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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