paper1 about "early modern women’s poetry on childbirth and
the imminent circumstances of maternal and foetal/infantile mortality
in seventeenth century England," its writer describes,
how the focus of
childbirth shifted from an innately feminine poetic to masculine poetic
in the post Reformation period. From medieval English mysticism, we
find miracles and charms associated with childbirth wherein women were
encouraged to identify their experience with Marian partum asking for
mercy, help and inspiration from the figure of Mother Mary. It is with
post Reformation emphasis on identification and supplication to Christ
that the tenor of poetic tropes and theological tracts shifts primarily
to the masculine godhead and women being urged to identify the partum
agony with Eve and her sinfulness.
Of course, we Catholics are perfectly free to go directly to "the
masculine godhead" (and to masculine Saints), and we do so, as our
novenas and the
blessing from the Roman Ritual attests (see below). But focusing on Eve
when the "undoer of the knot" of Eve's disobedience reigns as the Queen
of Heaven, and to be deprived of the help of the sisterhood and our
brothers in the Communion of Saints is sad. The point: praise
God that we Catholics have the Saints, the angels, their Queen,
sacramentals, and blessings to help us through the trials of
infertility, pregnancy, and miscarriage.
For saintly prayers to help in our becoming pregnant, we turn foremost
to St. Gerard Majella. His shrine
in Materdomini, Italy has a room filled with pink and blue bows left by
parents grateful for his prayers that helped them become parents. Pilgrimage to his Italian shrine or to its
American counterpart at St. Lucy's Church in Newark, New Jersey, and novenas to St. Gerard are just two of
the ways we ask for his intercession.
Anthony of Padua is yet another Saint we call on for help in trying
to conceive. For centuries, Catholic women have been making a novena to him, praying the Thirteen Thursdays devotion,
and praying his chaplet.
If a woman's been trying for a long time to get pregnant, she might
turn to St. Rita of Cascia
who, like St. Jude, is a Saint of "impossible" causes. She may make a novena to St. Rita, make a triduum to her on
three consecutive days or three consecutive Thursdays, or make the Fifteen Thursdays devotion to her
on the fifteen Thursdays that precede her feast on May 22.
And Catholic women can always take heart from Sacred Scripture and
extra-canonical writings, which are replete with stories of women who
had a hard time conceiving:
On the physical side of things, it goes without saying -- or
should -- that women should try to be healthy when trying to conceive.
Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, don't smoke or drink too much,
etc.2 Their husbands should do the same -- and should wear
boxers instead of brief-style underwear to keep the testicles at a
cooler temperature which aids in spermatogenesis. A man who wants to be
a father should do all he can to lower scrotal temperature so that it
is 3 to 7 degrees lower than body temperature (e.g., sit with legs
apart, don't wear tightly-fitting pants, opt for cool or tepid showers
intead of hot ones, avoid saunas, refrain from being too sedentary,
- Abraham and
Sarah, parents of Isaac (Genesis 17)
- Isaac and
Rebecca, parents of the twins, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-25)
- Jacob and
Rachel, parents of Joseph and Benjamin (Genesis 29-30)
- Manue and his
wife, parents of Samson (Judges 13)
- Elcana and Anna,
parents of Samuel (I Kings 1; I Samuel 1 in Bibles with Masoretic
- Zachary and
Elizabeth, parents of St. John the Baptist (Luke 1)
- Joachim and
Anne, parents of Mary (The Gospel of the
Nativity of Mary)
Once pregnant, we keep praying to God and His Saints -- most especially
St. Gerard -- for a safe pregnancy and
delivery. The sacramental of St.
white handkerchief, if you can get a hold of one, and the
already-mentioned devotions are standard, as are the devotions to St.
Anthony and St. Rita, prayers to St.
Margaret of Antioch, and, as
always, the wearing of a crucifix or saint's medal, small sips of and
other uses of holy water, blessed salt, etc.This prayer, from "St. Vincent's
Manual: Containing a Selection of Prayers and Devotional Exercises"
published in 1856, is specifically for pregnant women to pray:
|O Lord God,
Almighty! Creator of heaven and earth! Who hast made us all
out of nothing, and redeemed us by the precious blood of Thy only Son!
Look down upon Thy poor handmaid, here prostrate before Thee, humbly
imploring Thy mercy, and begging Thy blessing for herself and her
child, which Thou hast given her to conceive. Preserve, I beseech Thee,
the work of Thy hands, and defend both me and the tender fruit of my
womb from all perils and evils. Grant me, in due time, a happy
delivery, and bring my child safe to the font of Baptism, that it may
there be happily dedicated to Thee, to love and serve Thee faithfully
But, O my God! I have too much reason to fear lest my great
and manifold sins should hinder Thee from hearing my prayers, and draw
down Thy judgment upon me and mind, instead of the mercies which I sue
for: and therefore I am sensible, the first thing I ought to do is, to
repent from the bottom of my heart for all my offences, humbly confess
them, and continually cry to Thee for mercy. I detest, then, all my
sins with my whole heart, and I desire to lay them down at Thy feet, to
be effaced for ever. I renounce and abhor them with my whole soul,
because they are infinitely odious to Thee; I humbly beg Thy pardon for
them all, and I wish, with all my heart, that I had never committed
them; I here offer to make what satisfaction I am able for them; and I
most willingly acept of whatever I may have to go through in
child-bearing, and offer it up now beforehand to Thee for my sins;
firmly resolving, by Thy grace, never wllfully to offend Thee more.
See, here, my poor heart, O Lord! and if it be not as I express, at
least I desire it should be such: I desire it should be that contrite
and humble heart which Thou never despisest. In this disposition of
soul, and with a lively confidence in Thy mercies, and in the merits
and passion of Jesus Christ Thy Son, I renew the petition I made
before, and I once more beg of Thee, for myself, Thy grace and
protection, and a happy delivery; and for my child, that Thou wouldst
be pleased to preserve it for baptism, sanctify it for Thyself, and
make it Thine for ever. Through the same Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our
In addition to prayer and sacramentals, our medieval foremothers made
use of various rocks and minerals as
well. St. Albertus
Magnus, in his Mineralis,
writes about the power of aetites, known as eagle-stones. These stones
are a type of hollow geode which, when shaken, reveals smaller "stones"
(bits of broken-off crystal) inside, thus mimicking mother and child.
St. Albertus tells us that "suspended on the left arm, it strengthens
pregnant women, prevents abortion, and lessens the dangers of
childbirth." He also says that gagates (jet) is "good against the pains
of childbirth," and that galaricides (milkstone), if bound around the
neck, " fills the breasts with milk; and if bound on the thigh it eases
childbirth." St. Hildegard of Bingen says3 of sard (i.e.,
carnelian, a variety of chalcedony -- one of the stones found on the breastplates of Old
Covenant priests, and found in the foundations of the Heavenly City as
seen by St. John in his Apocalypse):
If a pregnant
woman is beset by pain but is unable to give birth, rub sard around
both of her thighs and say "Just as you, stone, by the order of God,
shone on the first angel, so you, child, come forth a shining person,
who dwells with God."
Immediately, hold the stone at the exit for the child, that
is, the female member, and say, "Open you roads and door, in that
epiphany by which Christ appeared both human and God, and opened the
gates of Hell. Just so, child, may you also come out of this door
without dying, and without the death of your mother." Then tie the same
stone to a belt and cinch it around her, and she will be cured.
When it was time to deliver their babies, our medieval foremothers
would also wear "birth girdles" -- 10-feet long, 4-inch wide strips of
sheepskin parchment, about the dimensions of a priest's stole --
usually made by the religious, kept in monasteries,
out to mothers to be wrapped
around the waist or thigh when it came time for their lying-in.4
These girdles were inscribed with prayers and religious imagery to help
safe delivery; common themes were the Holy Name
or monogram of Christ;
a crucifix; the names of the twelve
apostles; the names of the three
magi; the names of various Saints (especially St. Margaret of
invocations to the Blessed Virgin, etc. One inscription from a birth
girdle dating to 14754 begins with the instructions "For
travelyth of chylde, bynd thys wryt
to her thye" and reads:5
nomine Patris + et Filii + et
Spiritus Sancti + Amen. +
Per virtutem Domini sint medicina mei
pia crux et passio
Christi. + Vulnera quinque Domini sint
medicina mei. + Sancta
Maria peperit Christum. + Sancta Anna
peperit Mariam. + Sancta
Elizabet peperit Johannem. + Sancta
Cecilia peperit Reroigium. +
Arepo tenet opera rotas. + Christus
vincit. + Christus regnat.
+ Christus dixit Lazare veni foras. + Christus
Christus te vocat. + Mundus te gaudet. +
Lex te desiderat. +
Deus ultionum Dominus. + Deus preliorum
Dominus libera famulam
tnam N. + Dextra Domini fecit rirtutem. +
Alpha + et Omega. +
Anna peperit Mariam, + Elizabet precursorem,
+ Maria Dominum
nostrum Jesum Christum, sine dolore
et tristicia. O infans
sive vivus sive mortuus exi foras +
Christus te vocat ad
lucem. + Agyos. + Agyos. + Agyos. + Christas
vincit. + Christus
imperat. + Christus regnat. + Sanctus +
Sanctus + Sanctus +
Dominus Deus. + Christas qui es + qui
eras, + et qui venturus
es. + Amen, bhurnon + blictaono + Christas
Nazarenus + Rex Judeorum
fili Dei + miserere mei + Amen.
Rich women would have their own birth girdles -- elaborately ornamented
that would have undoubtedly been passed down to their daughters, and to
their daughters' daughters after them.6 This very ancient
could be easily revived: people who can embroider could make especially
beautiful birth girdles, perhaps on lengths of silk or cotton cloth,
with the above inscription, or with St.
Anthony's Brief, appeals to SS.
Gerard, Anthony, Margaret of Antioch, the Blessed Virgin, or any other
Saint. It could be adorned with Christian
symbols, and depictions of flowers like meadowsweet (Our Lady's
Belt), morning glories (Our Lady's Mantle), ox-eye daisies (Mary's
star, which is said to have shown the Magi where the Baby Jesus could
be found), poinsettia (the Nativity Flower), strawberries (Fruitful
Virgin), and other plants that derive their common names from Our Lady,
Christ, and the Saints (see the Mary Gardens
page for more ideas).
As an aside, just for fun, and while on the topic of old childbirth
practices, I must mention the custom of looping a piece of thread
through a pregnant woman's wedding ring and holding it as still as
possible over her belly like a pendulum. The ring will at some point
start moving, and by its movements, the old wives who tell us these
things say, indicate the sex of the child: if it moves back and forth,
it is said to be a boy; if it moves in a circle, it's said to be a
girl. (One more aside, just for fun: did you know that the events of
the fairy tale "Rapunzel" are set in motion by a pregnant woman's
insatiable cravings for rampion bellflower, a.k.a. rapunzel -- Campanula rapunculus -- a plant
whose leaves are eaten as greens, and whose roots are eaten like
radishes? The story here in pdf format: Rapunzel. Oh, and if you want
to read an amusing, very late 17th c. woman's account of a man trying
to cater to
his wife's pregnancy cravings, see this excerpt from The Ten Pleasures of Marriage.)
OK, back to more serious matters:7 it goes without saying
that the Church has
a blessing for pregnant women -- Benedictio
Mulieris Praegnantis in periculis partus -- and it is this priestly blessing that should be
sought above all else. The text as it appears in the 1903 Rituale
nostrum in nómine Dómini.
R: Qui fecit caelum et terram.
S: Salvam fac ancillam tuam.
R: Deus meus sperantem in te.
S: Esto illi Dómine turris fortitúdinis.
R: A fácie inimici.
S: Nihil proficiat inimicus in ea.
R: Et filius iniquitas non appónat nocére ei.
S: Mitte ei Dómine auxilium de sancto.
R: Et de Sion tuere eam.
S: Domine exaudi oratiónem meam.
R: Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
S: Dominus vobiscum.
R: Et cum spiritu tuo.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui dedisti fámulis tuis in
confessione verse fidei aeternae Trinitátis gloriam agnóscere, et in
pótentia majestátis adoráre unitátem: quaesumus; ut ejúsdem fidei
firmitáte haec fámula tua N. ab ómnibus semper muniátur advérsis. Per
Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Deus, omnium Creátor, fortis et terribilis, justus et
misericors, qui solus bonus et pius es; qui de omni malo liberásti
Israel, fáciens tibi patres nostros dilectos, et sanctificásti eos manu
Spiritus tui; qui gloriósae Virginis Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum
Filii tui habitáculum éffici mererétur, Spiritu sancto cooperánte
praeparásti; qui Joánnem Baptistam Spiritu sancto replésti, et in útero
matris exsultáre fecisti: áccipe sacrificium cordis contriti, ac
fervens desidérium fámulae tuae N., humiliter supplicántis pro
conservatióne prolis, quam ei dedisti concipere: custódi partem tuam,
et ab omni dolo et injuria duri hostis defénde; ut obstetricánte manu
misericordiae tuae foetus ejus ad lucem próspere veniat, ac sanctae
generatióni servétur, tibique in ómnibus jugiter déserviat, et vitam
cónsequi meredtur aetérnam. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum
Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat, etc.
Deinde Mulier aspergatur aqua benedicta,
et interim dicatur:
nostri, et benedicat nobis * illúminet vultum suum
super nos, et misereátur nostri. Ut cognoscámus in terra viam tuam: *
in ómnibus gentibus salutáre tuum. Confiteántur tibi populi Deus: *
confiteántur tibi pópuli omnes. Laetentur et exsultent gentes: *
quóniam júdicas pópulos in aequitate, et gentes in terra dirigis.
tibi pópuli Deus: confiteantur tibi pópuli omnes: * terra
dedit fructum suum. Benedicat nos Deus, Deus noster, benedicat nos
Deus: * et metuant eum
omnes fines terrae.
Gloria Patri. Sicut erat.
Patrem, et Filium, cum sancto Spiritu.
R: Laudémus et superexaltémus eum in saecula.
S: Angelis suis Deus mandavit de te.
R: Ut custódiant te in ómnibus viis tuis.
S: Dómine exaudi oratiónem meam.
R: Et clamor meus ad te véniat.
S: Dóminus vobiscum.
R: Et cum spiritu tuo.
quaesumus Domine, habitationem istam, et omnes insidias
inimici ab ea, et a praesenti famula tua N. longe repelle: Angeli tui
sancti habitent in ea, qui eam et ejus prolem in pace custódiant, et
bene+dictio tua sit super eam semper. Salva eos, omnipotens Deus, et
lucem eis tuam concede perpétuam. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
omnipoténtis, Patris +, et Filii +, et Spiritus +
sancti, descéndat super te, et prolem tuam, et máneat semper.
|P: Our help is
in the name of the Lord.
R: Who made heaven and earth.
P: Save your handmaiden.
R: Who trusts in Thee, my God.
P: Let her find in Thee, Lord, a tower of strength.
R: In the face of the enemy.
P: Let the enemy have no power over her.
R: And the son of iniquity be powerless to harm her.
P: Lord, send her aid from Thy holy place.
R: And from Zion watch over her.
P: Lord, heed my prayer.
R: And let my cry come unto Thee.
P: The Lord be with thee.
R: And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Almighty everlasting God, Who enable us, Thy servants, in
our profession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the three
Persons in the eternal Godhead, and to adore Their oneness of nature,
Their co-equal majesty; grant, we pray, that by steadfastness in that
faith this servant of Thine, N., may ever be guarded against all
adversity; through Christ our Lord.
Let us pray.
Lord God, Creator of all things, mighty and awesome, just
and forgiving, Thou alone are good and kind. Thou hast saved Israel
from all manner of plagues, making our forefathers Thy chosen people,
and hallowing them by the touch of Thy Spirit. Thou, by the co-
operation of the Holy Spirit, has prepared the body and soul of the
glorious Virgin Mary to be a worthy dwelling for Thy Son. Thou hast
filled John the Baptist with the Holy Spirit, causing him to leap with
joy in his mother’s womb. Accept the offering of a humble spirit, and
grant the heartfelt desire of Your servant, N. who pleads for the
safety of the child Thou hast allowed her to conceive. Guard the life
that is Thine; defend it from all the craft and spite of the pitiless
foe. Let Thy gentle hand, like that of a skilled physician, aid her
delivery, bringing her offspring safe and sound to the light of day.
May her child live to be reborn in holy baptism, and continuing always
in Thy service, be found worthy of attaining everlasting life; through
Christ Thy Son, Who lives and reigns, etc.
The priest sprinkles the woman with holy
and then adds the following:
May God have
mercy on us and bless us; * may He cause the light of His
countenance shine upon us and have mercy on us. That we may know thy
way upon earth: Thy salvation in all nations. Let people confess to
Thee, O God: let all people give praise to Thee. Let the nations be
glad and rejoice: for Thou judgest the people with justice, and
directest the nations upon earth. Let the people, O God, confess to
Thee: let all the people give praise to Thee: The earth hath yielded
her fruit. May God, our God bless us, * May God bless us: and all the
ends of the earth fear Him.
Glory be to the Father. As it was in the beginning.
P: Let us bless
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
R: Let us praise and glorify Him forever.
P: God has given His angels charge over thee.
R: To guard thee in all thy paths.
P: Lord, heed my prayer.
R: And let my cry be heard by Thee.
P: The Lord be with you.
R: And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Lord, we beg Thee to visit this dwelling, and to drive
away from it and from this servant of Thine, N., all the enemy’s wiles.
Let Thy holy angels be appointed here to keep her and her offspring in
peace; and let Thy blessing ever rest upon her. Save them, almighty
God, and grant them Thy everlasting light; through Christ our Lord.
May the blessing
of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come on thee and thy
child, and remain with you forever.
Once your baby
is born, you should have him baptized as soon as possible. To do this,
you'll need to have godparents -- two baptized
Catholics -- one male, one female -- who are over the age of fourteen
and willing to take
seriously the job and honor of godparenting (read more about that on
the page about Baptism). Because Baptism
is a very urgent matter, you need think about who your child's
godparents will be early on; don't wait until your baby is born. Then,
after your baby is properly sponsored by godparents and baptized,
you may want to undergo the rite of the Churching
of Women when your lying-in period is over.
A woman's lying-in can last as little as a few days to up to a few
months, all depending on the health of the mother and the sort of
support system she has. Ideally, she will have a mother, grandmother,
sister, aunt, or friend to come stay with or at least visit her daily
for a few weeks in order to help cook, tidy, and care for the baby
body heals (in Latin America, lying-in -- called a cuarantena -- lasts for 40 days).
Truly, extended family and community are so very important! Perhaps to
make up for the dearth of these things these days, older women could
offer their help through their parishes, and new mothers could seek
that help through the same.
Gift-giving for new babies is handled differently in different
cultures. In the United States, a friend of the expectant mother will
throw her a party called a "baby shower." At these showers, which are
traditionally female-only affairs, women gather to celebrate, give
advice, tell birthing "war stories," bring
baby gifts (clothing, diapers, toys, books, etc.), eat (cake is always
involved), and play games. These showers typically take place about a
month before the baby's due date. In other places, such as Italy,
France, and Bulgaria, it's considered unwise or "bad luck" to buy
anything for a baby until the baby is born, so gift-giving waits.
Sometimes, God, either passively or positively, wills that a given
child not be born. About 20% of pregnancies end in fetal death --
around 80% of them in the first thirteen weeks. It's such a common
experience -- but a potentially devastating one. With that number of
miscarriages, consider how many women have endured such a loss -- women
whose pain is exacerbated by turbulent hormonal changes, not unlike
those that can cause post-partum depression. And consider how their
grief is so often overlooked by the world.
the men whose children were conceived but not born, and whose suffering
is even more ignored than that of their wives.
Added to the agony a parent feels for the loss of a baby in itself is
the pain of the loss of a vision had of oneself -- of one's future, of
one's family's future, of what one thought would be. And, for those
with no other children, there's the
pain of the loss of a sense of oneself as a mother or father. Even
unwarranted feelings of inadequacy can be mixed into the emotional lot,
making parents feel guilt or shame after losing their child, as if
they've done something wrong, failed to do something right, or just
aren't "good enough" to bring a child into the world. There's
the guilt, too, of those who may feel a sense of relief mixed in with
grief -- relief from fear of childbirth or of becoming a parent, or
relief from worries about adding another child to an already large
family. Such mixed emotions can be torturous for some.
The loss of an unborn child is like the loss that comes with anyone's
death. But it comes with a type of mourning that is usually kept to
oneself or between the two parents: there are no grand funerals, no
wakes, no sympathy cards or flowers; there are just the mother and the
father, and a profound emptiness that can subsume them if they don't
order their emotions.
Then there is the question "Where is our baby now? What is his fate?
Will we see him again?" The Church simply doesn't have definitive
answers to those questions. We know that the Sacrament of Baptism is
normatively required to enter the Church, which is the ark outside of
which there is no salvation. We know that God is perfectly Good,
Just, and Merciful. And we also know that while we are bound to God's
Sacraments, God is not bound by
Given these premises, theologians speculate. Some posit the possibility
that the souls
of these little ones go to the Limbus
infantium, usually just called "Limbo" -- a place of perfect
natural happiness. There, they have all they need to be completely
content and at peace. Other theologians believe that it's also possible
that God provides what's needed to effect the graces of the Sacrament
of Baptism in a way known only to Him so that these babies go to Heaven
We simply can't know while on this side of the veil.
But we can hope. And we can
pray. And we can know that, at the
very least, these innocents are at peace and experiencing a
beautiful natural happiness. We can know, too, that
God wills precisely the right things, and that He made us
-- and your baby -- to be. We
need to trust in Him and submit to
His Holy Will. To that end, you might find some help in reading two 17th century poems: one written by
a woman named Mary Carey, after having suffered a miscarriage, and the
other written by her husband on the same topic. The sentiments
expressed in the seventh stanza of hers -- "his will's more deare to
me; then any Child" -- and the entirety of his are key to overcoming
the grief of losing a child.
Also key is the simple act of grieving. "Simple" -- but not easy, and a
right you may have to fight for: don't let anyone make you feel as if
you're making "too big a thing" of losing a baby you never got to meet
the way you wanted. Grieve! Name your baby if you want to. If you have
his body, bury him with dignity, if you desire (this can be done at
with the help of professionals). Reach out to friends and to your
church. Don't shut your spouse out, and don't expect your spouse to
grieve in the same way you do; talk to each other and be patient with
each other. Take all the time
you need as you work through the pain and become able to say, with
Christ and with equanimity,
"Thy will be done."
1 Chaturvedi, Namrata. "Pain, Partum and
Prayer: The Dis-ease of
Motherhood in Early Modern English Literature." Rupkatha Journal on
Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities. Vol. 13, No. 2, April—June,
2 I'm not a doctor, but I encourage you to
look into Lydia Pinkham tablets, an herbal supplement that's been
around since 1875 and which generations of women have sworn by for help
with almost any sort of "female trouble." Menstrual irregularity,
menstrual cramps, bloating, premenstrual syndrome, infertility, the hot
flashes and night sweats of menopause -- Lydia Pinkham may help it all.
Everyone's different, and nothing works for every individual, but,
well, read the reviews for the product and talk to your doctor.
3 Mount, Tony.
"Dragon's Blood & Willow Bark: The Mysteries of Medieval Medicine."
Amberley Publishing Limited. April, 2015
4 Observations on the popular antiquities
of Great Britain . Vol. 3 : chiefly illustrating the origin of our
vulgar and provincial customs, ceremonies, and superstitions, by Brand,
5 Translation: "In the name of the Father
+ and the Son + and the Holy Spirit + Amen + By the power of the Lord
let the Cross and the Passion of Christ be my medicine + Let the five
wounds of the Lord be my pious medicines + Mary begot Christ + Anne
begot Mary + Elizabeth begot John + Cecilia begot Remigius + Arepo
tenet opera rotas + Christ conquers + Christ rules + Christ said
“Lazarus, come forth!” + Christ commands + Christ calls you + the world
rejoices in you + the light desires you + God of vengeance + God, Lord
of hosts, deliver Thy servant N. + The right hand of the Lord has been
made strong + a. g. l. a. + Alpha + and Omega + Anna begot Mary +
Elizabeth’s precursor + Maria begot our Lord Jesus Christ, without pain
and sorrow. O infant, whether alive or dead, come forth! + Christ calls
you to the light + holy + holy + Christ conquers Christ commands +
Christ rules + holy + holy + holy + Lord God + Christ Who art, Who was
+ and Who is to come + Amen, bhurnon + blictaono + Christ of Nazareth +
King of the Jews, Son of God + have mercy on me + Amen."
I have no idea what "a.g.l.a.," "bhurnon" and " "blictaono" mean.
"Arepo tenet opera rotas" is an ancient early Christian palindrome
found in what's known as the Sator Square, which can be read in any
R O T A S S A T O R
O P E R A A R E P O
T E N E T T E N E T
A R E P O O P E R A
S A T O R R O T A S
Its precise meaning is widely disputed and fascinating to read about.
My favorite interpretation, though, is that it is meant to convey "The
Creator, the Author of all things, maintains His works."
6 Analysis of many medieval birth girdles
has revealed the presence of milk, honey, egg, and "a large number of
human peptides...many of which are found in cervico-vaginal fluid." See
"Girding the loins? Direct evidence of the use of a medieval English
parchment birthing girdle from biomolecular analysis" in The Royal
Society Open Science. published 10 March 2021. Source:
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.202055 Retrieved 15
7 "More" serious because pregnancy
cravings are serious indeed. Men, we send you letters and care packages
if you're off to war, and you get us burritos at 3AM when we're
pregnant. Good trade.