by Marina and Colin Campbell
Gymnastic babies can Dance on the Water! Yes! Thanks to family
Igor Charkovsky, the "creator" of modern water birth, and Marina in Russia. He is a pioneer not only in water birth but also notably in developing water therapies and exercises for babies who are in danger of dying. He works extensively with brain damaged and otherwise handicapped newborns and babies. Many of the babies brought to him have been given little or no chance of recovery or improvement. His work is extreme and unique. It is a gift to humanity's evolution. He continues to be active in Russia and around the world. As with most pioneers,his life is not without controversy. Thousands and we owe him gratitude.
Aquamarina is the name Marina gave to her work in Russia. It's still appropriate. In Thailand where we now reside we have the business name Macochild. We teach couples how to be even more in love. We use Tantra, Tao and other techniques. We teach people how to use Chi Kung and Healing Love sexual practices so as to live their love with more depth. We do this in "couples only"retreats and private sessions.
We also teach women and couples how to have a healthy, loving pregnancy and a healthy, joyful home water birth. We use Yoga and breathing techniques. We teach parents how to do baby yoga from the first moments of life outside the womb. Ditto with dynamic gymnastics and swimming the baby from day one.
A new father swims his daughter about an hour after birth. This is the best : father's active, loving involvement in his daughter's growth and development. Among other benefits they are strengthening the spine and related tendons. Notice the placenta. It stays with baby until the energy stops flowing into the cord and to baby. Maybe for some hours, maybe for a day or two. Depends on the health of the placenta, energy flow, climate, and Marina and the parents' observations.
Please don't confuse our work with water birth as it is popularly known in Europe and the USA. In the world, water birth popularly means: out of the hospital/birth clinic bed and into the hospital/birth clinic tub or pool, and then back into the hospital/clinic bed. It's seen as comfortable for the mother and soft for the baby. That's not our work. Our home water birth involves a giant step in taking responsibility for one's results. It implies informed, educated,and experienced woman and man involvement and commitment.
We must look deeply and honestly into ourselves:
What am I doing for this planet? What am I doing to heal this planet?
What am I doing to change my family's negative patterns/behavior?
What am I doing with my life energy? What am I doing with my very life?
We do our work because we live the results and have witnessed the results in thousands of women and their babies. We do it because if we expect the human race to grow spiritually we must begin before conception and follow through during pregnancy, birth and childrearing; and these techniques serve that goal.
Marina has trained many Spiritual Midwives. Very few of them continue with her complete system. It?s simply too demanding of the Midwife; the responsibility is too much. Thanks for reading and we trust you?ll find the following commentaries mind and heart opening.
Here's the idea: Conception and pregnancy are natural processes. You probably didn't use a book of meditations and exercises to conceive and stay pregnant. Birth is a natural process also, although you wouldn't know it if you study carefully the birth industry that's in place in our hospitals and clinics.
Your body and baby know what to do when it's delivery time. Do you trust your body?Does your midwife or doctor trust your body? The role of these practices is to bring your mind more into the harmony that is inherent in a conscious pregnancy and delivery.
Yes, big brother helped also.
Marina says that some of her most satisfying midwife experiences have come from couples that learned from her and had healthy home water births without her presence. You got pregnant without me! You can give birth without me! That's the best! This is not declared lightly; these are couples that dedicated themselves to the practices and informed themselves about birth. This does not necessarily mean that they concentrated on what could go wrong during delivery. They simply worked on the body with Iron Skirt Chi Kung to encourage what the woman's body already knows about pregnancy and birth. They used the meditations to focus the mind in trust of the healthy body and natural process. Some couples chose to deliver their baby alone without Marina and some simply found themselves in the delivery situation and no midwife or doctor in sight!
What's at home? The familiar and the secure. The family is present. Home is where the heart is.
Our daughter helped Marina, this happy mother and father deliver their baby.
At home the mother-to-be can relax in her own surroundings; home is her nest that she's prepared to receive baby. The other children can be nearby. She controls the setting. Birth at home is on babys and mothers home schedule.
Father is present and an active participant. The couple is pregnant! It's a flowing of their sexuality that conceived baby! Let the unfolding be complete with father actively participating in birth. Some couples have a very hard time after birth because of sex;father's participation in the birth helps avoid this common obstacle to a happy family. Birth is an intimate, sexual process. Mother needs to feel that she?s in a space where her sexual intimacy is safe and protected.
Some women say, I want my baby born close to nature near the sea! Great! Under the trees, on the beach this is wonderful if mother truly wants this way. Be careful!Maybe baby has different ideas. Some women like the forest at a lake or a mountain stream. It?s a personal choice. The best birth for baby is when mother swims. The water cleans emotions and refreshes; it's not for every woman although we wish it were so.
Labor in the Gulf of Thailand Sea accompanied by father.
The computer screen saver on which I?m composing says Love Heals. For this commentary it could say, "Love Gives Birth"...no matter where the birth is. Regardless of your choice of how and where to birth you can enjoy your pregnancy even more with the tools we teach. Many of these practices survive from ancient Taoist and Tantric sources because they are so effective at improving health and reducing stress. When a pregnant woman does this she passes the improved health and vitality in to her developing baby.
The three of us have so much fun with this! Rock-a-by baby! Kids just keep asking for this energetic movement even when they've grown too big for us.
We know many women who've had healthy home water births without a lot of training of the type we normally present. These women had some things in common: A good attitude, generally good health, strength and trust in Marina and her work; and they walked a lot. Walking is so good. Vigorous walking and just strolling along are both good but don't be lazy; do daily long walks throughout the pregnancy. When you pause during your walk learn how to stand correctly. This involves developing some inner structure that will show in your posture. This is where the Iron Skirt Chi Kung can help you tremendously in daily life and at delivery time.
Two expectant mothers exchange baby heartbeats.
A brief aside: You may be familiar with term Iron Shirt Chi Kung. Originally, this discipline was for protecting the vital organs from blows received in fighting. We use it for healing the body and generating Chi (life energy) so as to have energy for spiritual growth. Over the years we've come to use the term Iron Skirt for pregnant women who dedicate time to rooting, centering, and developing the breath and inner structure for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Here's an Iron Skirt, walking pregnant woman story. It took place in a deep north,winter city. Marina and Colin were teaching a week long basic Universal Tao course. Every afternoon a group of about 30 students would meet and practice the Inner Smile, Six Healing Sounds, the Microcosmic Orbit, and Chi Kung; then they'd learn about Healing Love, the sexual practices. There were several pregnant women present and two of them were very pregnant. They were both new to meditation and esoteric exercises but they had heard of Marina's spiritual midwifery work and trusted her. Near the end of the week they asked, "When are you leaving town?" What time does your train leave?
This is Yekaterina's story. Her husband was in prison and she lived with her parents. Her parents barely tolerated her situation and were not at all happy that she was spending money on a week of who-knows-what lessons with these weird foreigners. It was her first pregnancy and she was determined to have the birth with us. We were staying with a couple and their child in their sixth floor apartment. During a previous visit they'd had their first child at home in the family tub with us assisting. They are very nice people and seeing them again was a delight. We'd sit and he'd play guitar and the two of them would sing so sweetly.
Marina and Colin, our loving couple.
It was the last day of a good week's work and we had finished the evening meal and our host excused himself to go down to the shop for a bottle of wine. However, in just a few moments he was back with Yekaterina. He'd found her pacing up and down in front of the building in the snowstorm. The intercom and doorbell were out of order and she simply walked until someone would use the building's entrance. We massaged her to warm her up and she sipped strong, hot tea. She'd left home against her parents' wishes; they wanted her in the hospital because her water had broke. So she walked two kilometers through the snow to be with us! I walk everywhere! The taxi drivers are thieves and the walking is good for me. I think things out and try to forget my troubles. She was just over six feet tall and strong from her walking habit. In fact we'd noticed during the course that she was a natural at Chi Kung; she could easily root and could not be pushed out of her root.
Our hosts were instantly welcoming her and reassuring her that she could have her baby in their tub where their son was born. And that's just what she did! The labor was several hours and she was so centered and present and willing to do whatever was asked of her. She spent a lot of time in the Horse Stance that you're going to learn, and she squatted a good bit. Marina had her diving in the tub so as to be able to control the strong sensations that come before birth; it becomes a sort of meditation in the water.
"Diving" to "surf" the intense contractions. Father massages. Good mother! Goodfather! Baby was born in the dark of night in a seaside bungalow tub.
At dawn she was stretched out comfortably on the divan in the kitchen with her new son after baby yoga and swimming the baby session. We had toasted the birth with champagne and now Yekaterina was sipping a hot wine and honey brew to build the blood and renew her strength. The windows were full of frost but the sunrise shone through and to make a happy conclusion her mother and father arrived and after a moment of awkwardness they held her hands and stroked their grandson. Our host family had insisted on notifying them and getting them to their daughter and grandchild. Otherwise they will all feel terrible and anyone can see that they love one another in spite of their differences and troubles!
Baby Yoga becomes a deep, tranquil time for this baby. We see the babies"meditating" during some parts of their sessions. They are awake and seem to be profoundly in the sensations of the movements.
Oh yes, that other very pregnant woman phoned later in the morning and her labor was beginning. This was also her first pregnancy and there was no man in her life. Her sister was present and it was an easy delivery because she was strong and her attitude was quite good. A man! Who needs that problem! My child will be very happy with me, my sister and my mother. And then we caught our train. We tell you the stories of these beautiful women to encourage you to be even more positive and to walk even more and to spend some time squatting everyday.
Zoom in on mother and son's expressions: What joy! What confidence!
Here are two births quite different one from the other. The interesting thing is that the women were similar in age and they and their husbands had participated in our"couples only" retreat. They'd informed themselves about the birth alternatives and were convinced of having home water births with Marina. By now you understand that this is no small enterprise. The couple must learn and practice! They take on a tremendous responsibility for the pregnancy and delivery. For both women their pregnancies were joyful and celebratory in nature. Their husbands arranged their work so as to be an active presence especially in the last months. Both couples were well acquainted with the Healing Love practices and were healthily sexual right up to delivery. These sensitive, educated people had chosen this way of living because they believe that it's best for their families? health, happiness and spiritual growth. This was to be Rachel's second child; her first was a normal hospital delivery. For Clara instead, this was her first child after a series of miscarriages. They gave birth a few days apart. Both husbands were essential participants and so supportive that we wish all couples could be so blessed.
Rachel's daughter came first. Their home is in a forest with no nearby neighbors and they had set up a small, aboveground pool for the birth under the trees. Labor began at about four in the morning and the baby came a short time later with the sunrise and daybreak's songbirds. Throughout, Rachel was pretty much in ecstasy having a wonderfully joyful, sexual birth. She was very strong and because of her meditation experience and Iron Skirt she was able to focus on the intense sensations of childbirth as intense pleasure. Gary, her husband, was right there, deep in the experience with her. The surprise was that the baby was in difficulty: she wasn't breathing and was "blue", her little body was "floppy" with no sign of life. Marina went to work with her techniques and soon enough the little one demonstrated her voice and her coloring was much more vital. She looked around and after delivery of the placenta was ready for baby yoga and some gymnastics and swimming. It took sometime for her sucking reflex to get strong. This couple followed the suggestion to not have guests in to see the baby so that the family could keep the intimacy intact for some days. They were so happy with that arrangement and of course, the grandparents were given brief audiences with the little one. This gave Mom and Dad and baby time to get to know one another plus become comfortable with baby yoga,dynamic gymnastics and swimming the baby.
A few days later Clara felt her birth process beginning. Her husband Roberto had setup an inflatable wading pool in their large living room. This was on the 9th floor of an apartment building in the city. This couple had gone through a lot of emotional turmoil over the years with miscarriages. They were so grateful to be pregnant and to have carried the baby to term. Clara had not practiced the Chi Kung so much and although she frequently swam she was not very strong. She had suffered a stroke years before and this had left her with a certain weakness. Roberto was a great support for her. The labor was several hours starting in the evening and ending with the four a.m. birth of a daughter. Clara spent long periods in the bathtub "diving": Holding her breath underwater and lifting her head for the inhalation and exhalation. In this manner she was able to focus and create a meditation type state so as to bear the intense physical feelings of labor.
It was a long, tiring process and almost empty of pleasure for her. The surprise was that the baby was in great condition! Full, strong breath and voice; robust coloring; a strong sucking reflex; she was ready for action! After the birth of the placenta and the traditional champagne toast, Clara gained back a lot of energy with a hot wine and honey drink, and ample, loving consideration from her husband. And so she was able to give a lot of joyful attention to the little one who was being introduced to baby yoga, dynamic gymnastics and swimming by Spiritual Midwife Marina. Of course there were frequent breaks for a visit to the ?milk bar? for the all-important colostrum.
Mother Marina after delivering her ninth child.
Every pregnancy and delivery has its surprises. It's good to be prepared with a strong body and meditation skills as well as information. Learn some Iron Skirt Chi Kung, walk and squat a lot daily, and do the Inner Smile meditation so much that it becomes second nature to you. Swim, swim and swim some more. Water is the great cleanser and holder. Make proper, pregnant sexual love a lot. Don't forget the Six Healing Sounds at day's end. Live happily ever after.
Dynamic Gymnastic movements are good for parent and child. Mother and father need Chi Kung rooting and centering, a properly aligned internal structure, and lots of Inner Smile to do this safely and well.
How many babies, children and parents can this Russian Jacuzzi hold? Marina began a Russian "banya" - sauna - tradition with pregnant couples years ago. It continues without her presence. Her return visits are always joyous occasions. In this way, mothers and fathers learn from one another the important health practices so necessary for responsible living and raising a baby.
Marina Campbell was born (1951) and grew up in and around Baku in the then Soviet Union. Those initial twenty years merit several chapters but that's another story for another time. She's a licensed military nurse. Her university degrees include Literature, Philology and Journalism. Her working experience includes university lecturer, journalist, university counselor, educational innovator, dance instructor, yoga practitioner and teacher; she's also a Universal Tao Instructor. Marina states that her absolutely favorite working experience, before becoming a Spiritual Midwife, was illustrating/decorating nursery and kindergarten walls for and with her children in their schools. She still finds great joy in painting.
Colin Campbell was born (1944) and grew up in Vermont, USA. He has an Associate's degree in the Sciences. His work experience includes alcoholic rehabilitation; group living specialist with Job Corps; a successful, self-owned janitorial business; experimental pre-school teacher; retreat and seminar leader; discjockey and more.
Our contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Postal address: Colin and Marina Campbell DrownC/o Tao Garden
274 Moo 7Luang Nua Doi Saket
Chiang Mai, 50220