When I was handed this book by a birth trauma therapist whom I respect, I took it home and dipped into it. Hours later, having read the entire book in one sitting, I realized I might be the perfect one to review it. After all, I was raised in a totally left-brain household, educated mostly in my left brain, and taught that the test of whether something was real was whether you could grasp it with one of your five senses. For my two school-teacher parents, those five senses were the only senses that exist.
It has been a long journey for me to accept what lies beyond the grasp of my five senses and trust my own perceptions, hunches, feelings. Thus, I probably never would have come across a book like this several decades ago or, if I did, I would have made some snide comment and never opened it. I remain cautious of things I read about the world beyond the obvious physical body, although two years ago I read a slender volume by an emergency room doctor, The Evolution Angel, by Michael Abrams, MD. I was struck by the veracity of what this Western medicine-trained physician began to observe and experience, after years of asking the question, "Why do so many people suffer so much physical pain as they approach the end of their lives?" The answers began to come as a surprise, once he began to listen. [That book changed my view of physical pain and opened my eyes to many other things related to death.]
Spirit Babies has come like an "Ah-ha!" at just the right time. Because I speak publicly about birth and babies and mothers, I am often asked, "When do babies become conscious?" Is it at conception, at some time in the mother's womb, when they take their first breath? Ancient wisdom from various peoples around the world offers differing answers. The author of this book states, from his experiences with babies and parents, parents-to-be and would-be-parents, and those struggling with infertility, miscarriage, still birth and other painful experiences, that it all starts before conception. And, he says, there is not a one-directional conversation. There is a contract, and it is made by all participants, although sometimes broken.
Spirit Babies begins, as many fine tales do, with the author's personal journey, a compelling story of his evolution from a left-brain college student, who spent years in graduate school pursuing a career as an English professor, to his current work as a respected clairvoyant. [Those two words, "respected" and "clairvoyant" would never have been paired in my mind when I was growing up, in college, or even when I was pregnant, although I did have the experience of my daughter Molly - in utero - telling me her name one day when I was walking on the beach.]
What sets this book apart from many on soul, spirit, out-of-body experiences, near death tales and the like, is that it will likely be understood and acceptable to both those who are devoutly religious and to agnostics. It offers additional insights for those who already believe that human beings come into a body having made a plan for this lifetime. Makichen's perspective is indeed convincing, illustrated with numerous stories of the author's work with clients who have come to him over the years for a variety of reasons.
Makichen begins with a cogent description of how the energy systems of the body function. He addresses the issue of infertility at length and, in his experience, ambivalence is at the root of many a difficulty in conceiving. Many women are really not sure that they want children, for various reasons. He describes how spirit babies are also not uniform in wanting to be born into a body and can have many differing desires.
In one story, a woman comes to him, having had a miscarriage the year before and afraid of having another one, yet anxious that this worrying might keep her from getting pregnant again. Makichen writes, "Looking into Delia's aura, I saw the familiar green oval of a spirit baby. Dangling from that oval, like a string on a balloon, were the remnants of the conception cord that attached the spirit to its new body .... When I connected with her telepathically, she sighed. "I'm supposed to be a woman this lifetime. I've never been one before. I'm not ready. I must be prepared.' ... I felt a strong sense of isolation and fear emanating from her." He explained to Delia that it might be a very long time before this spirit felt sufficiently prepared, if it were left to her. He gave Delia a practice to do that he calls "A Mother's Healing Touch" because it can calm and reassure a spirit baby and strengthen the mother-baby bond, supporting conception and full-term pregnancy. This client conceived after several months of doing the simple practice and continued to do it daily throughout her pregnancy.
Makichen writes that in the case of most of his clients who have experienced miscarriages, the baby itself is unprepared to face its new commitment to life. Other babies are patiently waiting for a particular woman or couple to be ready. One thing he makes perfectly clear: All spirit babies, are quite sensitive to the parents' emotions and to their environment. The environment of one set of parents' lives can be acceptable to one baby and discomforting or unacceptable to another, depending on its innate temperament and personality.
The topics Makichen covers include ones that many pregnancy and birth books leave out-prematurity, miscarriage, abortion and stillbirth-and he seems particularly wise on these subjects yet offers no platitudes nor cookbook remedies. Makichen does offer a wide array of simple yet profound processes for parents-to-be that he calls "meditations." Each of these processes is a combination of inward focusing and quieting down, with visualization and prayer or chants of different kinds, which places the woman or man in a state of calm readiness. There is one, for example, to help parents hoping to adopt a baby to help call the spirit of that specific baby whose destiny is to be adopted by them.
I found compelling the section on the phases of development that spirit babies go through, as well as the practice one can do to attune oneself to the baby while it is still in the spirit world. This can open a direct line of two-way communication with the baby. A mother, for example, can ask the baby what problems might be involved in its conception, in utero life, or birth and thus repair or prepare accordingly. The section on communicating regularly with your spirit baby states that it is mostly a matter of tuning in to how your particular baby prefers to communicate. In any case, one needs to develop a sense of clarity and concentration, which means slowing down a life that is too fast-paced or outer-directed. Many parents-to-be, he states, find that in the seventh or eight month of pregnancy many babies stop communicating. He finds this a good sign. "It means that the spirit has fully embraced its new personality and has taken on the role of an infant." During the time when the baby is silent he recommends that the parents continue their meditative communication. "They provide constant emotional support and reassurance to the spirit baby as it prepares to pass from one dimension to another." He reminds the reader that each prospective parent has a natural connection with their spirit baby. What he offers just enhances that connection, helping the baby to be born healthy.
It is difficult to imagine someone not making the effort to conceive consciously and communicatively after reading this book. Babies are citizens of two worlds. Women are innately very psychic because they are the ones to carry these new lives. The father or partner also has a special role to play that is significant. I only wish someone had put this book into my hands back in 1970, when I was pregnant with my daughter Molly or before - and that I would have foregone my snide comment and read it. I would like to put it in the hands of every prospective parent and person working in the field of childbearing.