This morning, I went to have a chat with my friend Mao. Mao is brilliant and often times has been known to have a “man-of-few-words” style about him. We chatted for a little bit and then as I was leaving, he suddenly asked, “Um, why are you carrying a baby for ten months?”
That one question could actually be so many questions. The answers were numerous. I wasn’t sure if he was looking for, “Well, when a woman and a man love each other…” or perhaps, “There once was an unfertilized ovum…” Maybe what he really wanted was, “Mark said he didn’t want to do it.”
Finally, I realized he was asking, “Why ten months all of a sudden? Women have been doing it for nine months for-EVER and now you go and decide you’ll be pregnant for ten?”
Well, actually a pregnancy is 40 weeks, and if we average 4 weeks per month, that’s ten months. But to be perfectly honest, two of those weeks at the beginning are pre-conception, so some would argue they don’t count. We just count them ‘cause it’s easier to pinpoint menstruation than it is to pinpoint ovulation. So, okay, even for the cynics out there, full-term human gestation is 38 weeks. And if we average 4 weeks per month, that’s 9 and a half months. Anywhere else in mathematics, we would round a 9.5 up to 10, however, some doctor, a bajillion years ago, likely one who had never been pregnant, possibly one with a scrotum, decided, ah, we won’t count those last two weeks…no one will miss them if we just pretend all women go through pregnancy for a little less time than they actually do. No matter how you slice it, be it 40 or 38 weeks, it’s all more than nine months. And this myth has been perpetuating and women have been getting credit (depending on whether you’re in the 38-week or the 40-week camp) for only 90-94.7% of their pregnancy trials and tribulations for eons.
Mao likens this to the myth that we have to drink 8 cups of water a day. Apparently, he claims, that is complete hogwash.Either way, truth is power and it’s time to stop the cycle of ignorance.