Goddess energy has been interwoven into the fabric of my life for more than twenty years. Over the years, I have called on Her by Her many names — during times of need and times of celebration, in times of gratitude and times of grief. And when I was ready to have a child, I called on Her, again.
I petitioned Ostara, goddess of fertility, to aid in conception. I asked Yemaya, goddess of the ocean, for a safe pregnancy. I made offerings to Oshun, goddess of wealth, for the resources needed to support a child. I turned to Ixchel, protector of women during childbirth, to process my emotions around the emergency c-section that brought my daughter through the Gates of Life. And two months after the birth, I called out to Hathor, nurturing mother goddess.
"Hathor, great cow goddess, Nurturer of nurturers, Mother of mothers! Please help my body produce enough milk to feed my daughter."
When my baby girl was two months old and my breast milk still had not come in fully, I offered up my prayer.
My daughter had lost a dangerous amount of weight right after birth, which is how I learned that my supply was low. She nursed and nursed and received… a trickle when what she needed was a stream. I consulted lactation specialists. I supplemented with formula. I pumped and pumped. It was a painful process. I counted every ounce she took from a bottle and logged the minutes she latched on my breast. We went to our midwife for weigh-ins. Even when my daughter was out of the danger zone, I had to maintain a rigorous pumping program and supplement with formula. As the weeks stretched into a month, then two, my sadness grew. I wanted very much to nourish my baby from my own body, to give her the nutrition, immunity and love of mother's milk.
In answer to my prayer, I received this from Hathor's voice within me:
"Pour milk in the shape of a heart. Put your daughter's name at the center. Breathe into your heart. Breathe out your nipples. Experience your breasts growing fuller and fuller. See your baby happy and smiling."
I followed Hathor's instructions. I wrote my daughter's name on a piece of paper and placed it in a small, heart-shaped prayer bowl. I poured milk over it. I breathed in and out. I saw love flowing from the Goddess into me and then out of me through my milk to my daughter.
It was perhaps a month later that my girl began to refuse formula. She wanted to nurse directly, exclusively. And she was getting enough milk!
My daughter continued to grow and we continued to nurse until she was nearly two years old. I give thanks to Hathor for her blessing. And to Ixchel, Oshun, Yemaya, Ostara and to all the feminine powers who have strengthened — no, more than strengthened — ensured my relationship with my daughter. I honor Your mysteries.
Originally published in July 2014, this piece was a finalist in an essay contest for the 2014 Goddess Festival.