So Dad is expecting an eloquent review of our visit to the Bodies exhibition at the Atlanta Civic Center is he? Well, I hate to disappoint, but disappoint I must.
Thanks to a ridiculous rule about not allowing strollers into the exhibition I had to disturb a quietly slumbering baby, check his buggy and nappy bag into the cloakroom and carry him through the exhibition. Unfortunately his carry sling had been left at home because we’d brought his stroller out instead and although Mum tried to fashion a sling out of the emptied nappy bag that lasted about thirty seconds before poor Sam got hot and flustered.
In my arms he was actually exceptionally good and well behaved but this didn’t stop me fretting the whole way around and having to give most of my attention to keeping him happy and content so that we didn’t disturb any of the other visitors. It was such a pain in the arse. There were few other people in each gallery and there was plenty of walking space round each exhibit so I really didn’t see what the big deal was, but despite Mum’s perseverance to get a stroller reprieve for a newborn, the staff would not budge. I wasn’t very impressed.
As to the exhibition I thus found it very hard to pay it much attention at all. In between squally moments I was able to take in some of the pieces and I didn’t know whether to keep reminding myself that these were the bodies of real people who had lived and breathed as we do, or to blank that out and let my brain convince me that they were just as plastic as they looked.
It really was hard to equate these hard specimens with living flesh and bone. This was particularly apparent to me when I came across a sample of a placenta.
After giving birth my doctor had actually lifted up the catchment bucket and shown me Sam’s placenta. Fascinated, I had reached forward from the delivery bed and given it a prod as she went on to explain what I was looking at, and point out the extreme difference between the mother’s and baby’s sides of the organ. She had even demonstrated how stretchy the membrane is and that it takes a great deal to tear it. I recognised the exhibit to be the same organ I had examined only a few weeks ago, but the colour, texture and density looked completely different and far removed from once being part of a real human being.
I wasn’t too sure whether or not I really wanted to go to the exhibition, but I guess curiosity got the better of me. I admit that since I went visions of the exhibits have run through my head before I drift off to sleep, but strangely not really in a disturbing way.
Oh, one room did strike a chord with me at the moment.
Before entering this one we were warned that it contained specimens of foetuses. Some of which were diseased or had other genetic problems. However, instead of finding myself upset as I thought I might have, having just given birth myself, I couldn’t help but wonder at the marvel of the human body that can create a perfect little life.
It was very sad to see a room of embryos and foetuses like this, little lives that never got a chance to breathe or experience the world, but it made me doubly appreciate the amazing bundle in my arms.
One of the exhibits showed what the developing baby looks like at eight weeks gestation, which is the same age as Sam when we had our first ultrasound taken. It was very humbling and fascinating to see what the little black and white fuzzy bean on the ultrasound was really depicting.