“You’re at the point where you should just make yourself comfortable, because you won’t be able to push through discomfort to comfort,” Karen, our friend and Midwife’s assistant told me the other day. So finally, after swollen and sore feet, an ache in my back that shows up sooner into each activity as the days go by, and the further stretching of my lower abdomen when the baby dropped, I really am taking it easy. Not that I was necessarily overdoing it before, but the conflict between needing rest and wanting to actively help with the farm has been difficult to manage. I gave up broadforking at least a month ago, gave up carrying water or anything heavy before that, but now during harvest days I don’t even carry a crate of kale once I’ve filled it, and I only made it one quarter of the way down the row while trellising tomatoes before needing to stop.
Early on in my pregnancy my midwife asked if we had enough help on the farm, and told us that she’s worked with farmers before who have had a hard time breaking away from the farm to take care of themselves and their babies. “The farm was their first love,” she had said. I had assured her we were ready for me to slow down throughout the summer, but I didn’t anticipate my own internal conflict that would show up as my body became more baby, demanding that I stop, sit, nap. To look out and see the garden and the animals and know that I cannot physically help in the way that my non-pregnant body can has been more difficult and emotional than I can say. To put it plainly, after three years of dreaming and searching for a farm, we finally have one, and I am not able to participate in it the way I imagined.
On the flip side, for the first time in almost five years, I am able to soak up the summer with more relaxing than work. I am learning to listen to my body at a level deeper than I ever knew. I am seeing this farm grow along with my belly, and am so happy I get to bring our baby into the world here on this land that we get to know better every day. It helps to know that Edge loves what he does so much that he doesn’t call it work, and to hear him reassure me with all the things that I am helping with. One day when I was feeling completely unhelpful and told him we wouldn’t have a farm at all if it weren’t for him, he said to me, “Everything you are doing right now is a bonus. The most important thing is our family, and you are doing the most important job here. It’s one I can’t do.”
So now I really am letting go of farm work. I am eight days away from my due date, and I’m on vacation. I’m sure you’ll still see me checking out the garden or watering seedlings, but I’ll also be swimming at the pond, writing in my journal, taking slow walks down to the stream in the woods, and generally relaxing. Our midwife has checked in numerous times to make sure we have volunteers lined up to help Edge with farm work after the baby comes, so he gets a vacation, too, and we have already received offers of help. In the mean time, when you see Edge, thank him for all he does. It’s true that we wouldn’t be this far without him, and I say that with gratitude.