BEEF Daily

5 Ways Pregnancy Has Changed My Ability To Cowgirl Up

Five ways pregnancy has changed things around my ranch.

A few weeks ago, I announced to all of you that Tyler and I were expecting our first baby in the first week of June. We’re beyond excited, and we have enjoyed every minute of watching my belly grow, feeling the baby kick, and brainstorming names for our little cowboy or cowgirl. At 25 weeks pregnant, we are counting down the weeks until our little one arrives.

Despite all of the joys that come with being an expectant mother, there have certainly been a few downfalls that I’ve had to come to grips with. Here are five ways, some good, some bad and some just plain funny, that have changed my ability to be useful around the ranch.


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1. Being compared to a first-calf heifer.

Most women would be appalled to be compared to a bred heifer, but I’m taking it in stride. After all, that’s been my only exposure to the birthing process, and so I, too, sometimes relate this whole experience to our mama cows. Being called a “late spring-calving cow” might be an insult to some, but to me, it’s A-okay.

2. Banned from lifting heavy things.

When my doctor advised me to avoid lifting anything over 25 lbs., I immediately laughed and thought, “Umm, hey doc, a calf weighs about 80 lbs.” Since my husband works in town, I’ve traditionally taken the day shift during calving, which has required me to lift calves that needed extra attention onto the four-wheeler and haul them to the calving barn. Not only did he tell me not to lift heavy things, but not surprisingly, he also told me I wasn’t allowed to be in that close of proximity to ornery cows with new babies.

3. Having to sit on the sidelines.

My dad had three daughters, but we were raised as tomboys. Frilly things were nice, and we had our fair share of Barbie dolls, but when it came time to work cattle, we were treated the same as boys, and expected to work just as hard as any man would. The cattle business is a family affair, and so every hand was needed, even a girl's. Being the oldest, I loved being my dad’s right-hand man. Today, however, he came home to find me trying to sort a cow-calf pair into the barn, and he gave me an earful about how my job was to find trouble from the other side of the fence and call for help. Worried about his grand baby and his daughter, I got a good scolding for trying to do my usual work instead of relying on him for help.

4. My coveralls have gotten tight.

It’s been a cold winter so far, and I’ve definitely needed to bundle up every time I leave the house to check cattle or do chores. Sadly, my coveralls have gotten too tight for my expanding belly, and I’ve had to use some old baggy ones of my dad’s. The legs are too long and too bulky, making walking and climbing over slippery gates tricky. When I’m bundled up in my hand-me-down coveralls and winter coat, I definitely waddle -- something I’m not very proud to admit!

5. Getting excused from the night check.

Okay, so this one is pretty nice. Tyler has been kind enough to let his pregnant wife sleep through the night while he takes the evening calving shift. This hasn’t excused me from having to get up and help with calves born through the night, but at least I get to sleep through the peaceful nights.

I really should be embracing all of the special treatment I’ve gotten while pregnant. I’ve been able to take it easy and everyone dotes on me. For many ranch wives out there, I’m sure they would trade spots with me in a heartbeat if it meant they were cut a little slack. But I must admit, I miss the good old days when I was spry, independent and could handle things on my own. In the end, I know Baby Radke will be worth all of the trouble, and until then, I will kick back and try to enjoy the ride.

For all the moms out there, did you have to take it easy during your pregnancy? For the guys, did you stop your wife from doing her typical chores, or was it business as usual? Share your experiences in the comments section below.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 18

Gail (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

for me it was pretty much business as usual up until delivery, depending on the pregnancy. I have 9 kids so by the time the later ones arrived, we had plenty of help and I mostly supervised and/or managed from the side lines. Of course I was careful with lifting and climbing, and I did keep an eye out for the ornery cows, but pretty much kept going. It just got slower, and clumsier and yes coveralls had to go and layers of big bulky jackets were the fashion of the day! Congratulations and enjoy this season of life Oh, and once you freshen, be prepared...there will be lactation issues and comparisons too!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

I hated the entire 9 months of being pregnant. Not because I was sick but because I suddenly became fragile. I'm not one to ask for help or let anyone else do it. However, the gift of 3 healthy babies made it worth it! Wouldn't trade the experience of giving birth for anything! It's truly what God put us on Earth for. ..whether it's the first calf or your an old cow:)Good luck! And not to worry...All that work is still there after recovery!

on Feb 19, 2014

I was also compared to a first time heifer with my first child and my father-in-law told me that we didn't need to go to the Dr. becasue he had a calf puller and had delivered tons of calves. I just laughed at him and headed off to my Dr. appointment. I did a few things that I probably shouldn't of done and I look back now and think I was lucky I didn't get hurt. We have a picture of me 8.5 months pregnant and I'm done on my knees cleaning and polishing my step-kids horses hooves getting them ready for a 4-H show. Not my smartest moment but the horses hooves looked great for the show.

My then 6 year old daughter loves the cows and she is fascinated with heifers and cows. And she is proud she can tell anyone the difference between the two. My step daughter was pregnant with her 3rd baby and she told her that she wasn't a heifer any more having a baby but she was a cow having a baby. Then went on to tell her that she was still a heifer becasue she hadn't had any babies yet and that her, mom and grandma were all cows becasue we had had more than one baby. It didn't go over too well at first with her but then we all had a great laugh about it.

Gotta love farm kids and the things that they say.

Good luck on your pregnancy and enjoy the down time and the pampering. You deserve it.

Hubert Lingnau (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

My wife was a city girl when we married. She already had her first child when we moved to the farm. She learned the job extreamly fast, and worked hard on the farm. I had to give her the time off from work, because she had trouble with the pregnancy.
Everything turned out very well.

Amber Bradley (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

This is all too familiar! I'm pregnant with our third baby right now, and every single one of these hits home, especially being compared to a heifer and coveralls too tight! I often remind my hubby that since I had troubles with our first delivery, I would have been culled. :) he promised he would never 'cull' me. My OB jokes with Mark that he is so experienced delivering babies (4- legged ones), that if he (Dr.) can't get to me on time, that Mark can do it. While he is not quite up for that, he did volunteer to give me shots in my back side in order to save us two trips to Sioux Falls when I was pregnant with our second. Really enjoyed your post!

Alaina (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

Tell Tyler to be prepared to be compared to a herd bull after Baby Radke is born... We joke on our place that our "walk through" gates need to be expanded for expecting mothers and family members carrying toddlers.

If anything being preggers while working around cattle has given me a more sympathy for lactating cows.

on Feb 19, 2014

I am due the same time in June and yes it has been a challenge not being your normal go getter self. I like to do things on my own and not being able to carry a square bale is devastating. Lol good luck Amanda we will see who will calf first. :)

Allison Eliason (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

With my first baby my husband was in an advanced reproduction class and he would come home telling me exactly what I was experiencing. I told him no cow jokes once we got to the hospital- 9 months was good enough. His favorite was to tell me he would just get the calf puller! I had to have a c section and it was the doc that talked about the similarities and differences of a cow c section and mine...

Good luck! There is no better place to be a momma than out on the ranch.

Ellen (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

I hated being pregnant the whole time. I had big plans of working to the end. Mamma's going to be tough. No, belly aching because your mamma was doing this while she was pregnant with you. The whole nine yards. That didn't last so long. I toughed it out as long as I could. After six hours on a bush hog I would hurt so bad DH would have to help me get to the ground. Did I mention how inconvenient it is to have tractor work when you have to pee every thirty minutes? Checking cattle hurt so bad, but I kept trucking till I had myself in such constant pain. Stubbornly I kept trucking on till my body was so sore and worn out I was quite the crabby lady. Finally it took a fight and me sobbingly (hormones) admitting defeat.

I had all the calving jokes, clad puller, jokes. Seemed everyone we talked to had some chains we could borrow. When I asked the doctor about my pain concerns he told me my cervix measurements told to me as he was making sure everything was alright. After that DH treated the num ber like my pelvic measurements. Bragging on them. Now that was a bit embarrassing! When he told his parents about the pregnancy he just told them we were due to calve in Jan.

Now the little fellow is 3 weeks and I'm just waiting (Very Impatiently!) for the weather to break! Also his weight and height were average, DH hubby told him to nurse more and get to growing. We have to get his EPDs up. I told DH it was all his fault when our baby seemed to want to do nothing but nurse for the next three days.

Good luck!!

on Feb 19, 2014

Enjoy the pregnancy. Because when it's over, the work really starts. For everybody.

on Feb 19, 2014

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the personal experiences and antidotes, and I'm glad I'm not the only one to get compared to a bred heifer. My grandpa was the first to make the "puller and chains" joke, and Tyler has been compared to a herd bull before as my dad weighed in whether he looked like he was "calving ease" or not!

For all of the expectant mamas, be safe, take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of your pregnancies!

To all of the moms and dads who weighed in, thanks for sharing your stories.

At the end of the day, I can't wait to raise little ones on our ranch!

on Feb 19, 2014

There's no better way to raise'm.

on Feb 19, 2014

Since the 2 of us sound a lot only advise to you would be to take it easy while you can! :-) I fell off a horse at the beginning of my 2nd pregnancy and developed back problems. During my 2nd trimester I sneezed and ruptured 2 discs in my lower back (which was absolutely miserable because I threw up every morning!). I ended up having back surgery 3 weeks later which was a life saver! By the end of my pregnancy I was all healed up and I was tagging calves the morning before my daughter was born. Never underestimate the determination of a cowgirl!

I wish you MUCH better luck! :-)

Robert Gwilt (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

Congratulations Amanda So very happy for you. If you think
things have changed now wait until your baby is born. Then a
whole new life begins. How are you doing with your Gluten problem? We have three kids and now 7 grand kids and they
all are worth every penny and every moment.

on Feb 19, 2014

Still gluten-free like always. Once you get a celiacs diagnosis, there isn't much changing it. But, I get to eat a lot of beef, so who really misses the bread? Thanks for asking.

Eddie Mackay (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

While reading a Scottish farm paper I noticed a Warning to pregnant women to avoid close contact with animals that are giving birth. This was according to Sir Harry Burns - Scotland`s chief medical officer. A new one to me. The headline was Lambing warning to pregnant women.

countryhickgirl (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2014

I can so relate, except my husband would forget sometimes that I was pregnant, I did everything right up until delivery then I got sometime to relax. Best of luck, my girls love living on the farm.

John C Nyberg (not verified)
on Feb 20, 2014

My, Nancy, was baling hay the week before she had our first. I wish you and Tyler the best,as it only gets better.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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