After the excitement of
informing our friends and relatives of our pregnancy,
suddenly, these well-wishers (regardless of whether
they have their own children or not) became pregnancy
and childcare gurus and started giving me advice on
the dos and don’ts during pregnancy.
Like many first time mums-to-be, I already had a lot
of things to worry about, for example the health of
the unborn baby, the ever expanding waistline and the
impending responsibility of taking care of the baby.
I also now had the headache of sieving through those
dos and don’ts which I heard from various people.
Having been educated in the science stream all my life,
it was easy for me to dismiss the more illogical advice
given by some – for example, I was supposed to
refrain from eating dark soya sauce otherwise the baby
would have dark skin.
However, there were some advice which bordered on fact
and myth, which were a little more difficult to discern.
One of which was “Get rid of your rabbits! The
fur is bad for the unborn baby and also bad when the
baby is born!”
As both my hubby and I were disturbed by the possibility
of giving up our two bunnies, I was determined to find
out if bunnies were indeed harmful to the foetus. I
surfed the internet and read various books and magazines,
hoping to find something.
The only information I found was that cat faeces (which
can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis)
can pose a danger to the developing baby.
I found some consolation at the lack of information
regarding the alleged harm bunnies could do to the unborn
babies, and convinced myself and my hubby that it was
not necessary to give up our precious bunnies. Even
the gynaecologist said she was not aware of rabbits
Although we faced pressure from our parents to give
them up, we were both very stubborn and did not do so.
We had in December 2002 lost two rabbits, and the thought
of giving away our remaining two rabbits was something
we could not and would not accept.
However, we did make a small adjustment to the bunnies’
living area. Initially, their cage was in our bedroom.
In order to silence those who still maintain that the
bunnies’ fur is harmful, we decided to move their
cage to the living area, away from our bedroom.
Prior to my pregnancy, I was more involved in cleaning
their litter pan, feeding and caring for them.
During the first trimester, I was always feeling tired.
No matter how much sleep I got, I still found it very
difficult to wake up in the morning when the alarm rang.
My hubby, in order to allow me more time to sleep, would
wake up earlier just to feed the bunnies, add water
to their water bottles, and also to clean their cage.
As the pregnancy progressed, my tummy grew bigger and
bigger. It became increasingly difficult for me to bend
down to reach into their cage. I either had to squat
or sit on the floor in order to feed them, or even pat
them. However, squatting down was difficult as my increased
weight added a lot of pressure on my ankles. And whenever
I sat on the floor, it was difficult for me to stand
Having a big tummy made mobility very restricted and
every single task that seemed to be so easy before pregnancy,
became a chore.
However, my hubby became more involved with the bunnies
as my pregnancy progressed. He realized that it was
difficult for me to do the things that I used to do,
and he would often volunteer to help out with the bunnies.
I was really fortunate that my hubby was really supportive
throughout my pregnancy, and helped me out in whatever
I was also glad that our bunnies were both litter-trained
and therefore cleaning their cages was not a difficult
or time-consuming chore.
Moreover, both our bunnies had been neutered and they
bonded very well. Thus, even if we had “neglected”
them in anyway, I am sure they were not lonely and found
solace in each other’s company. They were like
husband and wife, often lying down together side by
side, grooming and licking each other.
The only thing which my hubby could not help me out
in was grooming our bunnies. One of our bunnies, Tare,
never liked being carried, and my hubby was never successful
in carrying her, let alone being able to groom her.
Then one day when the sight of their ever-growing nails
and unruly fur started to irritate me, I decided to
groom them on my own accord. Picking them up from their
cages was difficult with my big bump. Moreover, Tare
was so feisty that she started to struggle as I picked
her up. She did scratch me quite a bit on my arms and
my tummy. Even our unborn son started getting feisty
in my tummy and kicked me very hard at the same time.
However, once I cradled Tare in my arms, she was docile
as a lamb. Perhaps she felt comforted as she rested
on top of my tummy.
Our other bunny, Tira (whom we have always nicknamed
as being “humsup” i.e. lecherous) lived
up to the nickname which we had given him. As I cradled
him in my arms, his face turned towards my chest and
his tongue started to lick my blouse as I groomed him.
Carrying him, I wondered to myself whether it would
be the same feeling as carrying our son in my arms.
Just before the expected due date of delivery, I stocked
up the bunnies’ supplies at home. We ordered bags
of hay, pellets, and litter, enough to last at least
1 month. It was good that our supplier was able to deliver
the bunny supplies to our home, as I surely could not
carry that entire load from the pet shop!
Throughout my pregnancy, I never got ill. In fact, I
was in better health than ever before. After 39 weeks
of carrying my baby inside my tummy, I finally gave
birth to a very healthy baby boy. I was even more convinced
that having bunnies in the house did not affect my baby’s
and my health.
After giving birth, I was in the hospital for 4 days.
During those 4 days, my hubby stayed with me at the
hospital. However, he would go home twice a day –
once in the morning and another in the evening, just
to take care of the rabbits.
Our relatives and friends were amused by our devotion
towards our bunnies, and were surprised at my hubby’s
dedication for making two trips to home each day just
for the bunnies.
Even with my hubby’s 2 trips home each day, our
bunnies sensed that there was something different from
the usual routine. Perhaps they missed me? Or perhaps
the house was really too quiet since we were not home?
They ate very little, and drank very little water in
our absence. They even started peeing outside their
However, this “rebellious” behaviour stopped
soon after I was discharged from the hospital and was
Our bunnies are like our babies. In fact, sometimes,
I think having bunnies prepared us for parenthood. Our
bunnies have helped us experience the joys and worries
of taking care of them, understand the concept of responsibility,
learn how to share tasks in taking care of them, and
how to love them unconditionally.
We are very glad that we were stubborn enough to continue
keeping our bunnies. Our son is now almost two months
old when this article is written. He is a chubby little
boy who has put on a whopping 1.5kg in his first month!
My only wish now is to see him grow up quickly so that
he too can spend time with our bunnies and learn to
love them as much as we do.