There are those who say that the gods and goddess of yore were first realized by humans to explain the awe-inspiring and powerful natural forces that shape our existence. Few experiences, I would argue, are more awe-inspiring or powerful than childbirth. While countless societies throughout history have had deities upon whom pregnant, hoping to be pregnant, and laboring mothers could call, I believe there's an entire pantheon of very specialized gods and goddesses. In other words, there are the labor and delivery higher powers you'll try to summon when you're pushing, because when in the throes of childbirth you will literally take all the damn help you can get.
Women in the middle of actual childbearing have a tough row to hoe, and birth is not for the timid or feint of heart. There's a lot of very big, messy, physical and emotional labor to be had, after which you're expected to slide right into the very difficult work of recovering and mothering and childrearing. Divine intervention would be extremely helpful. Indeed, while in the process of birth, it sometimes seems that a goddess is the only entity in the known universe who could actually manage what your body, baby, and medical team are asking of you.
So, you may ask, "Who are these labor and delivery higher powers and how can I get their attention?" Well, I'm glad you're interested enough to inquire. Allow me to introduce you to the crew, who I may or may not (but definitely did) summon when I was bringing a child into the world.
Holditus: The God Of Not Pooping
Holditus is one of the more elusive labor and delivery gods and is often deaf to the desperate cries of even his most fervent adherents. Many a pushing but dainty mother will call to Holditus to help her avoid dropping a deuce in front of her midwife, doctor, and/or nurse. Because honestly, who wants to poop in front of anyone, let alone medical professionals and whatever loved ones you’ve brought along to witness the birth of your beloved child? Here’s how to pray to Holditus, if you feel so inclined:
Benevolent Holditus! Look upon your servant with pity. Give her the strength to keep her hips open and her butthole firmly clenched. Loving Holditus, please see to it that only the contents of my uterus, and not anything else, are expelled here today.
F*ckitus: The God Of Not Caring That You've Pooped
F*ckitus visits most women who were not given the blessing of Holditus. After the prayer of the former turns out to have been for nought, F*ckitus will swoop in and, with his powers, instill in a woman who just crapped in the general direction of a healthcare worker, a sense of calm acceptance. It is only right to thank him with the following prayer:
Praise be to you, merciful F*ckitus. Your perspective gives us strength. Your chill knows no bounds. Yea, like our favorite yoga instructor, you always let us know that we deserve not your judgment or scorn, nor the judgment or scorn of others. Also, thanks for relieving some of that pressure, because, for real, yo: every little bit helps.
Contracticus: The God Of Contractions
A powerful and mean-spirited god, Contracticus’ main goal is to ensure that labor sucks as much humanly possible. He’s like Loki, Hades, and your Nice Guy Turned MRA Activist ex-boyfriend, all rolled into one. In praying to Contracticus, your best bet is to not let him know he’s getting to you. It’s not actually going to make things better, but it’ll make them more bearable.
Wicked Contracticus, whatever man. We’re cool. I’m just, ow! Ow! Ow! I’m just going to breathe through this. Just like my doula showed me. And exhale. OK. And we’re relaxed. Fare the well, Contracticus. Until we meet again. In about a minute.
Epiduralia: The Goddess Of Epidurals
Epiduralia is called upon by approximately 61 percent of women giving birth and, in my experience, she is the most beautiful, sweet, and amazing goddess in the entire labor and delivery pantheon. Filling your body (specifically via your spine) with the magical ability to not feel the painful wrath of Contracticus, her sworn enemy with whom she is locked in an eternal battle. Here is how to pay homage to Epiduralia, because she freakin' deserves it:
Epiduralia, we thank you for your bountiful gifts and praise your glorious victory over the evil Contracticus. May you never submit. May your reign last forever and ever.
Tearah: The Goddess Of Tearing
Speaking from experience, I can assure you that tearing, while normal, is not fun. I mean, we are talking about your most delicate and intimate bit of anatomy here, and it’s not like you never use your vagina again. In fact, that could very well be a high traffic area in the future. So it makes sense to call upon Tearah and implore her to keep all your bits and bobs intact. Here’s how:
Mighty Tearah, look upon your servant in pity. Yea though I push from my loins an impossibly large baby human, grant it the consideration, through your magnanimity, not to bust up my birth canal. If, in your wisdom, you see it fit to ignore my pleas, I humbly ask that you keep the pains of my labor to a first degree tear. Ain’t nobody got time for third or fourth degree tears.
Elastetes: The God Of Vaginal Stretching
The brother of Tearah, Elastetes is your guy when your vagina needs to be reminded that it’s designed to stretch. To pray to Elastetes, try the following:
Great Elastetes, we thank you for this versatile and strong vagina. We know, through your wisdom and solid craftsmanship that this vajay can weather the storm. We humbly ask you, noble Elastetes, to grant our vagine the continued perfection of design to accommodate our enormous infant and, as quickly as thou wilt, get back into shape.
Flamera: The Goddess Of Crowning And The Ring Of Fire
Many women, mostly those who choose not to call upon Epiduralia, will feel the wrath of Flamera, who controls the painful burning sensation experienced when a baby is crowning. Here’s how to communicate with her, if you even can:
Ahh! What the f*ck?! What the actual f*ck!?!? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! My vagina is on fire! Make it stop! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
(Yeah, there’s not talking to this one. Don’t try.)
Kegeles: The God Of The Pelvic Floor
Ruler of the pelvic floor, Kegeles, can be called upon before birth and prayers (and exercises that bear his name) can seriously help in all aspects of birth. Unfortunately, a lot of women (including yours truly, my first time around) are lax in their piety leading up to the big day. Still, one can always attempt a last ditch appeal for his help, like so:
Wise and mighty Kegeles, grant thy kingdom, my pelvic floor, the strength I was too lazy to develop on my own time. Foolish am I, Kegeles, for ignoring my OB-GYN/midwife/doula, who chided me for my lack of faith whenever I told her I hadn’t done my kegels that week. Forgive me in my disbelief, sage master, and help a girl out. Please.
Restrainemus: The God Of Not Losing Your Sh*t On All The Idiots In This Room Right Now
Emotions run high during childbirth, and sometimes those emotions can completely take over in completely unhelpful, non-constructive ways. Now this isn’t to say you, as a birthing mother, should be focusing too much energy on remaining polite or “ladylike.” But sometimes keeping it together is helpful to everyone, especially and including you. To call upon Restrainemus, say the following prayer:
Gentle Restrainemus: stay my hand in smacking every single one of these morons. Hold my tongue from screaming at all of them, from the lackluster nurse to the OB-GYN who just made a stupid joke to my partner, who knocked me up, whom I would love, O Restrainemus, to smack into tiny little pieces. Seriously, look at that jerk. Look at his stupid horrible face. I know, dear god, that this is not helpful or rational, and so I call upon you to keep me from ripping into these dumbasses with the ferocity of a rabid wolf.
Fortitudesia: The Goddess of Continued Strength
Even a quick birth requires a lot of fortitude, which is why laboring mothers are smart to call on Fortitudesia. This goddess is the one cheering you on and giving you the strength not to give up. Whether or not you pray to her, she visits all woman in the process of delivering a child.
No need to pray to her. Just sing Beyoncé songs. Fortitudesia loves Beyoncé.