A letter from the co-founders of The Wise Hippo
We are sure that you must have wondered why we called our company The Wise Hippo. What is the connection with the hippopotamus?
It actually started with an idea for our logo. We felt that a mummy animal and her baby would be great as, on the whole, they represent the simplicity of birth beautifully.
We then decided that the hippo couldn’t be more perfect for that lovely play on hippo/hypno and being hip. We’d both had dads on our courses in the past saying that they were attending ‘hippobirthing‘, and it just felt right.
We then went ‘googling’ (as you do) and one of the first hits we found was a piece about the hippo being the native American symbol for the protection of the childbearing woman of the house…
We thought that was a bit odd as hippos themselves are not native to America, but the article explained that the hippos would appear in visions.
To be honest, we didn’t much care whether this was a tall tale made taller by the internet or not – it was the sign we needed, and for us that was the icing on the birthday cake.
It was like fate had played its hand and The Wise Hippo was born.
And since naming our company, we’ve found other great links with the hippopotamus and fertility and birth.
Taweret the ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth, protector of women and children. She is depicted as a combination of a crocodile, a pregnant hippopotamus standing on her hind legs with large breasts, and a lion.
There is also Hippo’s Yawn, a little known rock near Wave Rock in Hyden, where it is said that many years ago the Aboriginal women used to go to give birth.
There are also some great similarities in relation to how hippos birth and function within their family unit.
- Hippos like to spend most of their day in the water and devote much of their time to relaxing. We could say that they epitomise being ‘calm and relaxed’ – something we focus on a lot for our Wise Hippo mummies and daddies.
- When the female hippo is ready to breed, she seeks out a mate. When she enters his refuge, he is expected to behave respectfully towards her.
- A mother hippo usually gives birth to only one baby. Sometimes they do have twins, but this is very rare.
- Baby hippos are born after a gestation period of approximately 8 months. The birth may take place in water or on land on a bed of trampled reeds that the mother has prepared.
- The role of the father hippo is very much the protector of the environment.
- The mother hippo keeps her baby close to her so that they can bond and she can provide protection and keep her calf safe. The baby fixates on its mother, which naturally strengthens the bond.
- Nursing can take place on land, but usually the calf swims underwater to suckle. The baby is weaned between 8 and 12 months, although may continue to attempt to suckle way beyond that.
- The mother takes great care of her calf and it stays with her for several years.
- It is not unusual to find a mother hippo with a young family of different ages.
We love these connections and feel very much that we had been guided towards the name ‘The Wise Hippo’.
Dany Griffiths and Tamara Cianfini