For the past nine months, I’ve been dealing with the struggles of being pregnant on the farm.
Everyone tells you about the morning sickness and the stretch marks but no one ever gives you advice on how being pregnant will affect every aspect of your farm life.
So as we patiently (or in my case, not so patiently) await Baby Harned’s arrival, I decided to do my part to help all the future farm moms out there who are in for nine very long months.
Here’s 10 things I wish someone would have told me about being pregnant on the farm.
1. Your doctor will forbid you from lifting more than 25 lbs.
My doctor informed me of this at my first appointment and I’m pretty sure I laughed at her. She wasn’t kidding.
The entire trip home I contemplated how I would manage to spend the next 32 weeks not lifting anything that weighed more than 25 lbs. No feed buckets, hay bales, tool boxes, feed sacks, the tack box and as far as I could tell, everything necessary for farm life.
At this point, I was convinced my doctor was crazy. It didn’t take long for me to realize that she wouldn’t be the only one telling me all the things I couldn’t do at the farm.
2. No matter what you want to do, your dad or husband will probably forbid it.
I wish I was exaggerating.
I never thought that my dad would fuss at me for stopping a pig from getting out of her pen. I never thought my husband would ever tell me I wasn’t allowed to climb over a gate.
Every weekend we’d spend at the farm, I’d prepare myself for the long list of reasons why I should just stay at the house: its too cold, too windy, too rainy, too muddy, there aren’t enough seats in the truck, I shouldn’t be around the medications or my personal favorite, “I couldn’t forgive myself if anything hurt the baby.”
There was no use fighting it.
I even tried to convince them that doing farm chores while pregnant would make Baby Harned tougher. They just laughed and left me at the house.
3. Your doctor will not understand any farm related question you ask.
I remember asking if there were any livestock medications I couldn’t be around while pregnant. Both the doctor and nurse looked at me like I was speaking Greek.
In the end, this didn’t matter because my “better safe than sorry” dad and husband never let me be anywhere near any medications.
(If I had needed a real answer to this question I planned to ask our veterinarian because he knows what type of medications we use on the farm is well versed in any risks associated with them).
4. Your husband will compare you to livestock and mean it as a compliment, take it as one.
Only in a farm family can a man refer to his wife’s “calving ease hips” or say she comes from “a good sow line” without getting smacked.
It also makes conversations about what will happen in the delivery room a lot easier to start when you can lead with “You know when a sow is farrowing…”
5. Your friends and family will refer to your pregnancy in livestock terms.
Ever since they found out we were expecting, our friends have referred to the month of March as “calving season” or “farrowing.”
Your friends will say things about your child “hitting the ground,” make jokes about how unpredictable “first calf heifers” are or expect a full moon or snow storm to bring on labor.
If both sides of your family come from a farm, this is nothing to be concerned with. If not, be prepared to explain to your sister-in-law that “hitting the ground” should not be taken literally!
6. You will look at mastitis in a whole new way.
This one is pretty self explanatory and I’m sure it is much worse for those of you on dairy farms!
7. You will understand why sows chose individual gestation stalls over group housing.
When you reach the point of trying to fit you, your husband and your 6 pillows into a queen sized bed, you’ll understand completely why gestating sows want their own space.
When you share this analogy with your husband, he’ll look at you like you’re completely insane. Trust me, he’s secretly wishing he didn’t have to share with you and your pile of pillows too!
8. The day your Carhartt jacket doesn’t zip might bring you to tears.
You will cry over a lot of silly things while pregnant, its inevitable. At some point, one of those things will probably be farm related.
For me, it was the day that none of my work clothes fit anymore, even the Carhartt jacket I’d bought two sizes bigger than my pre-pregnant size.
Obviously, this didn’t really matter because I wasn’t going to be allowed to do any farm work (refer to number 2) but that didn’t stop my crazy hormonal self from spending twenty minutes blubbering about it.
9. Other farm moms will laugh at your misery.
My mother enjoyed my pain a little too much.
I’m sure getting told to stay home while pregnant for all five of us was miserable for her so I expected a little sympathy. Instead, she thoroughly enjoyed rubbing it in my face.
I like to think that some day I’ll be the bigger person and when my sisters face this same dilemma I’ll defend their right to open gates and perform other non-strenuous activities that will help them keep their sanity.
In all actuality, my mom and I will probably team up against them like its part of some secret farm mom code. Sorry girls!
10. The only thing you’ll look forward to more than doing farm chores again is someday teaching your child to do them.
As miserable as the past nine months have been, the only thing that kept me sane was looking forward to passing it all on to our daughter someday.
In just a few months we’ll be taking Baby Harned to her first hog show.
As a toddler she’ll “help” carry feed buckets, hold the hose while filling up the water trough and discover the joys of riding through the pastures in the back of the farm truck.
In just five years, her Uncle Daniel will be showing his own pigs in 4-H and she’ll be begging to borrow one for novice showmanship.
Even though I spent a lot of time complaining about it, I’d say my nine month break from farm work will be more than worth it in the end.