Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Prep talks

My husband and I are firm believers that the reason the human gestation period is nine months, is that it takes about nine months for the reality of being a parent to set in and the limit the human body could take. At 34 weeks, I stress the latter. Back pain, fatigue, constant peeing, pelvic pressure and difficulty breathing are just a few of the uninvited companions that join you for the ride. In the grand mammalian scale of gestation periods, however, we fall fairly in the middle. Whales have a gestation period from 400 to 500 days, for instance, with the sperm whale at 480 and the orca at 500 having the longest gestational periods. That may seem insupportable, but at least they are swimming. Camels and giraffes have to trudge it on land and their gestation periods are just as long, at 400 and 450 days respectively and rhinos have anywhere between 486 to 548 days. Whenever you reach the point in the day when you really want to scream at the injustice of it all, the back pain wearing you down, the pressure on your bladder and pelvis mounting and the little one hanging out by pushing his or her feet between your ribs, think of the poor elephant, who carries her baby on average for 660 days, up to a whopping 760 days!

There are mammals that have a much easier ride of it and they of course tend to be much smaller - I suppose there is no room for the baby to grow.  The mountain beaver has a gestation period of 30, the mouse 21, the hamster 18 and the opposum has lucky number 13. While this may seem like a breeze, imagine finding out you are pregnant and that you will be a parent in less than a fortnight!

So as mammals go, we fair pretty well in terms of ability to prepare (both practically and mentally) as well as physically (who wants to swap places with the opposum or the elephant for instance?).

Luckily not opposums, my husband and I were consistently advised by our friends and family with kids over these many months that we should spend as much time together as possible and enjoy being able to go out on a whim, because "it  will all soon be over" they warned. While we've snuck in a few dates here and there, our chaotic lives at the moment (who has time in New York?) hasn't really given us much time to indulge, although we did spend ten mesmerising days up in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland (I definitely recommend the babymoon!). Our spare time was focused on finding a new apartment in unfortunately the hottest mark this city has seen in years, leading to many offers and disappointments and our recent realization that we were welcoming our son in our west village loft.

With his due date looming, it's finally hit us that we have to rearrange our whole apartment, buy a cosleeper, carrier, stroller and other necessitates and learn as much as we can about parenting. There are baby books and baby things sprawled around our apartment - he has taken over even before he has even arrived!

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