Monday, June 18, 2012

Motherhood on the Farm

Gertie (my cow) had her calf! yeah!  I was kind of worried she wasn't going to have one this year, but I guess the HOT summer we had last year made the cows not go open, so her preggo cycle got out of whack.

*Sidebar (because I didn't know this either)--cows will not go "open" like heat for dogs/cats when its super hot or cold, because their little bodies are saying the environment is not the best for a little calf...pretty cool really  :-)

So we have a few cows up at our place that are still going to calf this year, and the waiting/watching game continues for new critters.

We also have a herd of kittens from one of the Monsters (Lil Shit's babies) see blog: They Know My Voice; that I have affectionately called the Smokestacks, because I'm pretty sure the Daddy is Smoke. 

So watching both Monster and Gertie, I am in awe of animal motherhood and its comparisons to mothers of human children.  Here are creatures that do not have a choice whether they get pregnant or not.  (If they don't get preggo we will AI (artificially inseminate) the cows so that they do...and well the cat, of course cats are going to have babies.  They have no choice in the matter if it is the right time in their career, or how they will financially support the offspring, haven't read "What to Expect When You Are Expecting", etc.  However, they do a fabulous job raising their offspring.  Monster, with her first litter, has kept them safely tucked in haybales so no other creatures will think they are a snack.  She is on alert to strange people coming into the barn, and herds them back into their cubby when they've strayed too far from the nest.  Gertie, even though she knows me, gave me a firm Mrrr...get away from my calf crazy lady noise when I went to check on them.  She nestles him down into a treeline or corner and grazes, but keeps an eye on her little guy,  making sure nothing gets toooo  close.  Hmmm, are those mothering characteristics only limited to animals?  And why as humans have some people lost those basic skills?

1 comment:

  1. I don't think mothering instincts are limited to animals. Any human mother can easily tell you that if someone picks on her kiddos, the fangs come out and she is ready to fight. Unfortunately, in our "civilized" state as humans, we are constantly barraged with stuff like, "A good mother will always do this..." or "...that..." For instance, the battle over working mothers. When I was small, your grandmother went back to work full-time 3 weeks after I was born. That just wasn't done at that time. I'm sure she raised a lot of eyebrows and received criticism about not being a "good" mother to my brother and I. The battle still rages on, but do to the economic situation today and the huge number of single-parent homes, many mothers fight a constant barrage of being terrible mothers because they work and don't stay home with the kids. After all, a "good" mom will always quit her job and stay home with the kiddos.

    Add to this issue the continual barrage of media about what is the best way to raise kids. Should you let the baby sleep with you or in the baby bed? Breastfeeding or bottle? The list goes on and on. The result is that a mother can very quickly feel totally inadequate and a failure at mothering no matter what they do because, no matter what, it won't satisfy some new craze about what constitutes a "good" mother.

    Animals haven't read the books or watched the media. They don't have a sense of work or stay-at-home. They seem to do what instinctually feels right to them.

    One thing animals seem to be way ahead of us on is when to kick the chicks out of the nest. More and more young people are living at home with their parents into their 30s and 40s. In the animal world, that would NEVER happen. Sometimes kids need to move back in due to a specific crisis such as illness but that should be for a limited time with the intent of moving out as soon as possible.

    It's not easy being a parent, I think animals would agree to this. It's exhausting and draining and heartbreaking. But animals would also agree that the sense of joy and pride and love is worth it!