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Pagan Pregnancy

It’s been almost five months since I got that second pink line, so I guess it’s about time I “came out” to the blogging world.

I am totally pregnant!

Whatever the exact moment, or series of moments, that lead me to this one, I have arrived here.  Big belly swollen, crib assembled in a half-finished nursery, books on childbirth, breastfeeding and baby’s first year stacked next to my bed, a prenatal belly dance video in my DVD player.

For modern witch, pregnancy symbolizes the special transition from Maid to Mother.

With the last months of free time and sleeping ahead of me, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the way my spiritual life shapes my perspective on pregnancy.  Here’s what I’ve found especially amazing.

My dream life is as incredible as it’s ever been.   Dreams crack open the profoundness of every day experience.  Things we give little thought to during the daylight hours are illuminated brilliantly under the moon.  For these reasons, the adept witch pays special attention to the gift of the unconscious mind.  But pregnancy dreams, for me, have been truly magical.  Never in my life have I had visions like this.  Some are deeply saddening, and some are extraordinarily uplifting.  People often talk about the chaotic emotional ups and downs of pregnancy, but the tumultuous upheaval they describe hits me most powerfully at night.

I am destined to be crunchy.  I can’t help it.  Already, my Pinterest account abounds with DIY from-scratch baby food.  Cloth diapering doesn’t look so bad to me.  Glass baby bottles and breastfeeding paraphernalia feature prominently on my registry.  I plan to wear my infant everywhere like one of those boho chicks in the long, flowery skirts.   The drawers in the nursery already contain several varieties of homemade, organic, beeswax-based diaper rash cream.  My mother thinks I’m nuts.  She swears I will give up on all of it before my kid sits up right.  Maybe I will.  But my effort to go the natural route is definitely a side effect of years of nature-based spirituality.

The “hearth and home” contains new meaning for me.   We all hear about the “nesting instinct” in pregnant women and even men facing impending fatherhood.  But this manifests differently for me as a pagan.  I sometimes stop to laugh at the absurdity of these concerns.  Where will the baby’s altar go?  What’s the best way to smudge a room without exposing a newborn to smoke or toxins?  How do I know this protection charm isn’t a choking hazard?  (The answer is: everything is a choking hazard.)

I think about rituals from a different perspective.  The traditions I developed over the years and continue to maintain around Sabbats and Esbats now inspire questions like, “How will I share this with my child?  How do I turn this into something a child will understand and appreciate?”

Pregnancy is a unique time for meditation.  The mind/body connection is powerful during pregnancy.  I know this sounds a little nutty, but I swear the baby can hear my thoughts.  Or something.  It’s hard to explain in words, but I don’t exactly know where I end and the baby begins.  I just know that for the moment, we are one, and it feels awesome.

The entire experience of pregnancy confirms to me that giving to birth to, or even adopting a baby is not essential to the mythical transition from Maid to Mother.  After all, women without children move on from Maid status at some point between 16 and menopause.  Maybe you consider marriage the turning point—or maybe you never married at all.  Maybe you just realized at some point that people no longer referred to you as a “girl,” but as a woman.  Or maybe you “gave birth” to a baby of a different kind: you wrote your first book, started a business or bought a house and turned it into a home.  The tendency of new mothers to suddenly see women without children as “lost” or “lacking something” perpetually annoyed me before I became pregnant, and it still does.

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