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by Mali Schwartz
A physician who specializes in infertility problems told his colleague the following: "One day I was peering through a microscope at a fertilized ovum, and I realized that all that this cell will have is carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and a few trace metals; and from this single cell will develop a whole human being, with a brain comprised of two hundred billion specialized cells." I knew at that moment that there must be a G-d.
Marianne Littlejohn, a professional nurse and midwife in South Africa, feels that “Giving birth and raising children is the most life-changing event a woman ever experiences. It is both a peak experience and deeply spiritual at the same time. ”  Marianne has three adult sons, all born at home, which fueled her interest in birth and child development and she facilitates peaceful parenting practices. She has attended home births, water births and hospital births and facilitates calm birth, gentle birth, undisturbed birth and ecstatic birth, as well as assisting women who require a caesarian-section to stay connected with their baby skin-to-skin after the operation. A husband of one of Marianne’s clients expressed the wonder he felt as a witness to his wife’s water birth:  How could I possibly explain, as a father, what it feels like to have the silky soft hair of my baby’s head stray gently through my fingers during the very earliest stage of a water birth?  Is it not something surreal to stroke your wife’s back with one hand, comfort her with kisses and gently hold our baby’s head in the palm of the other while awaiting the next contraction?  When the shoulders popped out our appointment with relief seemed ever more tangible yet those vivid moments have been indelibly engraved upon my being: such awareness, such an awakening. One almost feels guilty sharing it. The first contractions bring small pieces of hope and excitement but the very last one sweeps you away like a car in a tornado – a baby, head to toes came into (our) being. What a beautiful homage paid to the process of birth! From a physician who understands the difficulties that have to be surmounted when couples deal with infertility, to a husband who expresses his wonder at the mystery of birth, these two individuals beautifully express a sense of awe that surrounds the miracle of birth.