Mama Pig
Mama Pig



Recently we went to our state fair and got to partake in all of the festivities.  I had no idea that you could possibly deep fry so many things.  From deep fried Twinkies and Oreos to deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Talk about a heart attack on a platter!


We got to see children flying through the air with zero gravity trampoline machines and watch my daughters feet hover above ground in a centripetal force ride.  The highlight of the day for me was going to visit the petting zoo.  I loved seeing the chickens, the goats, and the lambs.


But what impressed and disturbed me the most was this rather large sow who appeared to be attacked by about 8 or 9 little piglets.  They were maneuvering and jockeying for position, trying to grab a teat to suckle for nourishment.  The mama pig had been sleeping somewhat fitfully but sleeping none the less when one overzealous piglet rammed her near the buttock to get better access.  The poor mama got up, meandered over to the opposite side of the pen, and tried to lie down to avoid being suckled. I don’t know if that mama pig was just tired, irritated or little bit of both, but every so often she would get up and move away from her piglets.  But where she went the little piglets followed.


Eventually, she did get some peace because they were finally satiated and snuggled in next to her, no longer trying to feed.  The mama was able to return to her slumber.  While the entire scene was laughable at some points, I remember feeling such a great deal of empathy for mama pig.  As a mom, I can recall times where I have felt pulled on from every direction, both literally and figuratively.  I recall one busy day where the little bean was tugging my leg and the big bean was on my arm, both requesting attention that I did not feel that I had the energy to give.


I felt tired and I just wanted to get away (remember that Calgon commercial?).  But like the mama pig and the little piglets, in that moment they needed nourishment, time, and attention.  When moments like this occur, I recall to mind that this is part of my purpose.  To provide nourishment to feed their little minds, to comforting arms hug their bodies, and loving actions to open their eyes to the love of God.  If I consistently wander away or push them away, they never get any of those things.


When I accept my calling, I can intentionally get still and focus on where my source lies.  I get in a posture of rest and resist the urge to run here and there, to and fro.   I have learned to take time for myself, to rest in sacred self-care, like mama pig, so that when there are needs, I can meet them fully.  In this restful place, I find that I have enough to sustain myself and give to others.  Then, they are satiated and I have fulfilled my purpose.  I can’t say I never have those exhausted moments, but now they are a different kind of exhausted, like after you finished a workout when earlier in the day you were toying with putting it off.  Your body is tired, but at the same time you feel productive and rejuvenated because of what you just accomplished.  To my utter delight, my piglets are now learning to follow my lead, finding their own rhythm and the importance of self-care.

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Next Steps:



Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you often find yourself like mama pig was initially, so tired she was avoiding her little piglets? Have you found your rhythm to nurture yourself and others?
  • What do you do when you come to a place of tiredness, or exhaustion? What things have you learned in order to prevent yourself from entering a state of overwhelm?



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Bergina Isbell, MD is the mother of two children on the Autism spectrum and finds joy in the journey with them.  She is the founder of the Autism Alignment Movement, a collaboration of individuals and organizations making a difference in the lives of those with special needs.

To learn more about her, visit

To learn more about the Autism Alignment Movement, visit


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