by Heather Lang
Failure means you’re trying. While the saying is supposed to bring comfort, hearing it doesn’t always make it easier to accept our failures.
Failure happens. And it’s hard to shake.
It was a cold October early morning. I had just gotten to the barn to check on a sow that was supposed to farrow soon. She was in her farrowing crate (to keep both her and her babies safe), she had straw, along with heat lamps and heat pads had been plugged in for the piglets (to keep them safe and warm). I walked in that morning to something a farmer never wants to see. She had decided to move all the straw out of her pen, so she was laying directly on the freezing cement floor (we don’t have heated floors in our barn) and gave birth to many piglets on that same freezing cement floor.
I rushed over to the piglets, swooped them up in my arms, wiped them off, and put them on the heat pad that was under the heat lamps to try to get their body temperature up. After doing so, I went back over to the sow to watch her and noticed she was having trouble. This meant I needed to assist her in birthing the remaining piglets. Because some of the piglets were born on the frigid cement floor before I got there, she gave birth to 16 piglets and nine survived. Was this the outcome we wanted? NO. Was it a failure? Not completely, as we were able to save the sow and the nine that did live.
I was an emotional wreck afterward. I was mad. I was sad. I was heartbroken. I was tired. I completely understand the circle of life. I understand that things happen. But I often wonder why I get so emotional after losing an animal. Is it because of the cuteness of them? Is it because of all the time, work and energy we put into them? Sure, it is, but to pinpoint exactly why I get so emotional is because it takes me back. I have suffered multiple miscarriages in my adult life, and it made me feel like a failure.
“Failure means you’re trying” Yes. Hearing that didn’t make it any easier. But you continue to fight.
So, in those moments when I am fighting to keep animals alive, I fight like crazy. I try to make sure I am doing everything within my resources to make sure that our animals are safe and healthy.