Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Elephant dreams, a la Dumbo

Still not sleeping. The last of the peaches from this weekend's foray are rotting in bags in the kitchen. All that's running through my slippery, hazy mind is the baby elephant story unfolding at the Oregon Zoo this week. If you haven't been following it, the gist is that first-time elephant mom Rose-Tu, delivered her baby after a 36-hour difficult labor and then promptly kicked and stomped on him. Seriously, I'm riveted--and pissed that the zoo hasn't set up at RSS feed so I don't have to keep refreshing the web page for updates. I mean, this has got all the domestic drama of a real news story that's been "ripped from the headlines" by one of the fifteen versions of Law & Order (probably the Vincent D'Onofrio one because of the intense psychological tension).

Besides the larger questions of whether maternal love is innate or learned, and if it really does take a village to raise a child (or at least to teach a new mother that kicking and stomping on her newborn is generally frowned upon by society at large), even more interesting are the ways the citizens of our culturally divided country could be opining on this story:

• Have the natural mamas weighed in on this yet, arguing that Rose-Tu should have had a better birth plan that rejected induction and a doula in the room as an advocate?

• Will the birth of this prominent male public figure fan the flames of the already-heated circumcision debate?

• Are the scientologists who bought my office building (which means we're spending a lot of time this week packing and moving rather than actually doing our jobs, which is one of the causes of my continued insomnia) pressuring Rose-Tu to simply "buck up" rather than seek counseling for post-partum depression?

Though on the surface, this seems to be the story of one little elephant, it is, in fact, a story with something for every American, from the sentimental ("Cute elephant baby!"), to the cynical ("Cute elephant baby on the front page? Really?"), to the political ("An unfit Republican elephant mom during the week of the Democratic National Convention? That's gold."). It seems like just the post-Olympics and pre-presidential election filler we, as a country, need.


melissa s. said...

LOL - so true! i've also been a little obsessed with the story. i wonder if rose-tu will be chastised for not properly breastfeeding her child as well.

Rebecca said...

Rose-tu might have postpartum psychosis. This is more serious than postpartum depression and should be treated. I think you were a little unfair on the Scientoligists. They would not tell Rose-tu to "buck up"--they would tell her to take multi-vitamins. Have we learned nothing from the Tom Cruise-Brooke Shields debacle?!

DomaMama said...

Crap! How could I have forgotten the multivitamin thing?

Anyone know where to find an L. Ron Hubbard doll? A coworker and I are missing our scientology friends and thinking a little stuffed Ron in the conference room would be just the thing.