September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

I appreciate you, farm moms

By Krista [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

I recently stopped by my parents' farm to check in, say hi and have breakfast with them. Mornings after chores are one of my favorite times on the farm because everyone gathers around the kitchen table for their meal of choice - usually an eggie sandwich, as we like to call them.
As our family has had a lot of activities going on lately, it had been awhile since I had stopped at the farm and talked to my parents. My mom and I were chatting at the table and my dad was checking out a few dairy websites on the computer in the office when his cellphone rang. It was our repairman who was out in the feed room putting a new un-loader in the silo.
"The cows are out?" my dad said.
That's all we needed to hear.
As soon as he said those words, we sprang into action. We all rapidly put on boots and ran outside towards the stream of cows wandering out of the gate between the heifer shed and cow shed; however, ran is a relative term for me right now. Although I went as fast as I could, my movement would probably best be described as a hasty and slightly wobbly speed walk. As my 59- and 62-year-old parents cruised past me, I couldn't help but think, "I'm sure they're glad they have the 7-months-pregnant woman helping them get cows back in."
But I didn't let it bother me too long and went about the unexpected job as best as I could. I made sure to claim a space where I didn't have to do much running (again, relative term for me). I guarded the open space between the calf barn and shed, and put my hands out as wide as I could to make the gap where the cows could potentially escape seem smaller. I was a little worried because this space was still large and a few of the cows were pretty wound up after realizing their newfound freedom. As long as they stayed relatively calm and didn't run at full speed, I would be able to cover my spot.
As my dad brought the cows around the corner, they came towards me - not in a full out run, but faster than I would have liked. Knowing I needed to keep the escapees in the area even though I couldn't really run, I put to use my former basketball-playing skills. I squatted in a defense position and shuffled from side to side. It worked surprisingly well. I could move pretty quickly. I moved back and forth, herding the cows to turn towards the gate. As they were approaching their final destination back in their pen, I quickly shuffle-walked to make sure they couldn't change their minds by squeezing by a trailer parked close to the shed. But, they kept going in the right direction.
When my dad had fastened the gate, we all stopped for a moment and looked at each other in relief. Although the exercise would not have been strenuous for me pre-pregnancy, it doesn't take much to get me breathing hard now. I was definitely catching my breath.
"That's not something I thought I would be doing while seven months pregnant," I said through my fast breathing.
We joked that my baby has already experienced a part of the farm life even while in the womb.
Maybe my midwife wouldn't necessarily think chasing cows around would be the greatest activity to be doing right now, but it was something that had to be done. When I heard we had to get cows in, I went out to do it. It was either have me help or be one person short.
But this was only a one-time (hopefully) job when I happened to be at the farm at the right time. My full-time job is not dairy farming. It got me thinking about all the other farming women out there who are pregnant and must still go about their daily chores. I don't know how you do all the bending, moving, squatting, carrying and numerous other physical activities that must be done to take care of your cows. And on top of that, many of you do this while pregnant with other children on the farm.
So after my cow-chasing experience, I now realize what many farm moms encounter on an every-day basis. For that, I applaud you. Keep up the good work (and be careful).
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