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The Magic of Pregnancy (or: If You Need Me, I'll Be Throwing Up and Peeing at the Same Time)

Check it out--I'm pregnant with my second daughter! Incidentally, I've been too sick to blog for the past six months. It's worth it in the long run, right?

My first pregnancy was pretty textbook, but this one's been rough. The nausea and fatigue of the first trimester lasted until week 20 or so, at which point my uterus sprouted a new fibroid that sent me to the ER with pain and preterm labor symptoms. Since then, I've been working from home a couple days a week and taking it easy, but my body seems to have skipped over the high-energy period of the second trimester and gone straight to the constant exhaustion of the third trimester.

For those of you who haven't experienced pregnancy, a lot of the symptoms and terms I tossed out above might seem foreign. (What on earth is a fibroid? you may be wondering.) Those of you who venerate the Goddess yet are unfamiliar with common pregnancy symptoms are part of a strange outcome of a goddess movement steeped in a nuclear-family-based Puritan culture: the sanitation of fertility and the female body.

Image: nude woman with the earth as her pregnant belly. The full moon is behind her.The vast majority of the goddess art produced by modern Pagan artists depicts women with supermodel bodies, a situation that I hope we can all agree is problematic. Even when a goddess is depicted as pregnant, she adheres to a pretty specific trope: she's almost always holding her belly, often smiling beatifically, appearing physically healthy and comfortable. Don't get me wrong--we preggos definitely have plenty of those moments, especially when someone's giving us compliments! But Paganism's conception of pregnancy and fecundity, so often relegated to the realm of the abstract and symbolic, doesn't do justice to the real, messy, dirty, smelly, embodied experience of growing a human being.

This dissonance really hit home for me the weekend my second fibroid appeared. On the first day came the pain: a stabbing feeling that spread to menstrual-like cramps and then contractions. After they made sure the baby was fine, they sent me home with some pain medication that didn't really work. The next day, I started throwing up. As I was kneeling in front of the toilet and heaving, I noticed something unnerving: every time I retched, I peed a little. Retch, pee. Retch, pee. Even through the pain and the misery and the anxious realization that I was going to have to go back to the hospital, a little voice in the back of my head mused, "Well, this is new."

You just don't see enough art depicting the Goddess throwing up while peeing.

Here's some more stuff you don't see:

  • The Goddess wolfing down an entire jar of olives because she craves the salt.
  • The Goddess's ankles swelling into elephant feet.
  • The Goddess gingerly tending to her hemorrhoids.
  • The Goddess's ever-increasing flood of vaginal secretions.
  • The Goddess's linea nigra, or her network of suddenly visible blood vessels in her stomach and breasts. (Probably only applies to lighter-skinned goddesses.)
  • The Goddess's stretch marks.
  • The Goddess doubling over to catch her breath because there are baby feet all up in her lungs.
  • The Goddess shitting while pushing the baby out.
  • The Goddess's stitches.

And so on, and so on.

Why is it important to acknowledge--and embrace--the reality of pregnancy? Well, first off, because it brings us closer to divinity. Seriously, tamed and sanitized depictions of the Creatrix don't do us any favors. More crucially, though, ignorance about pregnant peoples' bodies leads to real and grievous harm to parents and families. For instance, a recent NPR story highlighted the fact that the US has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world. The story details the horrific death of one new mother, who slowly and painfully died of preeclampsia after giving birth. Why? Because the hospital staff simply didn't know enough about preeclampsia to recognize the very obvious symptoms. Our culture doesn't care about real female bodies, and when we let this apathy seep into our Pagan spiritualities, every one of us is impoverished by it.

So if you venerate a goddess or two, educate yourself on the realities of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and childbirth. (Yes, even virgin goddesses get their periods.) If someone in your life is pregnant, ask them how they're feeling and help them out around the house. Offer to babysit for someone. If you never see parents or pregnant people at your rituals, ask yourself why. If your rituals aren't welcoming to mothers, I can guarantee they're not welcoming to goddesses.

I'm due in late August or early September. I'm thrilled that I'm getting another daughter, and I love feeling the baby kick and squirm inside of me. I won't miss pregnancy symptoms, though, and I'll be relieved when the ordeal is over.

And yes, I promise I'll post plenty of adorable newborn pictures.


Book a sliding scale tarot reading with Asa at www.tarotbyasa.com!

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Asa is a sliding-scale tarot reader, intuitive, and witch blending pellar craft with animism and earth-based Judaism. Instagram: @tarotbyasa

Comments

  • Tacy West
    Tacy West Friday, 02 June 2017

    I laughed at the first comment "peeing and sick at the same time" which was so true of all three of my pregnancies. Mothering is an exhausting life work and not always with the return of gratitude. On a practical matter I would suggest finding a Witch that does hands on healing. In my practice I saw more success with this than anything. We have lost the circle of women that would support and help us with the single family unit. We need other women to help us with family building and that has been lost. My mothers generation had more than one age group under one roof so there were grands and aunts and special uncles there to help. Now we are on our own and it is hard on mother and child. Call on a circle of women to assist you as nature intended. A male witch in the family would make a big difference as well. It is time for women to rework the family unit so everyone can benefit from a natural family group. Make room in our homes for more people to work together. It is really more fun and worth it.

  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife Sunday, 04 June 2017

    First off, congratulations! You and I are due to deliver at around the same time -- late August -- and I'm having a girl, too! This is also my second pregnancy. So I'm very much in the same place you are right now (except for the fibroids -- ugh! Sorry to hear that). I agree with you about the need for a more realistic representation of divine mothers in the pagan community, and of human mothers in our culture at large. If being pagan is about embracing our roots and venerating the physical as well as the spiritual, mother-goddess worshipers should embrace the reality of motherhood in all its messy, awkward, uncomfortable, primal glory. Hope you're able to get some relief in this last stretch!

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