Today we visited a local dairy farm to buy 10litres of fresh cow’s milk to make paneer (cheese) for a celebration gathering the next day. We visit the farm monthly to do this. It is situated in the hills beyond our house.
We arrived near the end of the milking – only a handful of cows were left to milk. Our son vanished with the local farmer’s son to feed the calves, rake the cowdung and explore the farm tractor. We often go and pet the calves and let them suck our hands and arms.
The farmhand was hussling about 6 cows behind the fence and another was carrying a young calf and hussling another one to a pen behind an iron gate. More came beyond. Two small calves were still wet from being born! About 3 were born that same day and the others were 2-3 days old. You could see the remnants of their wet umbilical cord stump hanging. The mother cows (some had afterbirth still hanging out from her behind) were having their udders emptied of colostrum (that that was left after feeding their calves).
One cow kept avoiding the fence and ran beyond and then to the left and right and back wildly. Getting more and more agitated and once or twice I felt myself ducking for shelter as this large, heavy and beautiful creature seemed to leer towards me – doing everything she could to avoid the fence. And everything she could to get to her new baby calf.
Her natural instinct was so powerful she seemed almost mad with need to retrieve her offspring she had just birthed. The calf was behind another gate – in a small storeroom. I learnt she was a first time mother and was not used to this system. As the others were.
Eventually with more help she ran into the large pen, sliding on the cow dung, landing on her side and retrieving her balance and composure swiftly back onto her feet – covered on her one side with the mud and dung. Not bad physical feat for a mother just given birth.
The impact of this instinct was profound to say the least. Her intense need to be with her child – was not explained by her comprehension, she NEEDED to be with him and her body made her do whatever it took to be with her newborn.
We waited until after they were milked and re-united with their calves.
Making our way home – I realised more how this maternal instinct is an incredibly powerful, profound and inexplicable survival instinct in all of us too. I realised how the more we give our bodies over to medical authority the more we become deprived of feeding and supporting this instinct. The more we allow ourselves to realise and tap into and trust this instinct – it can drive our pregnancy, labour and birth and parenting.
We are mothers, we are connected to a primal instinctive mother earth and divine mother that will only harvest and guide our instincts to grow our children perfectly, as nature ordained.
Trust ourselves. We know what and how to do it. As mothers there is a connection to a supreme magnificent mother nature that should be the only higher authority in our lifecycle.