Memories of Mom: Extending Compassion

Nancy Muller Health Pro
  • How many of us have memories - or visions -  of running to our mother's side and tucking ourselves into her skirt, lacing our limbs into her legs in search of comfort in times of need and hurt? May makes us think naturally about Mother's Day and nurturing.  This leads us to thoughts about the desire for "mothering" when we are sick or feeling pain of any kind. 


    Related to the essence of such feelings, the power of compassion was a topic featured in April in The Wall Street Journal1 . What it highlighted are the difficulties healthcare providers - and specifically doctors - have with bedside manner, so supremely important in times of crisis both to patient and involved family members or close friends. As understandable as it might be intellectually that healthcare providers who work so often with the dying or high risk patients might depersonalize their work, it's  hard for us on the other side of the bed to accept this seemingly hardness in their soul.  The author of the WSJ feature article concluded that only those doctors who have experienced crisis and death in their own, immediate circle can feel the pain and offer emotional sustenance, a pastoral level of care, and human understanding.

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    As much as this is logical, I don't buy it. Doctors shouldn't have to experience the difficulties associated with Parkinson's disease to empathize with those who call for advice and information. The same is true for spinal cord injury, obstetrical trauma and the aftermath of childbirth 10 years later, or multiple sclerosis. At some level, there must be an element of human dignity with which we all connect and thus a level of kindness, generosity, and yes, even understanding, a place where our hearts and our minds connect in a Godly passage that surpasses all understanding. The real continence care champions are those who approach their life's work with the compassion of a mother.


    We all are born of mothers, somewhere at some point in time. May the heart of your mother forever live within you and be passed to others in your caring, with understanding and  the power of compassion.


    1 Rosman, K.  The Power of Compassion, The Wall Street Journal , April 13, 2010.

Published On: May 24, 2010