Crops Lifestyle

Raising crops and a family: Harvest with a newborn

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Those two pink lines. Well maybe. Better check again. *holds it up against the light* I think I see two lines. *waits 24 hours after buying another pregnancy test* Pregnant. Finally. 

We had been trying for months. We decided that this month would be the last time we try for a while since the due date would be getting close to harvest time on the farm. That’s how important harvest is — you stop everything you are planning and doing (including starting a family) for harvest. 

That’s the thing, family life revolves around the farm. We miss holidays and weddings due to the farm. We alter schedules just to put the farm first. Why would it be any different when starting a family? In the back of your mind, you know the farm comes first — that is if you don’t want to feel like a single parent. 

This is not a hit piece on harvest or partners that have to be away from the family to get the job done. If anything, this is a love letter to harvest time, to the farm, to my husband. These are words that I wish I could have read nine months prior to reassure myself that everything would be OK. To parents, soon to-be parents, and other family members: You can do this. You are strong. This season of life is one of the most exciting things you will experience. 

The struggle

As most mothers-to-be prepare for labor for nine months, I was trying to prepare for harvest. I was worried for nine months about what would happen once harvest started. How was I going to raise a tiny human while my better half was in the combine for 14 hours? How was I going to tackle postpartum while my husband worried about me at home? What was I supposed to do with a newborn all day? 

We welcomed our bundle of joy on July 23. Right after we brought him home, we had to go back to the hospital for some minor complications. Thankfully, everything worked itself out, but we spent most of the first week of my baby’s life in the hospital. We brought him home for the second time, and his dad had to go back to work. He had to prepare for the most crucial season on the farm — harvest. It was happening. I was officially a farm momma — a title that I hold with responsibility and pride. 

With that responsibility, you either rise to the challenge or you back down. As farm moms know, there is no backing down — we signed up for this. On top of interrupted sleep schedules, you have to adjust to going to doctor’s visits alone. You FaceTime so your partner can see the baby in the daylight, instead of always asleep when they get home. You pray for rain harder than you ever have before — but not often because you want them to finish quickly. It is all a balancing act — an act that feels lonely at times, but when you look around, you see others just like yourself.

You reap what you sow

“You reap what you sow.” This quote has a deeper meaning than just planting and harvest. It is all about showing up and working hard — exactly what being a parent is all about. 

I found myself cooking suppers that are easy to reheat while listening to newborn podcasts. While the little one napped, I made cookies to bring out to the combine as an excuse to get out of the house and see everyone. 

I tried to make the best of every situation. While my body was recovering from birth, I found a new awe and appreciation for the female body. While my newborn was crying for no apparent reason, I reminded myself how I longed to meet and hold him for nine months. While my partner was in the field, I thought of the example he is setting for our son, one that I could not be more excited to pass down.

The joys of harvest with a newborn 

I was able to take some time for maternity leave, and during that time, I cherished every second. We were able to make multiple trips to the farm and ride the combine. Our son could be a fourth-generation farmer. I got to be there during his first tractor and combine ride, a memory I will never forget. Who else can say they got to change a diaper blowout in the combine?

A mother’s love is strong, but a father’s work ethic is unmatched. I never saw my husband work harder so he could try to make it home before I had to put our child to sleep. Even though he was home after the sun set and out the door before the sun rose, he would help out during nighttime feedings. We knew the hardships we signed up for, and I would do it all over again. 

But during this tough time, I also had a joy in my life that I have never had before. Yes, harvest is always tough — single, married, or as a parent. However, I found comfort in the fact that this was the first harvest that I wasn’t alone — I always had my little guy with me. 

I found out that farming and harvest are just a season. However, family is a lifetime. 

 

Kacie Hulshof, the Associate Editor for AGDAILY, is a farmer’s daughter and farmer’s wife, but most importantly an advocate for farmers and ranchers. Growing up on a farm she was able to experience all the joys and hardships that comes with that life. Her passion for agriculture grew so strong she decided to dedicate her life to telling the story of the agriculture industry. 

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