Born To Live: A Holistic Approach to Childbirth/The Physician Within You: Medicine for the Millennium
The Physician Within You: Medicine for the Millennium by Gladys Taylor McGarey with Jess Stearn, (1997). Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.
Dr. Gladys McGarey's holistic approach to medical care is detailed in her new book with Jess Stearn The Physician Within You: Medicine For the Millennium (1997). Two chapters are devoted to pregnancy, birth, and babies. Equally rich is her earlier book, Born To Live: A Holistic Approach to Childbirth (1980) which contains other remarkable stories of old souls in new bodies. McGarey is a doctor twice over, trained in both allopathic medicine and homeopathy. In a career spanning five decades, she has courageously faced opposition and explored therapies beyond the medical mainstream. She is a founder of the American Holistic Medical Association and past president of that organization. Still practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona, she also serves on the staff of NIH's Office of Alternative Medicine. But Dr. McGarey is a hero to me for a more particular reason. Nearly twenty years ago, she pioneered the concept of soul communication with unborn children.
In her 1980 book Born To Live, Dr. McGarey makes the bold statement, "It is reasonable . . . to believe that we are in reality dealing with a ready-formed individual personality when we usher a baby into this world." This respectful attitude toward babies underlies Dr. McGarey's approach to the pregnant women in her care. "I often ask the mother to try to make contact with the baby," she explains. "I ask her to record her dreams and see if she can contact the baby, also to write letters to the baby telling him how she feels about things, and talk to the baby, to establish an early, helpful soul communication."
It's no longer so unusual to advocate talking to a child in the womb, but it's rarely suggested that we might also try listening and being receptive to impressions and communication coming from the baby. Dr. McGarey has been a pioneer in recognizing that pre-birth communication is a two-way flow. In Born To Live, she shares remarkable stories of contact between parent and child-to-be. As the attending physician, she has an insider's view of these events and is able to put them in context of the mother's life experiences and the family situation.
According to Dr. McGarey, contact happens in various ways. For example, she writes: "I have seen (pregnant) women who discover emotions foreign to their nature and experience, emotions they could not understand. As we watched their dreams, we began to understand that they were apparently picking up psychically the emotions and feelings of the incoming entity. The baby, of course, has feelings and emotions, residuals perhaps from an earlier incarnation."
One story illustrates Dr. McGarey's contention that family planning may be a mutual process, with the child-to-be playing an important part in the arrangements. This family already had four children and had decided that four was enough. However, several years after the fourth arrived, the mother was taking a shower and she saw a blue light appear in the top corner of the shower. Instinctively, she knew what the blue light meant. Another entity was wanting to make its appearance. "Go away," she said, "You know I don't need any more kids!"
A month later, the blue light came back. Again the same dialogue. And again it happened. And again. Finally, the reluctant mother gave in to the persistence of whatever the blue light meant, and she became pregnant. Child number five arrived-a boy. Her family was larger and more complicated, of course, but more enjoyable.
Two years passed by. Once again the mother now of five encountered the blue light while taking a shower. This time, she didn't have the energy to fight the light. It was almost as if she was getting a message from these two souls, as the blue light appeared that said, "Look, this is the place where I'm supposed to be. You are the people I need to live with, and this is the right time. So please get ready for me, because Fm coming." Dr. McGarey remarks, "It seems likely that babies do really choose their parents; only some, like the "blue light" babies, are more persistent than others."
The past twenty years have seen enormous controversy surrounding abortion. Dr. McGarey considers abortion from the viewpoint of the child soul, which she maintains is aware and telepathic and has some power of choice. In her new book, The Physician Within You, she writes: "In all the struggles between the pro-choice and pro-life factions, no one seemed interested in what the child thought." Dr. McGarey believes that in some cases communication offers an alternative to abortion.
In one instance, a young woman was facing an untimely pregnancy but did not wish to have a medical abortion. She made a practice of talking to the child, suggesting it would be better for him to move on, yet leaving the choice to him. One night, she recalls, "I was able to move my consciousness down to my uterus. It felt like a cavernous, secure shelter. In a rather suspended yet elevated space, this soul and I had some serious communication. It felt completely natural. I explained that it wasn't the right time for me to become a mother. With love I let him know that it had nothing to do with him. I urged him to find another mother." The following day, she spontaneously miscarried.
The story of Susan, from The Physician Within You, takes pre-birth communication full circle and illustrates the apparent flexibility of "family planning." Susan found herself pregnant at seventeen, just as she was about to enter college. She decided to talk to the child, whom she perceived as a girl. Speaking softly, she explained why it was the wrong time for her to have a baby, promising, "You will only be away a little while. We will be together again." Soon afterward, she miscarried.
Two years later, Susan's best friend Fran, who was older and married, had her first baby. The night of the birth, Susan woke to hear a child's voice announcing, "Mama, I'm coming back."
"As I heard the child's voice I jumped out of bed," says Susan. "I could almost feel her presence . . . A thrill of joy swept over me. In that moment I knew it was my little girl-a promise fulfilled. I could hardly wait to see her. Nobody thought anything of my rushing over to the hospital. I was family."
"From the beginning we had this special bond," Susan says, "like we both knew of our previous connection. I thought of her as my child. She would throw up her arms to greet me with the happiest smile. When she was able to toddle she would rush into my arms. I could see that Fran and her husband were amused."
Wishful thinking? An important point is that Susan had kept secret both her own earlier pregnancy and her impressions of Fran's daughter. When the little girl was three, her mother was again pregnant and Susan was visiting. Sitting on Susan's lap, the child suddenly asked, "Do you remember when I was in your tummy?"
"No, honey," Susan said, "you were in your mother's tummy."
The child shook her head. "Not that first time." Uncertain of how to respond, Susan asked, "What did you do in my tummy?" Sadly the little girl
replied, "I cried."
"Why did you cry?"
"Because they said I couldn't stay. They said it wasn't the time. They pulled me back."
"Who were they?" Susan finally asked.
"The same ones that brought me to you."
Some doctors may wonder why they don't hear about pre-birth communication from the pregnant women in their care. While gathering stories for my own book, it was remarkable to me how often women confided that they had been afraid to share their experience with anyone. As Dr. McGarey observes, "These things really happen. Perhaps I hear about them because I am willing to listen to these women who have feelings and experiences they don't want to have disregarded or made fun of."
Author's Note: I am currently planning a new book on pre-birth communication, and invite you to share your experiences and insights. As we become familiar with stories of pre-birth communication, the way we look at babies begins to change. That change must be reflected in how we handle pregnancy and birth, and in how we treat our children. Please Email me at
Editor's Note: This review is also available on the APPPAH website.