Home waterbirths can be so happy and healthy. I have been fortunate to assist midwife Marina (editor’s note: Dadasheva-Drown) and to witness many of these ecstatic deliveries. These births were a result of the ‘training’ that the pregnant women undertook with spiritual midwife Marina. The training involves not only the physical but also the mind (especially the mind’s ‘attitude’) and the spirit. The prenatal training is a preparation for labor and delivery and also prepares the mother for vigorous postnatal dynamic gymnastics for baby. Yoga is a very good preparation as is swimming.
Why Tao and Tantra? How do Tao and Tantra help support a healthy and happy home waterbirth?
We can say very simply that Tao reduces stress through meditation and Chi Kung. Tantra frees the body, mind and spirit to experience a greater joy at conception, pregnancy and delivery; an orgasmic joy.
Mantak Chia’s Universal Healing Tao system contains the very powerful Inner Smile meditation, which is present in all the physical work also. The Six Healing Sounds further the transformation of stress into vitality. These active meditations use mother’s loving attention to positively affect the endocrine glands and therefore the major organs and their associated organs. The results of this work are also passed on in the uterus to the growing baby. When mother is quiet and smiling gratefully to her heart she is also smiling to baby’s developing heart. She is making inner peace for her and her baby.
And here's how to make some inner peace right now with the Inner Smile meditation:
- Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
- Notice your breath and smile to your inhalation. And smile to your exhalation. And open your eyes to read these instructions! Yes! Use this smile!
- Smile because you are pregnant with this growing baby.
- Place your hands on your heart.
- Go to your physical heart with this joyful attention:
"Hello, my heart! Thanks for doing what you do! Keeping just the right rhythm and just the right pressure without a thought from me!"
- And smile to your baby's growing heart. "Thank you, my baby's heart!" as you breathe in a red healing mist for your hearts. You can lower a hand and let it rest where you feel baby's heart to be.
- As you breathe out, smile and exhale that shining red mist into your aura.
- Let it be easy and fun.
- "Here I sit, smiling like God's fool as I breathe in and as I breathe out."
Very good! You're doing the Inner Smile meditation and your baby's getting it too.
Now, there's much more to this essential meditation involving the details about the other organs, their associated organs, elements, emotions and virtues. It's important that you understand how and why the 'smile' works so that you can immediately implement it into your daily life.
As her Chi Kung progresses her rootedness, confidence, and trust provide a cozy and well-founded home down in the womb. The Chi Kung movements “rock the baby” on the inner sea of love, in the fluid of the amniotic sac. Her work with her breath also massages and moves baby in the rhythm of ‘pranayama’.
The Tantric work opens the heart even more and the orgasmic response helps for the opening that must occur in the bones and birth canal. The pregnant couple must continue to be sexually loving throughout the pregnancy. Tantric ritual work helps to dissolve shame and untie the knots of taboo. Taboos from the family, the religion, the school, the government and personal taboos of our own design.
Here is a birth story to illustrate these points (Story of Natasha’s childbirth):
We were on the Island of Cyprus for the birth of Natasha’s child. And Cyprus beaches are a dream. The Mediterranean is so clean and clear. It’s a 15 minute walk to an abandoned port and the sea for swimming. Or ten minute drive to a sandy beach – where we can swim way out. Natasha and Marina had decided on a remote beach for delivery if labor began in the dark near the end of day.
I have been so fortunate to ‘assist’ at so many births. The prenatal training cannot be overemphasized. Natasha was put to the test with a longish and stubborn labor. Sixteen years ago she had her first birth in the hospital with induced labor. So that history impinges on her present situation. During the pregnancy she swam a lot. She did Chi Kung. I get to check many folks’ Chi Kung rootedness and structure and I’m always impressed by the pregnant women; it’s like my trying to uproot a tree. Natasha smiled and would not be moved.
One day the water broke and the next day labor began.
And in time, we got to that point where progress slowed and frustratingly came to a stop. Uh oh. If this were hospital history would repeat itself. Here’s where the woman spends time alone and comes the time she and Marina get down to “where the spirit meets the bone” (from a poem by Miller Williams). This is where the midwife withdraws and the shaman (another aspect of Marina) emerges and they dig deep for the acceptance and forgiveness necessary to let go and let’s get on with birth. It is not unusual for shame or perceived guilt or some event or situation to come up even at such a time as birth. It’s not important to go into Natasha’s personal life (everyone has a story) suffice it to say that progress sprouted anew and shot up to just the right rhythm of breath, contractions and pushes and sounds. They were wild, uninhibited, primitive sounds curling up the steep mountainsides and plunging into the salty deep of the waters.
I was behind Natasha and she used me as physical support – like her hanging on to a tree branch especially during the pushes. The sea swells were just strong enough to lift her and gently release. We were in mid-thigh deep water. Marina grabbed her hand and had her feel the crown of her baby’s head. For so many women that is a tipping point; there’s no stopping birth now! There is his head! “I must push and open more one more time!” And here he comes bursting out of his Mama with open eyes. The birth of his head presses on Mother’s mystery gate or secret sacred spot. Thus the orgasmic birth!
He is wearing just the right amount of “cream” that tells us that the timing of the delivery date is good. On late arrivals there is little or no vernix.
And yes, baby swam in the sea and before the placenta was born began sucking away like he had practiced mouth milking in pre-birth baby school. Afterthat, they moved onto the beach, blankets, and towels. And Marina is doing all that work that gets done by an MD and 3 nurses in a hospital setting. There is care for the uterus, perineum and birth canal. As well as checking baby. Then came a baby yoga session and some dynamic gymnastics for the newborn. Throughout the after birth time the baby was frequently at mother’s breast. In fact the smooth birth of the placenta was motivated by the baby’s sucking of the colostrum and milk.
We took Natasha and her newborn son back to the beach a daylater and theboy had his second salt water experience. With a hand supporting the head with the hand under the chin and a hand holding the baby’s bottom and moving the sacrum and lumbar vertebras he was lowered belly down under water and then the head lifted out of the water. He would spit or snort out any sea water. This is encouraged by lifting the baby by holding his hands and raising him up, and stretching the arms from a V shape to a more horizontal position. By blowing into the newborn’s face he learns to close eyes, nose and mouth and hold the breath while under water.
What a scene: we were the only people at the early morning beach. To the north the aquamarine color of the water and to the south the mountains that I see as the spine of this area. And the Mother smiling and giving her loving attention to her baby.
The women swam him with the placenta and cord attached, naturally. The cord stays attached to the placenta and baby until it dries up. There is an energetic flow that continues from the placenta to baby. The connection depends on the weather and the season. If it is a hot climate, perhaps the placenta will deteriorate more quickly than in a wintry climate. It also depends on the care taken with the placenta. Salt and herbs can keep the placenta more fresh for a longer period and allow the cord to dry up and fall off baby naturally. What we see the most of is 2,3 or 4 days before the cord disengages from baby or the parents decide to cut the very dry cord.
Happy and Healthy Mother and Happy and Healthy Baby!
“Happy and Healthy” not by accident but by doing the good things that need to be done to attain that goal of happy and healthy Mother and Baby.
Here's an Iron Skirt, walking pregnant woman story. It took place in a deep winter city east of the Urals. Marina and Colin were teaching a weeklong basic Universal Healing 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?" They and their babies and God were planning home water births with Marina Midwife.
And here 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 Marina. 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. 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 all Marina’s pregnant women 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. It’s basically rhythmic breathing under water and above water.
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 and now Yekaterina was sipping 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!"
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.
Thanks to all the teachers and midwives, and mothers who had babies with Marina. Special thanks to Igor Charkovsky, the godfather of water birth. A bow to Master Mantak Chia for the Universal Healing Tao practices. Gratitude out and in to the Universe, to God and Goddess.
What to do:
Walk a lot. Swim a lot. Yoga. Chi Kung. Inner Smile. Six Healing Sounds. Make love a lot. Get Tantric! Stay in touch with your midwife.
The above sunny pictures are from Colin’s Drown
and Marina’s Dadasheva-Drown personal photo archive
Original text: Тао, тантра и домашние водные роды