The rumors are true... I'm pregnant!
What is it like to farm while pregnant? Exhausting. Exhilarating, surprising, hard, inspiring, overwhelming... Exhausting.
Five years ago (really, five?!?) I turned my life upside down, dumped my bourgeoning career and all visions of a "high-powered" life-style in favor of a vague idea about a thriving small business, a loving partner, and a baby in my belly. When I left San Francisco with this strange, idealized fairy-tale in mind I didn't really believe that I could achieve such a thing. I certainly had no real concept of what it would take to get here. But, somehow, there was this strong guttural pull dragging me back east and grounding me firmly in this unforgiving clay dirt.
Now that I'm here, rubbing my ever-growing, round belly, I still can't quite believe my good fortune. Lord knows I'm terrible at recognizing, and appreciating it adequately. All I see are problems—weeds, bugs, poor production, pain, global inequities; who on earth are we to be so arrogant as to want to bring an unsuspecting, innocent being into this crazy, mean world? I have so many doubts and countless anxieties. I worry, and fear, and I think pregnancy hormones make me even more depressive than usual. But Alex, the most under-appreciated gift in my life, with his boundless enthusiasm, overflowing optimism, and pure sweetness of nature, is the one who reminds me to look up and smell the roses. Regardless of the countless ills of the world and all that we cannot control, we are actually building a sweet, sustainable life, rooted in family and community. I am in some small way realizing the opaque fairytale I dreamed up five years ago. It turns out I have always wanted to bring a child into just such a space as this. It's incredible. Here I am, 20 weeks pregnant, halfway to motherhood.
So, what is it like to farm while pregnant? It's hard, really hard, harder than anything else I've ever tried to do. But, it is also easier then I feared. Frankly, I was (and, in a lot of ways, still am) terrified of losing control of my body—my ultimate tool, the instrument of my livelihood. So far I've been lucky. I didn't suffer months of debilitating morning sickness, I haven't had any major aversions to food (except eggs...whomp, whomp), and I haven't had to slow down too much... yet.
The heat and stress of farming are definitely taxing, and the sheer exhaustion of growing another human is stunning, but I really do feel lucky. I feel strong and capable, proud and impressed that my body can do this incredible magic trick. It's an alien experience. I don't feel like I should get any credit for what is happening to me, it's certainly not in my control. It seems like my job is simply to endure, put one foot in front of the other, eat, eat some more, sleep any moment that I'm not working, and try (harder than I ever have before) to maintain some perspective. I am doing the best that I can. I am only human. Some things are going to fall behind this year. It doesn't have to be perfect. We are doing great. We will make it through this season and we will continue to get better as farmers, partners, community members, and citizens. This is a good place to raise a child and we can be good parents.
PS—for all you nosy friends: baby is due November 3rd. Yes, it was planned. Yes, we probably will get married someday, but it's not a high priority—we love each other and plan to stick together forever. No, we don't know whether the baby will identify as a boy or a girl (or something in between), we like surprises and are excited to meet our little human whenever and however they come out.