Saturday, March 18, 2017

How a Pregnant Giraffe Gives Me Hope (in a world rapidly descending into chaos...)

I feel like I've already written about this giraffe, and I know for certain that I have been periodically checking in on her for about a million years. Maybe I overstate a bit, but it sure feels that way.

I've spent more time looking at giraffe vagina lately than I ever imagined possible.

And I say this as a person who generally spends more time staring at vaginas than most people ever will.

(If you didn't already know, I am a try not to make it weird, you guys.)


I can't even remember who the first person was that insisted I watch this live video of this giraffe in labor all those weeks ago. Whoever you are....side eye.

"In labor".

Giraffes aren't actually deemed to be in labor until hooves are showing, which means that this giraffe we've all been staring at for weeks is not now and hasn't yet been in labor on this live video, but we've all wasted hours of our lives watching giraffe vagina just to get filled with eager anticipation every time she lifted her tail.

Then pooped.

Also, this is information that I did not know about giraffes until a few weeks ago, so look at that....we're all learning, here.

There was a night this week that I really thought she'd finally go. She looked like I remember in those last weeks. Miserable. Uncomfortable. Pissed. Couldn't get up and down without a whole production. She was having labored breathing and everything.

But then no.

Let me tell a doula and a as someone who has birthed five humans, this is a thing. The whole OMG the baby is coming right now but then....nah. How about you stay pregnant for another week or so? Good times.

My name is Kelly and it has been seventeen minutes since I last checked on April.

This is not April, but it is a giraffe.
Thank you, public domain pictures.
In these past few weeks of staring at the backside of this giraffe, though, I've been amused. People watching is basically my favorite activity in the world as it is, and something about the semi-anonymous nature of the internet brings out the best and worst in people.

Clearly, it's not actually anonymous because all those comments posted to live videos have the name attached, but there's an illusion of insulation involved as we all sit from behind our own screens away from other people, all staring at the same ass together.

And people reveal so very much about themselves, and collectively they reveal so much about humanity. It's interesting, to say the least.

There are people that clearly have spent large portions of time watching and waiting. They are the people who are hardcore invested in this birth, the ones who express great relief every time they have to go actually do something else and come back and she's still knocked up. OH THANK GOD I DIDN'T MISS IT, they exclaim! Yeah, she totally waited for you, Karen from Columbus, Ohio.

There are the people who are constantly praying for April to have a safe delivery, asking Jesus to help her. I'm not convinced that's how it works, but whatever floats your boat. I'm pretty sure that if Jesus or God or whoever actually intervenes when asked like that, he/she/they would probably opt to tackle larger issues than a giraffe who isn't actually in labor yet. Just saying. Also, I'm pretty sure prayers about sporting events fall into the same category.

There are the people who are convinced she needs pain medication or induced, and as an actual doula, this one annoys me for about 47 different reasons, but I figure there's no reason to argue with people who can "sense" that a giraffe on the other side of the country that they are watching on their phone is in pain. Maybe they have abilities I don't possess. Who knows?

There are the people who show up just to rant about zoos in general, about how awful it is to have animals in captivity, and I while I agree that humans are generally terrible about forcing animals to entertain us, the past few weeks also saw a rhino have its horn cut off with a chainsaw by poachers in a zoo, so the common denominator seems to be that humans are the worst, no matter what.

There are the people who seem certain that the animals are being neglected and underfed and forced to live in these tiny stalls...but anyone who has watched for more than a few minutes knows none of those things are true. Some people are super committed to what they believe, though, and nothing will sway them otherwise.

There are far more giraffe experts than logic says should exist in this world on these threads, arguing with other giraffe experts about every aspect of giraffing. Oh wait, they aren't experts. They're just people with an internet connection and time to kill.

There are the people who reported the live feed for obscenity because thousands of people staring at a giraffe's vagina must be sin filled and dirty. Yes, that actually happened. I assume those are the people who have only ever had sexual relations for the purpose of conception, and probably stuck to the missionary position, then said a few rosaries afterwards. Sex. It's how we all got here. For real, though.

There are the people who honestly know nothing about mammals in general, like the fact that humans are mammals or that giraffes are mammals or that mammals feed their babies milk. And the self-amusing trolls of the world have seized upon the ignorance and gullibility of them by creating the egg movement. If you've watched April, you are familiar with #teamegg already. I'll try to be brief in the description. It's basically a group of people who insist (in a completely joking and ridiculous way) that the giraffe is going to lay an egg, then the giraffe will hatch from the egg. They make up statistics and information about the egg, tell people what size and shape it is, how long it will be until it hatches or whether it will break upon landing on the ground. It's a whole thing. Intended to be ridiculous and amusing, a way to kill time while staring at giraffe vagina. There are three general groups of people who respond to #teamegg. 1) the people who get disproportionately angry, 2) the ones who actually believe that the giraffe is going to lay an egg (this is why we need more science in schools, you guys), and 3) those who just ignore them. I'm sure, as a blogger and personal troll magnet, you can all see how this amuses me deeply.

Among all these terribly interesting groups of people, though, there have been glimmers of hope in these rolling comment sections.

People sitting vigils over dying parents and grandparents, watching the giraffe to distract themselves from what is happening in real life for them.

Families in the process of welcoming their own new babies into the world, sharing their labor stories and worries and concerns.

People struggling with their own mental health issues, staying online to keep in contact with someone else out there in the world.

And all of those people have been supported and loved and surrounded by this community of complete strangers. It's beautiful to see, actually, and with everything else going on these days, we need these reminders.

We need to hang on to that hope, the hope that tells us that people can be strange and paranoid and selfish and ignorant, but that they can also be loving and supportive and committed and entirely invested in something that has nothing to do with them.

So, giraffe watchers of the world. I see you. And I think you're pretty fucking amazing. Keep it up.


  1. Very well said..

  2. A great piece of writing...Perceptive, funny, touching and absolutely stating everything I've been thinking. Well done!


Some of My Most Popular Posts