Most pregnant ladies in the United States can admit to having some hard speed bumps throughout their nine months. Maybe they had aches and pains from sitting too long at their desk job. Perhaps they slept uncomfortably on their too-soft mattress. Walking up and down the stairs might have dealt them some undesirable cramps. No matter the pains, at the end of the day, these women can at least slip into a lukewarm bath, cozy up on the couch and watch some television or call in pizza delivery if they are too tired to cook dinner.
Now, imagine that none of these relaxing options were available to your pregnant self, ever. For the expectant mothers who live off of the grid, in the wilderness with only themselves and their partner to rely on, none of these creature comforts are readily available. Their pregnancy experience is going to look drastically different than the norm because of the unconventional lifestyle that they chose to live.
Here are 20 ways being pregnant while living off the grid differs from being pregnant in mainstream America. Living off the grid and expecting is not for the faint of heart.
20 Lack of support
There is no running next door to your trusty neighbor when you fall short on milk or sugar. When you are living off the grid, you are mainly on your own all of the time. When you do it pregnant, you are on your own at a time in your life when you might most crave support. Being pregnant and off-grid means that you have to learn to rely on yourself, trust your instincts and dig deep to meet the needs that your body and your baby's body demands. Physical support aside, it can also mean going without emotional support at the drop of a dime. Your girlfriends don't live around the corner.
19 You might be more tired
Because of the constant workload that living off of the grid requires from people, pregnant women might find themselves bone tired every night. Their daily duties tend to involve a lot more physical and strenuous work that can take a toll on their bodies. There is no Netflix and couch surfing at the end of the day for these expectant women. It's a difficult life for sure, but many of the mothers who live it swear that the benefits outweigh the struggles. I'm not sure I could do pregnancy without a warm bath and delivery food service at the end of the night.
18 There is no "me time"
Pregnant ladies living in mainstream America swear by "me time." They need a second away from the constant demands of their family and their pregnancy, so they take an afternoon and stroll the mall, get their nails done or stop into a cafe for a decaf latte. They might put the kids on the bus and take a nap to recharge their pregnant batteries. Women who choose to live off of the land don't get that "me time." Not only is there nowhere to relax, but the existing kids are probably at home all day and are probably homeschooled by their pregnant mothers.
17 Relying on natural remedies for relief
Just because you are living off the earth's bounty doesn't mean that a pregnant woman should go wandering around the woods picking every herb and plant that looks good. Pregnant women have to be extra careful when they are ingesting what they find in nature. Some plants and herbs can be harmful to an expectant mother. These ladies of the land should make sure they know what they are eating and how much of it can more substantial. Just because it comes from the earth doesn't mean it is necessarily safe.
16 Prepare to feed your baby the natural way
When it comes to feeding your baby, fed is forever best. Some moms exclusively breastfeed, and others go full formula. Either way is wonderful so long as your baby's needs are met. Women in the wilderness might be more apt to feed from their bodies for several reasons. Hiking it up to a grocery store to purchase formula can be tricky when you are living out in the elements. Having hot water to sterilize bottle might also not be an option. Breastfeeding is far cheaper and the most natural option of feeding available, making it attractive to couples living off the grid.
15 Less frequent trips to the doctor
When women live in mainstream America, they usually visit the doctor's office once a month during the first few months of pregnancy. Towards the end of the experience, women might be in every other week or even every week to makes sure everything is alright with the growing baby. Living out in the middle of nowhere can cut down on the many trips to the doctor's office that pregnant women make. Many of these ladies use a local midwife to help them or have a completely hands-off pregnancy, relying on their intuition and knowledge.
14 A home birth might be in your future
There are indeed plenty of mothers-to-be out there who live off the grid and deliver their babies in hospitals. Living off of the land, yet still craving the comfort and security a hospital provides when delivering a child isn't unheard of. That said, home births are much more common. These couples have moved out into the wilderness for a good reason. They are precisely down with the creature comforts and services that most of us take for granted. When giving birth out in the forest, couples will want to be as prepared as possible, equipped with fresh towels, clean linens, plenty of firewood, and hot, clean water.
13 Know what you are putting into your body
Ingesting herbs has to be with the greatest of caution when pregnant. Not every leafy green is equal in the world of herbal remedy. Herbs that are foraged from the earth aren't the only thing pregnant women have to consider carefully though. They must make sure they have a clean and safe water supply at all times. They also have to take special care in making sure all eggs, and dairy products are properly refrigerated so that sickening food bacteria doesn't occur. Eating for two while living off of the land can be done, so long as special attention is paid to it.
12 Tending home while pregnant can be difficult in certain weather
Staying at the right temperature is not an easy task for a pregnant lady. Now imagine that you live most of your life outside in the harsh elements. Some people living off of the grid must be out in frigid temps for extended periods or working the land under the blazing hot sun for the majority of the day. This heavy lifting is part of the gig that they signed up for. Gestating women might take extra care when planning daily outfits and layering up for for the day's work activities. An overheated pregnant lady or a cold expectant mother is not something anyone wants.
11 Make sure your water source is clean and always available
While woman families living out in nature have wells and systems that allow for clean water to be readily available when inside the home or on the property, not all off the grid families have such a "luxury." Some expectant moms will have to travel to a nearby water source and collect water. Water gathered from a natural source always needs to be boiled so that it is safe for drinking. Furthermore, pregnant woman off grid need to have plenty of H2O available, Becoming dehydrated while pregnant can be extremely dangerous for both mom and baby.
10 Creature comforts look very different living off the grid
When pregnant women live in a modern world full of technology and convenience, they consider things like delivery pizza and shopping online creature comforts. These things don't exist for women who are living off of the grid. Those ladies consider simple things like having warm water to bath in or solar powered lighting, or even a propane-fueled refrigerator creature comforts. Imagine being pregnant and not having a heating source in the middle of winter, or the ability to keep daily and meat products cold in the summer months. Nope.
9 Be prepared for EVERYTHING
When you live in a modern home and can drive ten minutes to a hospital when your water breaks, you don't have too much to prepare for. Once you get settled into the hospital, you can call a neighbor to feed your cat, your mother or girlfriend can bring you your hospital bag if you forgot it and you'll be home in a few days, baby in tow. The hospital staff takes care of everything you need once you arrive. When you are pregnant and living out in the wilderness, you have to be prepared for anything at all times. Daunting right? During those final months, you'll not want to chance running out of clean water, a heating course, firewood or blankets. Gathering those supplies while laboring would be near impossible.
8 Dress for the elements
A pregnant woman's body temperature often goes a bit haywire. They become hot and sweaty, (thanks hormones) or chilly and miserable. On-grid mommies can adjust the temperature controls in their home to suit their temperature needs with a simple click of a button. Off-grid mothers can not. Sure they can throw another log on the fire or grab a wool blanket to curl up in, but they have to learn to dress for the elements. Dressing in layers becomes critical and making sure clothes to keep you either cool or snug becomes essential. You don't want to find the temperature in the negative numbers and realize that your outdoor boots and socks are still wet.
7 You might have to squeeze into pre-pregnancy clothes for the whole nine months
It's not like you can just run on over to the mall once your belly pops, or order cute outfits online after you cross the threshold between cute belly and enormous belly. When you are living off of the land, you are stuck with what you have in regards to clothes. Pregnant women have to learn how to take their pre-pregnancy garments and make them work for their growing bump. This sudden change in body shape and size might mean finding tips and hacks to stretch the belly area or cutting up old shirts and sewing them into something larger. Suddenly your husband's flannel shirts are going to look very accommodating.
6 Off-grid mothers might have to create extra space
When you live off the grid, living space is tight, really tight. The idea behind off-grid living is to simplify one's lifestyle and not live extravagantly. This shift in lifestyle usually means more land and smaller housing accommodations. These adventurous people don't have spare rooms to turn into nurseries hanging out at the end of the hall. When a new addition is set to arrive, parents who live off the land have to get very creative when it comes to making some designated baby space. They might end up sharing a bedroom with the new baby or converting a small corner or mudroom into an infant-ready area.
5 Moms to be might have to use extra caution moving around
These ladies aren't just walking from the car to the office building or the couch to the fridge, they are out in rugged terrain helping with physically demanding chores that their families depend on them for. Because a pregnant woman's center of gravity shifts during the nine months of incubating, women living off-grid have to take extra precautions when they are going about with their day to day chores. Even walking around on uneven, packed earth can create a safety hazard for these ladies. These expecting women have to take extra precautions when moving about their environment so that no harm comes to their growing baby.
4 Even doing laundry may require a second set of hands
Off the grid mamas-to-be aren't merely throwing a load of towels into the washing machine and then into the dryer, they are bending over washboards or down by a river trying to remove soil and grit from the family's linens. Doing the family laundry is a taxing chore for many off-grid lovers. The entire process takes time and is a far more physical activity than many people realize. With a giant belly in the way, even something like washing clothes might become an enormous challenge out in the wilderness. Have fun cleaning out those cloth diapers in a few months!
3 Transportation can become uncomfortable
If you are living way off of the beaten path, then you probably aren't sitting up front in a midsized sedan when going from point a to point b. You are likely bumping along on the back of a four-wheeler instead. Add a big old belly and a whole lot of pitted earth into the mix, and you have the makings for an uncomfortable and dangerous ride. Chances are you won't be doing a whole lot of off-roading as you near the end of your off-grid pregnancy. It is not comfortable, nor is it very safe. Considering thinking about how a car seat is going to fit on the back of an offroad vehicle.
2 Hunting and gathering versus heading to the grocery store
Pregnant women are big fans of snacking, and the thought of being with child and not having a readily available meal makes most of us women living on the grid want to cry. Off the grid, mommies might have to let the hunting alone in the final months of pregnancy. They might also find things like pickings berries suddenly painful and uncomfortable. Sitting and squatting for long periods can take a toll on an expectant woman's body. Off-grid preggos might find themselves daydreaming of the good old days when they could use their iPhone or computer to put in a food delivery order.
1 The parenting experience is viewed by some as a "lazy" approach
Somehow, living off-grid is seen by some folks as lazy. We aren't exactly sure how the minds of these specific people became so warped because no one works as hard as those living off the land, but it might be because off-grid people are not traditional and by all means unconventional. They don't go to regular jobs and earn a paycheck. They don't pay taxes and work for the common good of a community. What they do is provide for themselves and their families from sun up until sundown. That is hardly lazy in our minds, in fact, it is the opposite of lazy.
Sources: gettingthegoodlife.com, dailymail.co.uk, offthegridnews.com, practicalselfreliance.com, sleddogslow.com