An Enlightened Obstetrician's Dilemma: Combining Medical and Spiritual Understandings

By Cole, Ronald L. Md | Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal, Spring 1995 | Go to article overview

An Enlightened Obstetrician's Dilemma: Combining Medical and Spiritual Understandings


Cole, Ronald L. Md, Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal


"You can't do that in our hospital." That was the comment to me in a letter about nine years ago from the administrator of the only church owned hospital in Baytown. What radical and dangerous labor room practices was he referring to? Would you believe, dimming lights, playing calming music, having family members present and using a whirlpool bath. Typical criticism from my fellow physicians included such comments as, the baby will turn blue and you won't see it, family members will create hazards and you will have high infection rates from using a whirlpool bath. Years later, my techniques have greatly expanded, the criticism has subsided and my complication rate is as low or lower than most obstetricians.

The goal of today's obstetrics is to have a "medically correct" pregnancy and birth. My expanded goal is to safely start each life in a way that will help create a loving caring person that can help improve a world that needs all the love and help it can get. Ironically a significant dilemma is created when an obstetrician combines these two goals.

The purpose of this paper is to present the basic principles of a loving spiritual and safe approach to pregnancy and birth and to discuss why a major dilemma exists to this approach. We will look at society's thinking as well as the medical profession's philosophy. These will be compared to spiritual and enlightened principles I have learned and applied over the last ten years. Finally, I will present how I have found to combine the medical and spiritual principles to help elevate birth and healing to a far higher level and therefore minimize or eliminate the dilemma.

During this century, both society and the medical profession have gone through the most dramatic and rapid technological advances ever experienced in the history of mankind. These advances have made our lives and lifestyle drastically different and improved in many ways. Partly because of this explosive technology "boom," the industrialized world has become very materialistic, technologically complex and relies mainly on its five senses and relates the major aspects of its existence to the physical world.

So as man's thinking became less limited in a technological or physical sense, it became increasingly limited in a non-physical or spiritual sense. This is exactly what has happened in the teaching and practice of medicine. It is unfortunate that western man has chosen to ignore or suppress the true body, mind and soul triad of his existence and focus on the physical or body aspects. Man has and is continuing to pay a significant price for losing touch with the truly important and lasting two aspects, mind and soul, as they relate to life and healing.

With this evolving emphasis on the physical, events and thinking were explained mainly by physical principles. The mind and soul aspects were relegated to the unimportant, non-understood or unspoken mystical realms of thinking or learning and became more avoided. In relating this to my civil engineering background, it can be compared to a three-legged tripod with most of two legs missing. Unfortunately, we have built our modern philosophy on this unstable foundation. Most importantly, this approach creates considerable limitations which retards growth and progress. This "unstable" philosophy spills over into the practice of medicine and no medical specialty relates more to life itself than obstetrics. This suppression of a more expanded understanding limits obstetrical practice as well as life itself.

Another unfortunate aspect of mankind that helped suppress the understanding of mind and soul was the desire to manipulate and control others and promote individual goals. Guilt, fear, intimidation and lack of self-worth became effective tools to achieve control. Mind and spiritual understandings help avoid these negative influences, so the higher thinking was suppressed.

Before some of these limitations are listed, one very important fact should be stressed. …

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