For women—and honestly probably for most adults regardless of their sex or gender—motherhood is a secret club. We can all see the [once] shiny, vomit-covered clubhouse, but we aren’t allowed in. Sadly for some of us, if our sex or biology prevents it—we may never receive the invitation.
If you’re a human being over the age of 25, the chances are that you or someone you know has caught baby fever. This ancient illness, affecting the hormones and the mind manifests in one way—as a desperate and insatiable need for a child. Sometimes holding a friend’s infant isn’t enough and
you your friend with baby fever will find themselves staring longingly at youngsters in their neighborhood or around town. Even hearing horror stories from FTM’s (that’s First Time Mom’s for you non-breeders) doesn’t distract from the desire for children. Chapped nipples, sleepless nights, and a sudden lack of free time, what are they even complaining about? For those of you dreaming of the pitter patter of tiny feet (and maybe trying to no avail) these inconveniences seem like a fair trade. This begins a long and brutal Google search for fertility hacks, perhaps even along the lines of this post’s title, “Old Wives-Tales for Getting Pregnant.”
Even at a young age, I recall hearing different wives-tales for getting pregnant. I grew up with matriarchy on the mind. I was my parent’s oldest child and a female. My mother was the oldest of five siblings and had two sisters. Similarly, my father was also the eldest child and only son, with three younger sisters. My aunts all had children, and many of my cousins are younger than myself. Proximity sparked my curiosity (and subsequent alienation) at a young age. I was the oldest grandchild on one side by six years, and I vividly remember the pregnancies and births within my family. The joy that it brought as well and the understanding it provoked from the women within the family. Motherhood became the apex of adulthood in my eyes. I can’t begin to count the number of times I heard “you’ll understand when you’re a mom,” usually as a way to deflect having to answer some ridiculous question or stance child-me had on a subject.
The thing is, motherhood has always been a secret club. Throughout history, it was coveted by both sexes—it’s secrets protected and withheld from men. Before birth control (which was WAY more recently than is comfortable to think about) women were kind of chronically pregnant. Once married, a woman would sometimes continue to have children into her mid-forties as long as she still ovulated (you don’t become infertile at 35, this is an excellent article on the misinformation most women inherit regarding age and conception).
Despite the lack of birth control, there was also a similar drive to have children as there is now. Only back then it was more like you were worthless as a wife if you didn’t give your husband an heir. For that reason, just as we do now, women went to very strange lengths to guarantee they would become pregnant quickly following their nuptials.
Here are some old-wives-tales for getting pregnant. Passed down for generations:
Throw your underwear onto the roof of your house during the waning moon
Source: Congo’s Yansi people
Put egg white in your low n’ tight
Source: Unknown—but apparently putting actual egg white in your vagina will replicate fertile cervical mucus and help lazy sperm on their journey. Ew.
Rearrange your furniture to prevent energy blockages
Source: Feng Shui
Drink some baboon urine (the hormones in the piss are thought to boost fertility. hard pass)
Source: Tribes in Zimbabwe
Eat an entire pineapple
Source: Accepted in Western culture—the enzymes are supposed to help with implantation.
Sex during a full moon
Source: People believed the power of the full moon would cause your baby to grow and your belly to mimic the big bright round moon. This is reasonable except for then implantation would happen during the waning moon, and that doesn’t promise healthy growth.
Touch a fertility Goddess statue or figurine
Source: Probably all religions and areas with a trust in folk-medicine and witchcraft
Rock an empty cradle
Source: Scotland—it seems sad but apparently, “if you rock the cradle empty, you’ll have babies a plenty.”
Throw a tablecloth from a Christening party over a barren woman, and she will become pregnant
Mingle with pregnant women or animals to increase fertility
Source: India and Jewish people
Drinking Bunratty Meade during a Honey Moon
Source: Ireland—The term “honeymoon” is derived from the Irish tradition of the groom stealing the bride for a moon’s cycle (a month). During this time the couple drank an Irish mixture of honey and wine to increase fertility