This is the woman who was completely certain that her pregnant sows should and would have their piglets safely in the surroundings of the pig houses provided and lovingly prepared for them.
Minnie-Mum obliged with alacrity and, at the beginning of last week, ensconced herself in the new open plan pig shelter which she and Maxi had been sharing and produced 8 healthy piglets. However, her Mother, Maxi-Mum, had other ideas.
Having lost the open shelter to her daughter and, spurning the stone built pig house next door, she was discovered running around the pig paddock, making a vast grass house in the fresh air with no protection whatsoever. Lured to the pig house with food, it was hoped she would redefine her choices and nest here. No such luck.
In labour, severely uncomfortable and desperate to have her babies she was extremely anxious and agitated. Now, deprived of the open paddock by a wooden gate, she ran around the acre pig pen interviewing suitable locations to make her baby nook. This corner or that, this tree or the other; she ran up and down the pen with grass and straw in her mouth, trying out each individual spot.
But this is the woman who wanted to be in control. Who knew with certainty that Maxi needed to have her young within the four walls of the pig house’s security to protect the vulnerable new borns. The woman who became increasingly stressed by her pigs’ antics. Her tension matched only by the pigs as water buckets flew through the air and hooves thundered, as fear and foreboding intensified.
What is it about certainty that blinds us to possibility? Normally it is our set ideas that provide specific responses to certain situations. Such as, pregnant pig needs to have her piglets in pig house. Pregnant pig needs to do as she is told, only, who argues with one 150 kilo pig? Fear creates the motivating force that has us clinging to our convictions of certainty. Nonetheless at a certain juncture, certainty morphs into uncertainty. A light bulb moment suggests that perhaps the pig should be allowed to do what she wants. Despite the uncertainty of the situation perhaps interfering with a natural instinct is not right, however much we think we know best.
This is the woman who had to forego her preconditioned ideas and judgements. Who had to say - whatever you want is fine by me - even if you lose some of your offspring to predators. As she did.
This is the woman that found the tiny cadavers, just skin and bone, of four piglets after large black Ravens had pecked out their eyes and eaten their innards. Who a few hours later, discovered Minnie-Mum with her ear ripped open, her neck and shoulders bitten and her body spotted in blood from a hormonal pig fight. Who is furious with Maxi and stomped around the pigpen, yelling at her for turning everything on its head and creating so much anxiety and uncertainty. Not-knowing what will happen next? Concern about how best to protect the babies and how to stop her beating up her daughter. But in a brief space of time, uncertainty can transform into certainty once more when a new plan and purpose comes into view.
So now, this is the woman who routinely builds up the straw walls around the remaining little family of 8 piglets, who laces the pig food with homeopathic remedies for hormonal balance and the easing of emotional tension. Who is pleased and relieved to see that Maxi has returned to a quiet and relaxed sow taking care of her piglets with sensitivity as she creates a barricade with her body and hides the piglets in the straw.
I am the woman who leans over the side of Minnie's pig shelter to admire the tranquillity of her abode and gorgeous plump piglets. And who cannot but be impressed by Maxi-Mum’s tenacious caring of her family in the open. Accepting that perhaps, giving in to uncertainty may hopefully not be such a bad thing after all.