A reader asks, “I just found out I’m pregnant, and one of my friends is telling me that means I need to put my magical practice on hold, because it could hurt the baby. Is this true? Do I need to stop all forms of ritual and spellwork for the next eight months?”
You know, we get lots of emails here at About Pagan/Wiccan that run along the lines of “My friend told me not to do [whatever] because it could make [bad thing x, y or z] happen.” And yet, no one ever tells you WHY your practice of whatever could make bad thing x, y, or z happen. These cautionary tales take on lives of their own, and so there are entire generations of people living in fear of doing stuff for no discernible reason.
As always, if your particular traditions says "Don't Do This," then don't do it. Otherwise, use your best judgment.
Let’s begin by looking at this from a magical perspective. What, exactly, might you be doing magically that’s harmful? Because if you’re doing magic that might be harmful to an unborn infant, it’s quite possible that said magic is harmful to you as well. And if that’s the case, to quote a famous meme, Ur Doin it Rong.
In most magical systems, people learn pretty quickly about the fundamentals of psychic self-defense, such as grounding and shielding. For the most part, if you’re doing something that’s harmful, on a magical level, it’s going to be harmful whether you’re pregnant or not. If you’re not taking advantage of basic magical self-defense practices, you should be.
The flip side of this, of course, is that what most people consider magical practice is rarely dangerous at all, either on a mundane or a magical level. Doing a ritual honoring the goddess of your tradition should be perfectly fine - unless she’s a goddess that likes to eat babies. Doing spellwork to, for instance, bring money your way is not going to harm you or your baby one iota. Pregnancy probably isn't the best time to decide you want to learn how to invoke spirits or elemental entities, but the majority of folks in the Pagan community don't spend a lot of time on this anyway.
One caution that you do need to keep in mind, however, is keeping your body healthy physically - be careful handling herbs and essential oils during your pregnancy, because there are many that can cause complications. Beyond that, however, I’d say you’re in good shape.
Another way to look at this is from a practical level. Think about it this way. Three or four hundred years ago, in the days when birth control consisted only of “Sorry, not tonight,” women spent a LOT of time pregnant. Infant mortality was high, and so it was not out of the ordinary for women to be pregnant as often as once a year. If those women were practicing witchcraft, would it have made any sense for them to stop practicing for nine months out of twelve?
So why not take advantage of your witchiness and your pregnancy, and find ways to blend the magic? Pregnancy is an amazing time for any woman’s body - you’ve got a brand new life growing inside you! Celebrate it in magical ways:
- Make offerings to goddesses of fertility and childbirth to bring about good reproductive health
- Place pictures of healthy babies on your altar, and burn purple candles for feminine energy and power
- Pregnancy is a period of abundance - if you’ve thought about doing a working for money or other good fortune, now’s a good time to do it.
- Create an ancestor altar, and ask all of those who are part of your bloodline to give their strength and wisdom to your unborn child
- Hold a preparing ritual to get your home ready to welcome your new baby
At any rate, the bottom line is that as long as you take care of yourself, your baby should be fine, and you can practice just like you always do. Keep in mind that no amount of magical practice is a substitute for proper medical care, and you should always consult your physician if you feel that there is something out of the ordinary with your pregnancy.