Goddesses of Childbirth
It has just occurred to me to look into goddesses associated with childbirth, so here we go!
Today I am 11 weeks pregnant. I was reading the Mabinogion and fell in love with the name Viviane. I went to my favorite site for looking into names and traced the name back to an Irish Celtic name Bebinn, which just so happens to be the name of a goddess of safe childbirth. The way it all came about makes me feel that my discovery of this goddess is important and I’m considering taking her as my patron goddess for the duration of this pregnancy. I’ve enjoyed looking into other goddesses of childbirth, though. Here are my findings thus far:
Artemis (Greece) Despite being a virgin goddess she also presides over childbirth due to the ease of her own birth.
Bast (Egypt) Bast was the cat headed goddess was associated with both childbirth and fertility.
Bebinn (Celtic) Irish goddess of safe childbirth.
Carmenta (Roman) Goddess of prophecy and birth. Pregnant women used to offer her rice for an easy delivery.
Candelifera ( Roman) She was invoked at the beginning of childbirth. Her name means candle bearer and she used this light to help guide the baby into this world.
Diana (Roman) Queen of Heaven. Patroness of childbirth, nursing and healing.
Deverra (Roman) Goddess who protected midwives and women in labor. Her broom was used to sweep away evil influences
Eleithyia (Greek) was the Goddess of childbirth and labour. She was shown as a woman wielding a torch, representing the burning pains of childbirth, or with her arms raised in the air summoning a child to the light.
Frigg (Nordic) associated with easing child birth. A plant called Freya’s grass was traditionally used as a gentle sedative during a difficult labour
Hathor (Egypt) The seven Hathors blessed the newborn and set a child’s destiny. She is also associated with nursing infants.
Hekate (Greek) As a midwife she carried a sacred knife to cut the cord at birth.
Heket (Egypt) Heket the moon Goddess was associated with Hathor as a birth deity. She was said to be the birth goddess of all creatures. She is imaged as a frog, a frog-headed woman or a frog at the end of a phallus. She is the wife of Khnum and is associated with the flooding of the nile. It is Heqet who breathes life into a newborn baby. Some claim that Her priestesses were trained in midwifery, though there is scant evidence of such. Women wore amulets of a frog sitting on a lotus during the last stages of pregnancy to encourage Her blessings.
Hepat (Egyptian) Goddess of Midwives.
Hera (Greece) The Queen of the gods, Hera presided over all things feminine especially maternity and marriage.
Isis (Egypt) Isis had many roles including the protector of motherhood.
Ixchel (Mayan) Role included Goddess of childbirth, lunar cycles, and pregnancy. Panther goddess of fertility and flowing waters – a great one for when waters are about to break.
Juno (Roman) She protected pregnant woman as well as at birth, bringing the child into the light.
Lucina (Roman) – Goddess of childbirth also known as Juno.
Meskhent (Egyptian) Egyptian Goddess who presided over the delivery of babies.
Mylitta (Babylonian) Mylitta took special interests in the process of childbirth.
Nephthys (Egyptian) Stood at the head of the bed encouraging the mother whilst her sister Isis acted as the midwife.
Ngolimento (Toga) Goddess who cares for the spirit of a child before it is born.
Nixi (Roman) The Nixi were a triad of Goddesses associated with birth
Nintur (Sumerian) Her name meant “Lady Who Gives Form”. She was represented as a woman holding a midwife’s pail of water.
Nona (Roman) Goddess of pregnancy. Her name means nine relating to the ninth month of pregnancy when the expectant mother would call upon her
Pi-hsia-yuan-chun (Chinese) She protects women, children, and presides over birth.
Prorsa Postverta (Roman) Goddess of women in labor she was associated with the position of the child in the womb.
Pukkeenegak (Eskimo) Feminine Goddess who gave children to the Eskimo women.
Renenet (Egypt) Goddess who presided over a baby’s suckling. She bestowed both a name and a personality on a newborn infant.
Shasti (Indian) Feline Goddess, depicted riding a cat. Goddess of childbirth and Protector of Children.
St. Catherine of Sweden (Roman Catholic) Patron saint of miscarriage prevention.
St. Gerard Majella (Roman Catholic) Patron saint of pregnancy and expectant mothers.
St. Raymund Nonnatus (Roman Catholic) Patron saint of midwives.
Tamayorihime (Japan) Ancient sea Goddess who watches over the birth waters to ensure a safe delivery.
Taueret (Egypt) Protected infants by taking the form of a pregnant hippopotamus to frighten demons away.
Uma (India) Her primary function was femaleness in all forms, particularly active ones like childbirth.
*This site was extremely helpful and I give it credit for most of the information in this post.