept the feed on as we pumped iron to watch as the calf learned to sit up and eventually stand up on those wobbly legs.
I learned a few things from this strange internet phenomenon this weekend.
1. People Are Rooting for Mamas
Over one million people watched that birth and they were typing such encouraging things during that whole labor…like the giraffe could actually read them?! But it proves that people really want to cheer mamas on. Sure we have a long way to go in some ways where maternal rights are concerned, but let’s continue that encouraging spirit as mothers and always be looking for ways to lift each other up and help one another rather than become judgmental mommy war promoters.
2. Birth is Beautiful and Mesmerizing
I’m not gonna lie, there were parts that were a bit squeamish (that afterbirth splash had me like WHOA!), but I couldn’t look away. The mama in me was respecting the mama in a different species, and I wasn’t alone! 1.2 million were also in awe! When we look at other humans do we still have that awesome appreciation for life and for the ones who made it possible? The feeling tends to fade, but maybe this video will keep it alive a little longer.
3. Pregnant Mamas Should Follow Their Instincts
People have been guessing for weeks when this momentous day would come, and having been a mama who’s gone past her due date before I know how LONG those days can be. But just as April let nature take its course, we should too. Maybe it requires holing ourselves up in a sawdust filled cell (not that that part was April’s choice) to escape the world’s probing stares and questions, but we gotta take care of ourselves! Ignore those comments and be glad you definitely won’t be gestating as long as a giraffe!
4. Science is Cool
My daughter had sooo many questions about what was happening as we watched April struggle to get those gangly limbs out of her body. Many kids will never grow up on a farm or watch their moms bring their siblings into the world, so this was a pretty cool way to initiate some conversations and answer some probing questions about the beginning of life.
5. The Internet is a Strange Place
I already knew that one, but you never know what kind of things will catch on. I can’t say that I would want millions of people (or giraffes) watching me give birth, BUT once again it was a moment of solidarity for so many people. All coming together through the use of technology…thanks Al Gore!
What about you? Were you watching this internet mammal give birth and cheering her on? What thoughts did you share with this mama giraffe?