Sing A New Song
A Birth Story Retreat
NOVEMBER 4-6, 2022
Welcome to our first virtual retreat from Mothering Spirit!
Sing A New Song invites you to reflect on birth as a spiritual experience.
Whether you are a brand-new mom or birthed your babies decades ago, whether you had positive or negative experiences, you know birth is life-changing. If you’ve never reflected on your birth story/stories or brought them to God in prayer—whether in joy or lament—now is your chance to honor the hard and holy work you have done in bringing life into the world.
Join us on Nov. 4-6 to pray through our birth stories in a whole new way, in the light of faith. We’ll pray with the laments and praise songs of the Psalms, reflect on Scripture stories from Eve to Elizabeth, and dive into Jesus’ own birth story in the Gospels.
The birth story retreat is virtual, coming to you in the comfort of your own home. We’ll gather on Zoom 3 times during the retreat weekend (including optional small group conversations) and spend time in prayer and reflection outside the group sessions.
The companion e-book will give you a complete retreat guide: prayer, Scripture, creative activities, and reflection questions—a range of ideas to pray through your birth stories.
Together we’ll discover what birth can reveal about God, ourselves, and our motherhood. Honor yourself (or support a mom you love) with the gift of time and space to pray about the days that changed your life.
Let yourself sing a new song to God.
Birth preparation has become a huge focus in pregnancy. Making a birth plan, taking childbirth classes, reading books, hiring a doula or choosing health care providers—so much emphasis is placed on getting ready for birth.
But once your baby arrives, when do you get the chance to reflect on what happened?
You may have prayed intensely during labor—or not at all. You may have found birth to be profoundly spiritual or overwhelmingly physical. But more likely, you’ve never had the chance to reflect in deep ways about birth.
Sing A New Song will give you the time and space to explore your birth story (or stories). You’ll get to pray with the experience of birth in brand-new ways—and discover what God may be waiting to reveal to you.
Our virtual retreats take place live on Zoom. All sessions will be recorded and sent to participants in case you can’t join live or want to listen again.
The retreat will run from Nov. 4-6. We’ll gather on Zoom for 3 one-hour sessions of presentation, prayer, and reflection:
Session 1: 7:00 pm CDT, Friday, Nov. 4th
Session 2: 2:00 pm CDT, Saturday, Nov. 5th
Session 3: 2:00 pm CST, Sunday, Nov. 6th
Each session will offer a mix of prayer, presentation, and time for reflection. Participants will have the chance to join small group discussion for 30 minutes following each large group session—often the heart of our virtual retreats but always optional.
Sing A New Song includes an e-book that will guide you through the retreat and give you resources to keep reflecting:
- tips for making an at-home retreat
- Scripture, prayers, and reflection questions
- creative ways to pray with your birth stories
- space for journaling or drawing/painting
- resources for after the retreat
This retreat is designed to fit your life. You can watch the recorded live sessions later according to your needs, and spend each day in reflection and prayer whenever it fits your schedule.
Together we’ll create time and space set apart to encounter God within our birth stories.
Absolutely! Simply enter the recipient’s email address when you register, and they’ll be added to the participant list.
Yes: if each person registers separately. The beauty of a virtual retreat is that you can gather with friends or family across the country (or around the world) to pray and reflect together.
Imagine ways you might share the retreat together:
- set up your own short Zoom call before or after the daily session to talk further about your reflections
- text each other after you’ve read the day’s Scripture, for support and encouragement
- connect during the weekend before and the weekend after the retreat, to prepare and plan next steps to continue praying together
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about pricing for your local mothers’ group or church group.
Yes. Our goal is to keep every virtual retreat opportunity at Mothering Spirit affordable and available to all. If you need help with registration fees, please inquire about a sliding scale or scholarship funds.
If you are interested in donating toward scholarship funds to support others, please email email@example.com. Thank you for your generosity and support.
Life, work, and family needs may overlap with the retreat—this is natural for an at-home retreat. We’ll record each Zoom session so you can watch it later at your own convenience. You can stretch the retreat over several weeks if it’s easier for your schedule.
Retreat sessions will remain available online for 30 days following the close of the retreat.
All you need to join the retreat is a Zoom account. Once you register for the retreat, you’ll receive instructions for joining retreat sessions via Zoom.
The retreat companion e-book will be sent via a digital download the week before the retreat to help you prepare and plan.
To enter into the retreat experience, it would be helpful to have:
- a Bible
- a sacred image to keep before your eyes (e.g., an icon, cross, or artwork)
- a journal
- a candle
- a quiet space in your home (even a chair) free from distraction
This retreat is by mothers and for mothers, so we understand chaos and kids. If your little ones join you during the retreat sessions, or you need to turn off video to tend to their needs (or your own), that’s just fine! But we’ll also make sure that the small groups are safe spaces for you to share with confidentiality and privacy.
The retreat e-book includes many ideas for making a virtual retreat possible in your daily life: ways to plan ahead, suggestions for setting aside the space you need, and practical tips for at-home retreat time.
Any mother is welcome to join and reflect on welcoming their child into their family. But it may help to know that this retreat will focus on the physical and spiritual particularities of labor and birth.
Mothering Spirit will offer more virtual retreats on different aspects of motherhood in 2023, so if you decide this retreat is not the right fit, we hope you’ll join us for a future gathering.
Absolutely. We know that birth can be an intense, painful, and even traumatic experience. Translation: we don’t believe you have to love every minute or simply be grateful that your baby is here.
This retreat will make space for the shadow side of birth: the hard as well as the joyful. We’ll be joined by moms who have experienced every kind of birth, and there won’t be any atmosphere of competition, only the chance to enter into prayer with God about your own experiences.
You are allowed to bring your full self here. Most importantly, you get to bring everything before God in prayer. The retreat can be entirely for your own reflection: no need to share in small groups or push yourself to revisit any painful memories.
Of course! It’s never too late to reflect on the transformation of becoming a mother. You may find that you’ve gained perspective or wisdom on your birth experiences over time, or you may never have gotten the chance to pray about birth when you were thick in the years of early motherhood.
Either way, we hope you’ll find this retreat to be a nourishing spiritual experience for where you are now as a mother—for example, if you’re facing new “births” as your children grow and leave the nest.
From Laura Kelly Fanucci, our retreat facilitator: Beyond the difficulties and challenges of “normal” birth, traumatic birth is a reality that a percentage of women face which can have serious physical and mental impacts including PTSD, even for years after birth. Because of the nature of a virtual retreat—as well as my own limitations as a facilitator—addressing traumatic birth lies beyond the scope of what we can offer here.
I am not a health care professional or a licensed therapist. I am a retreat facilitator with a Master of Divinity degree. So I am trained to offer ministry and share Scripture, prayer, resources, and approaches that allow you to reflect on your story from a spiritual perspective.
If you have experienced a traumatic birth, I highly recommend seeking professional help from healthcare professionals as well as licensed therapists with experience in helping clients process trauma and PTSD. Such therapy has been invaluable for my own healing and well-being as a mother.
So yes, you are welcome to join us on retreat. Your whole story is welcome here, even the hard parts. But you may find that reflecting and praying through a traumatic birth can surface issues that are best addressed with a professional therapist who specializes in trauma and birth. Connecting with a spiritual director as a companion support through therapy can help you continue to explore this birth’s impact on your relationship with God.
From Laura, our retreat facilitator: As a mother who has experienced both miscarriage and infant loss, this grief is close to my heart. Knowing the depth of child loss, I also know the importance of peer support from other bereaved parents who understand what you have gone through.
Since this retreat is focused on birth, you may find a previous virtual retreat to be more fitting: Oasis: A Retreat for Bereaved Mothers. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the retreat to watch the recorded sessions (and interviews with other grieving mothers) and pray on your own with the retreat companion e-book. Or you can join a waiting list for a future virtual retreat on grief for mothers.
Please know you are in my prayers—and you are not alone.
The retreat costs $100 which includes
- 3 retreat sessions held on Zoom on Nov. 4-6, 2022
- the companion e-book with complete retreat materials
- all preparation and follow-up materials sent via email
- access to recorded Zoom sessions for 30 days following the close of the retreat
- optional small groups that will meet for 30 minutes following each large group session
Laura Kelly Fanucci is an author, speaker, and founder of Mothering Spirit, where she first started writing about parenting and spirituality in 2010. She earned her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and her Master of Divinity from Saint John's School of Theology. Laura has authored seven books, including Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting and Grieving Together: A Couple's Journey through Miscarriage. She and her husband live in Minnesota with their five children.