I am a mother, wife, millennial, dairy farmer and obviously a blogger. My husband and I live on my family’s dairy farm with our daughter Calli. We are the third generation to take over my family’s dairy farm.
Feeding a baby is such complicated business. There are a million options today and they’re all filled to the brim with guilt. When you pick a way to feed your baby, someone then shares some article or meme telling you that you have now doomed your child. Am I right? We have all heard something that makes the panic rise.
As a farmer, I am here to tell you: 90% of the negative things you hear about your food is NOT TRUE. If it scares you, I can bet it isn’t accurate. There are people and groups out there trying to scare you to eat certain ways. I’m here to tell you all types of food are safe and healthy in moderation. Being scared of our food is making being a parent an impossibly hard job. Let’s be honest, parenting is hard enough with out guilt associated to every little thing we do.
I am in a Facebook group about feeding kids. We have tons of discussions about meal and snack ideas. Moms in the group also discuss diet choices and what is safe to feed their babies. A few weeks ago a mom wrote in the group looking for support. She had been making her baby’s purees homemade but between work and everything else on her plate she found she just didn’t have time to do anymore and had started buying baby food.
She went to the group because she felt so guilty about buying her baby’s purees. How crazy is that? We all have so much pressure to be perfect and there is so much fear being spread around. I’m not sure about you, but my heart went out to that mom. I used to feel obligated to try and make homemade baby food purees. Then I simply got too busy with the farm and keeping the house somewhat clean and spending time with my child.
My bother worked for one of the largest, if not the largest, baby food manufacturers in the country. He worked in the Procurement Department. That’s a fancy name for he harvested and bought the fruits and vegetables that went into the baby food. After having many in-depth conversations and seeing everything in action I feel completely confident in that purchased baby food. The company makes sure they are buying safe, high quality fruits and vegetables and they take making food for babies and children very seriously. Safety and quality is of a top concern. Even down to making sure the containers they use are only of the highest quality.
When it comes to food and growing it, no farmer wants to hurt their customers. The people drinking milk or eating cheese are one of my top concerns. I want to make sure the milk you buy in the store is safe and nutritious because my family buys that milk too. We drink it just like you and your family does. Feeding your baby is the best part of my job. I love being a part of your day!
I’ve been missing for a long time. How is it that it’s been 5 months since we had the baby?! To be honest I thought about starting this a million times and I just didn’t know where to start. So I didn’t start. I just kept doing fun stuff on Instagram or Facebook and I avoided this like the plague. I decided it’s time to try. It’s time to try and fit this back into life, even though I feel like I have a million things to do.
Another reason I had a hard time sitting down to write this, I felt guilty. If you choose to read this in full you will find out this birth wasn’t exactly easy. I see birth every single day on the farm and I know it isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s downright brutal. I don’t think I ever could have prepared myself for what happened. Because it was so hard I didn’t immediately have that same feeling of love that I had with Calli. Truthfully, things couldn’t have been more different and the guilt ate at me. I felt horrible for not feeling that instant, all consuming devotion. I knew it would come eventually, and it did.
The weeks before we had Adeline (pronounced Ade-line) we were in and out of the hospital constantly. The night before we had her I was having back labor that I didn’t realize was back labor. Come the morning of November 3rd, 2018 my labor had left and I was feeling good. Calli and I were sitting on the couch watching a movie when my water broke. Eric was in the kitchen getting started making homemade pizza. Needless to say, we threw everything down and got going.
We literally handed poor Calli in the door at my parents and started rushing to our hospital which is an hour and a half drive. When my water broke with Calli I started having contractions immediately and they got closer and closer. With Adeline I didn’t start having contractions until 45 minutes later. The end of this pregnancy had been strange and the labor was looking like it wouldn’t different.
We got to the hospital and were grateful they listened when I called and said they needed a room ready for me. We rolled in right around doctor shift change but I was relieved to find out my favorite doctor was coming in. The problem was, they checked me and said I was dilated to around 8 cm and I don’t think they told the doctor I was on my way in. So he was taking his time. Obviously he picked up the pace because he came in sweating and breathing like he had run a mile. But the relief knowing I had the most trusted person in the doctors office on my side was deep.
Throughout my pregnancy the doctors were genuinely concerned about us having a baby in the car. My first labor was quick and usually labors get quicker with each pregnancy. Having an hour and a half drive put a lot of pressure on whether we would make it before the baby came. When I started pushing we all expected things to go very quickly. It didn’t take long to figure out this labor wouldn’t be that quick.
As soon as they hooked the monitors up they could tell the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. My doctor talked to us about that. He said they would monitor the heart rate closely to make sure the baby didn’t go into distress. If everything went okay I would just have to pause pushing so they could cut the cord and then finish. Seemed easy enough.
After about 15 minutes of pushing the baby was hardly moving. I felt like I couldn’t get a decent set of pushes in. My doctor suddenly said, “I don’t understand why this baby isn’t out already.” I can’t remember if I said out loud or just in my head, but I responded with, “Me too.” In my head I also kept repeating, I don’t think I can do this. I was about to ask him if I could just have a c-section.
On my next contraction I gave the hardest push I could possibly muster. I managed to get the head out far enough to where the doctor could see she was face up. That explained why it was so hard, painful and going so slow. After that things started to happen quickly. The doctor had to do some more desperate measures but we managed to get things moving. I really didn’t care what it took to get her out, I was so exhausted from pushing.
Three easy pushes later we had Adeline Mae breathing, healthy and amazing in our arms. This labor was one of my biggest fears. There were legitimate concerns about her safety. I had a huge injury to my lady parts, I had lost a lot of blood and I felt horrible. My recovery took so much longer than I thought and it was so much harder than I imagined.
Adeline is the sweetest, most laid back baby and truthfully she was exactly what we needed at that time. I was a hot mess for 3 months and after 5 months I’m just starting to come out of it. Almost everything about this pregnancy was hard. But it was totally worth it. I am so thankful to our amazing team at the hospital and our doctors. My doctors office then did a top notch job of my after care. It’s a long road when you have a new baby to care for and you are trying to heal from major injuries too.
To that mom out there that had a birth she never imagined, I see you. It’s okay not be okay because of it. If you need help, seek it. Remember, that you have a new human depending on you to take care of them. You need to be okay just as much as your tiny human(s). Give yourself a break and do not feel like you need to meet the perfect mom status. Use your support system because likely they want to help but don’t want to push it on you. Just do your best and know no one is perfect.
This is definitely not the blog post I thought I would come back with after the last two months. I promise the things you want to hear about are coming. I’m just having a hard time putting some of the details down right and I want to do it right. For now, I’m excited to talk about getting back into fitness and running. When I started running I felt so uncomfortable with myself. I was waiting for everyone to tell me I was an impostor, heck, I sometimes still feel this way. I’m not super skinny or fast. But I belong there as much as anyone else and so do you. In the early days I found having a few items of real running gear helped me feel confident and like I belonged at the races, regardless of how slow I am. Today I want to share some items that can help you be successful in a New Year Resolution to start getting fit. The great thing is you and I can go on this journey together in 2019.
My Top 8 Pieces of Running Gear
Goodr Sunglasses ($25 or $35) are an inexpensive way to get some new running gear to start your resolution right. They might be cheap but they are still high quality. When I’m running or working out these puppies stay put. They don’t bounce and they don’t fog up. As a woman who wears ponytails, I love I can throw them on top of my head and not have them get stuck in my hair. Last but not least, they look great and often they support great causes. The sunglasses I’m wearing most often are these from Goodr.
Footwear is essential to almost any athletic pursuit for those of us with 1 or 2 feet. If you have feet or a foot, you need to treat them right and that includes having good quality footwear for a new resolution. To take proper care of them you need to go see an expert in the field. I tried to start running without the right shoes. I ended up messing up my knees and ankles for a few weeks and I had to stop running to let them heal. Injury is not worth it to save some money. My favorite shoes for a neutral runner is the Brooks Levitate and if you’re in my area this is my favorite running store.
AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphones are another favorite of mine. As a woman safety is always at the top of my life and these headphones deliver. With the bone conduction I can clearly and crisply hear my music or podcast. But at the same time I can hear cars while I’m running or I can even hear equipment when I’m wearing them on the farm. Yes, these are pricy but worth every penny. Also, their customer service is top notch so if anything goes wrong in the first year they’re great about getting you a new pair. If you’re a lady I would consider getting the minis, that’s my only regret with my Titaniums. I wear these gray Titaniums.
Garmin watch. There are so many different types of watches Garmin makes but regardless of the athletic adventure you’re going on they have one for you. Even if your goal is just to be more active in general they have a great Garmin for that too. I highly recommend finding out which one will work for you. What I think makes these watches better than other just fitness brands is their quality and longevity. The bands hold up so well. I’ve had mine for 2 years now and I still have the original band and I wear it daily. I wear the Garmin Forerunner 235 if you want to know.
An entry fee is a great way to keep motivated on that resolution. I have always found a race (especially a long one) to be great motivation for me to keep running and keep on my training plan. Whether it’s a triathlon, cross fit competition or set of classes paid for, they can all be great motivators. If you’re looking for an awesome race to run, I highly recommend the Bay City St. Patrick’s Day Races, CRIM 10 Miler, and the Detroit International Half Marathon or Marathon.
Leggings with pockets may seem silly and not essential. But, the ability to carry most or all of what you need for a run without wearing a belt or vest is the best. I always thought my belt would be good enough but I found out shorts and leggings with best are so much easier and they’re comfortable. My favorite pair are these from Athleta.
Getting a massage may not be super high on your list but it should be. If you’re going into a hard, long training program you will thank me. As training gets longer and harder you need to work harder on recovery. Recovery is just as important as your long runs and a massage can be a huge help. When I was training for my last half I had a lot of IT Band issues and massage therapy was a life-saver. I will be using the 3 massage gift cards I got with great joy.
I have mentioned my last item before in previous posts like this one. But I think it bears mentioning again. Each of us motivates differently. For me, feeling like I am a part of something I love is huge. Part of that is how I am dressed. When I wear gear that makes me feel like a runner I have more confidence and I’m more likely do actually do my workout. Don’t dismiss the excitement of a piece of gear that you absolutely love. Buy yourself some awesome leggings, a new pair of shoes or a new watch. Whatever it is that does it for you!
Beginning a new year is a great opportunity to rededicate yourself to a resolution. Although you can begin new goals any day of the year! I want to know what is your advice or favorite gear to help someone just starting on a New Year Resolution?
In case you missed it, I’m pregnant. I am due around U.S. Thanksgiving (which puts me a little more than halfway through) and so far things are going well. As far as my uterus goes, everything looks good. But this pregnancy has kicked my butt. I have been tired, crabby and just plain uncomfortable for most of it. For a big chunk of it I was making weekly appointments to my OB’s office, which by the way is an hour and a half from my house. So yeah, I’ve been busy. Luckily I’ve been moved down to bi-weekly appointments. Which is the reason why I haven’t been writing in months and my running has been left out too.
I had really hoped this pregnancy would include me being active, particularly being one of those pregnant ladies who crazily runs a half marathon during her pregnancy. Believe me, I tried. I did a few 5Ks early on and I felt like a bad ass doing them. But one day I stood in the hot sun too long, I ended up at the hospital with severe cramping from mild dehydration. Quickly, my hopes and dreams for all of my races this year got deferred to 2019. Let’s be honest, I can’t do a leisurely stroll in a competitive environment. I’m either going to beat my last record or I’m cheering friends on.
Now, I’m not devastated by having to stop running.
OK, I lied. I was really saddened that I had to cut out fitness.
I know baking a baby is priority number 1 and it’s only temporary. After a few days I stopped my pity party and accepted that I need to be thankful I can still work and walk around almost as much as I want. This time on the farm includes a lot of stress because of poor prices that aren’t looking like they will get better soon, a high risk pregnancy and a busy, iron-willed toddler means I’m struggling at times with managing my stress. This pregnancy has included a lot of insomnia and discomfort and I really miss running because of it. I hide and cry a lot over stupid things because it’s just really hard to deal with it right now.
This is a tribute to how much I miss running. To those of you who can log the miles and work toward goals, I hope you realize how lucky you are. When you’re having a hard time pushing yourself to keep going, think of me. Imagine me with my gigantic pregnant belly, chasing you. Laugh about that and keep pushing because I wish I could be with you. Until I can be I will be cheering you all and wishing I could be out there running with you.
If you want to hear more about my pregnancy I am going to do a Facebook post about it.
Trust is such a funny thing. It is something we only give to the most important people in our lives. Yet, often when farmers discuss reaching out to people who aren’t farmers, we talk about earning trust. There is nothing in the world that says you have to trust me because I am a farmer. Me being a farmer does make me an expert on growing food because I do it each day, but that still isn’t a reason you have to give me your trust. Long story short, you don’t have to. But I hope you will trust me regardless.
In reality I am not that different from you. I’m a parent. I have a messy house. It feels like we are constantly busy and our lawn isn’t mowed often enough. Even though my job is not common, we are normal in so many ways. The view outside my window is probably pretty different than yours and I smell cow manure more often than anything else. If you watch the news you might think those of us living out here are quite backward. But, in the end we can all agree we want to provide for our family (regardless of what that family looks like), keep our family healthy and have a life we enjoy. Maybe some of us have different avenues to go about it, but I would be willing to wager we can agree on those things. I think one hour at a great coffee shop chatting could show us that.
I am a dairy farmer because I care. I care about my cows and keeping them happy, healthy and content every single day. I care about our land. We strive to be good stewards to keep it healthy and productive for our neighbors and generations to come. When we take care of the cows and the land they will take care of us. Farming is a labor of love that I compare to parenting. There are long, exhausting hours. You do it because you want to do it or you feel like it is a calling for you. It is 7 days a week with rarely a day off. Honestly, there are lot of other ways to make a better living easier. Sometimes, like this year there is little to no pay. But in the end it is totally worth it. Even though it is hard and stressful, I love what we do. Just like I love being a parent.
I stop in the grocery store and stand right next to you in the aisles. I stare at labels and I debate for minutes which brand or type of diced tomatoes I should buy. Trust me, I’ve stared way longer than I should have. I have debated about what is healthier for my family constantly. I hope you will look at that “plain Jane” gallon of milk in your local grocery store and think of me and my family. You won’t judge it for its lack of catchy logos and fancy labels on the container. I hope you take it off the shelf, put it in your cart and feel good about taking it home and feeding it to your family. That is my hope each and everyday when I am out on the farm working.