Pregnant Paws

MeiXiang

“Panda lovers, rejoice. Mei Xiang, a giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington, gave birth to healthy twin cubs on Saturday, just three days after the zoo’s staff discovered that she was pregnant.”
Giant Panda Gives Birth to Two Cubs at National Zoo; The New York Times, August 22, 2015.

Come on, zoo staff.  Seriously?  You didn’t know I was pregnant until three days ago?  Sure, maybe I’ve let my weight inch up over the years — you can’t stay a svelte 250 pounds forever — but, still, I would have thought you could tell the difference between a little extra bamboo for lunch and a full-term pregnancy.  I’ve always tried to keep myself looking my best for everyone watching on the Panda Cam, but, hey, we can’t all be built like flamingos.  Can you pass the bamboo?  I’m really insulted over here.

I guess I’m just confused why you weren’t monitoring me a little bit more, especially after you went through the trouble of that whole artificial insemination process. You fly sperm all the way in from China, convince me to sign that consent form, and then… nothing?  You didn’t even want me to pee on a stick.  And I pee on sticks all the time.

Did you not think that something might be up when I asked about the zoo’s policies about maternity leave?  I didn’t want to make a big deal about it, but I did send an e-mail to HR that I figured might catch your attention.  And, for whatever it’s worth, I do think we’re lagging behind a lot of other zoos in that regard.  My friend Yuan Zi at the ZooParc de Beauval in France gets 9 months off — at full pay — and yet I’m not even off the cam for a minute.  How am I supposed to balance motherhood and my career?  And is there any more bamboo?  How many times does a panda have to ask?

I figured the real tipoff would be when I had my cousin at the Adelaide Zoo send me her maternity clothes.  You just figured I was making a switch to elastic-waistband pants?  I also bought three packs of panda onesies.  They don’t even look like actual pandas, but there’s a serious dearth of baby clothes with realistic-looking animals on them, so I had to settle for what I could find.  And I’m out of bamboo again, if you have a chance to refill.

Anyway, why do you think the giraffes were in my cage the other day, with a cake and balloons?  Did you think we were just comparing notes on the new zookeepers?  I would have invited you to the baby shower too, if you’d shown any interest at all.  But, no, you just thought I was getting fat and lazy.  WHERE IS MORE BAMBOO?

I thought my insurance plan included prenatal care.  But I guess that would have required you to care enough to notice how emotional I’ve been these past few months.  Do I usually cry at the end of All Dogs Go To Heaven?

I expect a nice baby gift to make up for your insensitivity.  Maybe some bamboo?  Yes, some nice bamboo would be great.  Thanks so much.