The Mama Bamba Way
by Robyn Sheldon

[2008, South Africa, Sharp Sharp Media, 272 pages, paperback.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 94, Summer 2010, © 2010, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Toni Rakestraw.]

The Mama Bamba Way shows a different approach to care during pregnancy. Along with the usual prenatal care, mothers in author Robyn Sheldon’s care also get instruction in chakra clearing, meditation sessions, guided imagery to meet their baby as well as many other empowering lessons.

How wonderful it would be if every pregnant woman could have the time to focus on her own inner journey during pregnancy. What a gift this would be to both mothers and babies. Sheldon discusses how birth choices of all kinds can impose limits on the birth. She suggests that sometimes, baby has a different plan that needs to be followed, and as parents it is up to us to go with the flow and let the experience be what it needs to be. Her writing style is easy to read and understand.

Sheldon stresses the importance of meditation. However, instead of directing mothers to “empty their minds” like many meditation instructions do, she suggests mothers focus on something such as the rhythm of breathing or the feeling of something on their skin. This technique helps mothers achieve the meditative state with ease.

The book discusses ways to prepare for the birth of your baby through the use of art, dreaming, meditative imagery, singing, toning and touch. All of Sheldon’s suggestions are very nurturing and gentle. Once labor begins, she shows parents how they can work together. She discusses signs of labor, induction, cord clamping and many other topics valuable to parents-to-be.

Sheldon gives some wonderful advice about kangaroo care, breastfeeding, touching for babies and other issues parents may find helpful postpartum when dealing with a new baby. She includes an entire chapter on grieving over the loss of a child, which is particularly difficult in our society. Mothers facing a loss are routinely told, “You’ll have another,” or, “It was for the best.” Sheldon shares another mother’s experience in tender words, letting us in on the secret that it is okay to grieve and to cry and feel utterly bereft. It is okay to feel inconsolable. If you know someone who has lost a baby, listen. Let them feel their grief. The words of wisdom shared in this chapter alone are worth the price of the book.

Reviewer Toni Rakestraw has birthed eight children, who have taught her the benefits of breastfeeding. She is a freelance writer and editor by day and is currently apprenticing at Midwifery Today magazine. Some of her recent artwork can be seen in the ICAN “Cesarean Voices” touring exhibit. Toni lives in Oregon with her husband and family.

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