Last winter I had a baby. My third and final. I never thought I would get to do this again. I was determined to enjoy every perfect moment of my pregnancy.
Pregnant is a sacred state. It is a state of creation that is equaled by no other state. Procreation is natural magic incomparable to any other. Pregnancy and childbirth connects us with the Earth, eternally pregnant, constantly birthing. Pregnancy connects us with every other female animal on the planet. Though they go through it in different ways, some laying eggs and nesting or birthing live young, each of us is the key to continuing our species. Through pregnancy and childbirth, we connect with one another, dancing the eternal dance that has gone on since life first appeared on Earth. Pregnant, I am Goddess. Pregnant, I am primordial.
But it was a terribly difficult pregnancy, its joy marred by the death of my grandfather and my beloved dog. The labor was worse, beginning early and then stopping. Over and over again. Only slightly breech, with the cord around his neck, my son stayed stubbornly high in my pelvis while I my body fought to push him out for hours before the doctors, fearful for his survival, made the C-section call. None of it was as I pictured it, as I hoped it would be. But the end result was the same; a beautiful new son.
As a Pagan, I probably felt much more connected to and joyful in my pregnancy than a woman from another faith might, and as a result I was probably more crushed when things didn't turn out as natural and magical as I was imagining. I also felt a the absence of someone to connect with. Don't get me wrong, I have friends, but most of my friends are beyond child bearing (as I thought I was) and some of them have never had children, nor any desire to. I had no religious community to turn to. If anything, I felt isolated from it. To talk to a Pagan mother about unusual pregnancy symptoms, Pitocin and C-sections is to hear about how our society has turned pregnancy into a medical condition and if we approached everything naturally and had home births we wouldn't have these problems. Never mind that I'd be dead 3 times over and at least 2 of my kids would be dead along with me. Motherhood has become a contest and Paganism has always been a contest. There was no way I was going to put myself in that position on purpose.
What I needed, as a middle-aged pregnant woman who spent much of her pregnancy dealing with illness and death culminating in a long, difficult, scary labor involving really alarming heart sounds coming from the fetal monitor and, ultimately, getting strapped to a table in a cold white room and cut nearly in half, was a spiritual community to push itself at me. And, of course, the Pagan community does not do that. Pagan clergy does not stop by your house after a birth or a death to see if you need someone to talk to. They do not publish announcements about such things in a bulletin that the rest of the community would even read if they did. There is no group of busy bodies who bring casseroles and knit prayer shawls. To be Pagan and pregnant is to be alone with your pregnancy, especially if you aren't one of the lucky few who does these things the way Nature intended. There is something to be said for organized religion.
Now that all of that is past me, I'm thinking, how can we as the Pagan community at large honor pregnant women, reach other to them and let them know that we do honor them as Goddess? We are a community who gives a lot of lip service to sacred feminine and honoring the Mother, how can we do it on a practical, material level? How can we fill that void left by the church ladies and the minister who knocks on the door ready to feed you, or just listen?
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