Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hocus Pocus, Fertility Incantations and Other Pregnancy Magic - excerpt from book

I’ve been a little bit superstitious since I was a kid. Ever the athlete, I had lucky socks that I would wear for basketball games; lucky underwear (no, not that kind of lucky underwear—I was a kid) that I would wear on the days I had volleyball games or math tests; and a lucky pre-track meet meal of a Pizza Hut personal cheese pizza, which I was convinced made me run faster.

These illogical ways disappeared for the most part during college and in my twenties. My only momentary lapse was when we were trying to sell our first house. I bought a plastic statue of St. Joseph, the Catholic patron saint of home and family, and planted him in the ground upside down next to our “For Sale” sign. Then you’re supposed to say a prayer to him every day for nine days and your house should sell more quickly. So, maybe it’s more religious than superstitious, but you get the idea. Anyway, Nick and I tried this method and it worked. So I wonder if I should do something similar to promote the growth of a babe in the womb. Maybe I should plant a small statue of a Kokopelli, the Native American fertility deity.

Psychotic Pre-baby Shopping
Since I originally thought it would only take a few months to get pregnant, six months maximum, I started buying cute unisex onesies, décor for the nursery, and other baby belongings. We’d buy baby souvenirs while we were on vacation, too. When I started the hard core fertility treatments, I went into overdrive (maybe it was the fertility drugs), buying even more infant equipment because I was convinced that it would work, and I’d soon need Diaper Genies and teething toys. After three ovulation induction treatments didn’t work and the first IVF didn’t take, I started reverting back to those old superstitious ways, and wondered if buying all the baby stuff was actually inhibiting my ability to get pregnant. So, I went cold turkey and stopped the shopping spree. You would’ve thought I was trying to get off smack; I’d get the shakes when I’d pass a Gymboree.

So, I haven’t bought any baby-related stuff for more than two years, except for shower gifts for friends, which is incredibly hard to do (Note to other infertiles: Buy and send gifts on-line; it’s a much easier pill to swallow). What’s worse is that, apparently, my self-imposed, superstitious moratorium on buying peanut paraphernalia hasn’t worked anyway (no baby(ies)), yet I still can’t force myself to walk into a Pottery Barn Kids.

Back to invoking the saints. My best friend gave me a pendant of St. Gerard, the patron saint of fertility. He’s neatly tucked away in my change purse, but I’m wondering if I should wear him around my waist, lest that be sacrilegious. Also, I’m not sure why the patron saint of fertility is a man, but I know that God has his reasons. I’ve also prayed to the patron saint of little children, the patron saint of miracles, and the patron saint of fertile fields. One girlfriend recommended saying a prayer to St. Polycarp (the patron saint against earaches and dysentery) since he probably isn’t as busy as the more popular saints. I also found another potential heavenly helper – St. Mary of the Fertile Rock. So far, no divine intervention, though.

Anyway, at some point along the path to procreation with no success, you start to get pretty frustrated. For some couples this happens sooner than others, but after five or six months of trying, many start searching for new ideas to make that magical big belly appear. So far, I’ve been told loads of advice, including which sexual positions are best for pregnancy (these tend not to be the most fun for women, of course, and result in levels of discomfort that I really didn’t think could be achieved), and what to do post-coitus, including prop my feet on big pillows for at least an hour, or stand on my head. And, as odd as these recommendations sound, they actually worked for some of my friends.

In my research, I found that women received positive pregnancy test results from simple measures such as good luck charms, lighting votives at church, meditating to calm and prepare the uterus and/or sperm, and rubbing the belly a certain way to send in positive energy. I have tried them all and they didn’t work for me.


  1. I just bought 2 baby girls dresses yesterday to stash them away!!!! LOL I do it as an "act of faith" believing we will get our miracle one day!!! :)

  2. I've never bought baby anything but I am getting to the point where hocus pocus sounds sane! A saint around your waist is a best practice!

  3. My husband and I have been trying for 6 years. My stashed item is this little white newborn hat that has little bunny ears and an embordered bunny face on it. I have had it so long I have started to think the only person that will wear it is the cat!

  4. Hilarious! I am just a little worried that the patron saint of fertility is "Gerard" which happens to be my father-in-laws name. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing?!!!