“Stories teach us in ways we can remember. They teach us that each woman responds to birth in her unique way and how very wide-ranging that way can be.” ― Ina May Gaskin, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Pregnancy, giving birth, and meeting your baby can be transformative experiences in a parent’s life. But it can also be a vulnerable time, full of heightened emotions and societal expectations. Birth seldom goes as we planned or expected, and we are often left with lingering feelings of doubt, regret, or disillusionment.
A birth closing ceremony can help you acknowledge your birthing experience after it’s taken place, especially if it didn’t go according to plan. Our co-founder, Megan Sheldon stumbled into ceremony after experiencing three recurrent miscarriages almost a decade ago. Without knowing how to grieve that type of loss, she sought out rituals and ceremonies to grieve on her own and with her community. When she finally gave birth, her experiences did not go as expected, so she created a birth closing ceremony to heal and reframe her birth journey.
Determined to offer others what she wished she’d had during those difficult times, Megan created Be Ceremonial with her husband, Johan Hoglund to make ritual and ceremony more accessible for anyone who is searching for a way to acknowledge their personal story. Be Ceremonial’s unique platform offers you dozens of rituals to inspire and guide you in creating a postpartum ceremony that brings closure to the birth chapter of your parenthood story.
No matter how your child came into this world, we suggest finding a way to honour your own story.
Why are birth closing ceremonies important?
Many cultures around the world observe rituals that nurture and celebrate new parents, such as postpartum rituals that center on recovering and bonding with a new baby at home in Latin America (cuarentena), China (Zuo Yue Zi), and Korea (Saam-chil-il). In most Hindu communities, when a child is born, the family hosts a naming ceremony (Namkaran) on the 11th day after birth.
Creating a ceremony to reflect back on your birthing experience can help you revisit that time with a renewed sense of self, as well as process process any lingering emotions through a ritual lens.
Every parent has a story to tell
Birth stories are personal narratives grounded in the pivotal life experience of giving birth. Giving birth can be a beautiful yet complicated experience for many. Many women struggle with disappointment, regret, guilt, or shame when a birth doesn’t go as planned. These conflicting emotions are normal.
Re-telling these stories matter because it is an opportunity to reflect back and rewrite the story in a way that feels empowering. Think about the stereotypical birth story that you’ve been told over the years and your actual birth story. What did your journey look like? How did your story differ from the stories you’ve been told? How did you feel? Now consider the parts of the story that you would like to let go of as you heal and make amends with your own version.
A sacred space for you to process the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next in a way that feels right for you. That’s the power of ceremony.
Join us to reclaim your birth story
Together, let’s design a personal and meaningful birth closing ceremony that honours you, embodies your unique birth story, and facilitates your healing. In the Be Ceremonial app, we offer dozens of secular and universal rituals to help you release, accept, and honour the birth for what it was, not what you thought it would be. Here are a few of our favourites:
Parenthood circle: Create a circle around your community, you and your partner, or even just yourself with objects that connect you to parenthood, sharing the stories of each item along the way. You can also appoint people you know to your Parent Advisory Group!
Closing the bones: Inspired by cultures around the world, this ritual often involves anointing and massaging a new parent with oils and then wrapping their body in a tight cloth. This ritual can nurture a parent after giving birth and supports their journey into parenthood. Please be mindful of cultural appropriation.
Guide parents: Invite someone you trust to be a guide parent for your child or children, creating a ritual around this new relationship and what it can offer everyone involved. You can choose as many people as you like, with each person bringing something unique you would like your child to experience.
Birth keepsake: Create a keepsake that holds a part of your birth story or connects you to this postpartum time. You can have it customized with breast milk or a lock of hair, or imbue it with your own meaning.
However you choose to acknowledge your birth story, our app will guide you through creating a ceremony that feels like you. You can choose to create a ceremony on your own, with a friend, or as a group — you can even gift this experience to someone you know who might need to reclaim their birth story. Simply follow our ritual framework to create a ceremony unique to you and start bringing more ceremony into your parenthood journey.
Learn more about all the ceremonies we offer surrounding the Birth & Parenthood journey.