Reviewing “A Sacred Beginning: Nurturing Your Body, Mind, & Soul During Baby’s First 40 Days” by Sarah Brangwynne & Sasha Rose Oxnard

A Sacred Beginning serves as a doula to the new mother’s soul: holding her up and encouraging her; while also strengthening her resolve and gently pushing her to do the hard work set before her. Sarah Brangwynne and Sasha Rose write from depths of insight garnered by experience. In their work as a therapist and a family physician, as well as in their personal lives, they have walked these 40 days time and again, holding each other (and others) up along the way. Through these pages the authors reach out to embrace their reader, bolstering her climb up the ladder of divine ascent; soaking her in the wisdom of the Church fathers and the Scriptures; and fortifying her with whispers of camaraderie.

The authors’ experience as mothers is not their sole qualifier for the writing of this book: they both also work in related fields. Sarah is a therapist and Sasha is a family physician. The marriage of their occupations with their personal experience with motherhood lays a sound foundation for this book. 

The introduction of the book lays a good foundation for the 40 days’ meditations, and readers are encouraged to read that part prior to meeting their new little one. The book is divided into 40 days’ readings, all focused on a step (or part of a step) of the Ladder of Divine Ascent. Each day’s reading contains a meditation, quotes from the Fathers and/or Scripture, and personal stories/encouragement from the authors. Many times the day’s entry will contain a look at a way for the new mother to practice what the meditation is about through a physical or spiritual exercise or a suggested journal discussion question.The book concludes with appendices of helpful, related information. Throughout the book, the reader is challenged to do the hard thing to the best of her ability, to ask for and accept help, and to bathe her mothering with prayer.

This book is full of encouragement, helpful quotes and insights, and support for a mother; whether she is welcoming her first child or her last. If the reader wades deep into each day’s reading or is merely able to dip in one toe, the waters will refresh her, buoying her soul as she cares for her new little one. Sarah and Sasha’s supportive words are right there with her, ready to hold her up as a doula does, and she will find that their words, in this book, truly have “got her back”.

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

The book is available for purchase here:


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