Marianne Littlejohn

Marianne 2018Marianne Littlejohn is a professional nurse and midwife in Cape Town, South Africa. An ambassador for natural birth, Marianne completed her training at Tygerberg Hospital (Western Cape, South Africa) in 1979, though her real training began with women after the homebirth of her first baby in 1981 and she has since helped women to give natural birth for over thirty years. 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. She has also conducted research in the fields of Kangaroo Mother Care, Postnatal Depression and Attachment Parenting.

Marianne has an Honours Degree in Psychology and is a published co-author in the International Journal of Infant Mental Health. She has written articles for the South African Journal of Natural Medicine and is often asked to write articles for various parenting and health publications. Marianne also has three adult sons, all born at home, who fuelled her interest in birth and child development and she facilitates peaceful parenting practices. She says “Giving birth and raising children is the most life-changing event a woman ever experiences. It was both a peak experience and deeply spiritual at the same time. ”

A practised horsewoman, Marianne learned to ride horses as a child on farms in Natal, and takes time out to be with her horse as often as she can. She says “I have reflected on how being with horses has influenced my work with women and families. One needs alot of patience with horses, especially when they have been traumatised by bad treatment. So many women have experienced abuse, both physical and mental/emotional, and I draw on the same kind of patience that I have used with frightened horses. They need calm words and kind treatment, good eye contact and a gentle touch so that they learn to trust they are not going to be hurt again. Then they will give co-operation and effort. In a way this is very similar to the requirements during the process of giving birth.”

“Horses are masters at reading the text of human emotion when they encounter humans. They have the capacity to reflect a person’s trauma and can assist with healing in therapeutic ways, such as with disabled children, autistic children and abused women”. Marianne has plans in the future to enhance a couples understanding of the birth process through interaction with a herd of horses in Kwazulunatal, South Africa.

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23 thoughts on “Marianne Littlejohn”

  1. Hi Marianne. I had my first and second child with C-section but i want to know if its really possible for me to have a baby vaginally. I’m 30 years old and scared to fall pregnant again as i don’t want another C-section. My first child passed away now i would love to have another baby

    1. Dear Boitumelo,
      Many things are possible, including a vaginal birth after two caesarians. Firstly, success would depend on the reasons why you had the first two caesarians. Secondly, you have lost a child. This puts you into a higher risk category. You need to be healthy, the baby needs to be an average size in the womb. It may be possible to request a trial of labour, however most obstetricians and/or midwives would be very careful in your situation. If you fulfil the criteria for pregnancy and birthing health, there may be no reason why you cannot try. Regards, Marianne

  2. Hi marianne

    I am having my 4th baby on 11 April,i have had high risk pregnancies before which is why midwives say its best to go to hospital.
    I came accross your name from a friend ,my previous birth was emergency Caesar would I be able to have a homebirth.
    I have contacted few midwives already with no help.

  3. Hi Marianne,
    I don’t know how I found you, but I did. And I am so glad. I’ve given birth naturally before, but I have this big desire to have my second, due in August, at home, and very much unassisted. I have a lovely midwife who’ll definitely be at the birth of our second. She was with me the entire time with the birth of our firstborn and is just as calm and caring as you described a midwife ought to be. She allowed my husband and I to engage in the whole birth, and directed us into a more comfortable position as my baby was stargazing on the final push. I’ve never heard of a Lotus birth before and would like to know if that is something well known to midwives. I don’t want to offend my midwife, but I feel like a Lotus birth is the answer I’ve been looking for. Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

    1. It sounds like you had a wonderful birth. Lotus birth is easily manageable. I normally pop the placenta into a 1Litre yoghurt container after the birth. After it has been washed it can be placed in a bag, covered with salt and wrapped in a special cloth of your choice. You need to care for the placenta daily as it oozes fluid. A few drops of lavender oil keep it smelling sweet. Within 3-5 days the cord dries up and falls off at the navel of the baby.

  4. What is the possibility of a VBACH 11 months after a previous birth? I’m so desperate to give birth naturally. I had no medical reasons, it was just recommended and stupidly went with it. Everyday I feel like i have been deprived, I am young and healthy. I really hope someone in natal could help me!

    1. Hi Olga

      It is not recommended to give birth at home if you suffer chronic high blood pressure. Chronic high blood pressure leads to increased risks to both mother and baby during labour and birth and there for the labour and birth should be carefully monitored and take place in a hospital setting. You can still have a doula or midwife present with though. I would recommend hypnobirthing as well, as this will help to calm you and lower the blood pressure.

  5. Marianne – there is no midwife to compare to you. You are the BEST. Thank you for showing us the way with natural birth.

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