A brave woman’s decision to write about the painful ordeal of moving on after losing her baby
July 21, 2017
Khanyisa Ngobeni writes about the pain of stillbirth in her new book. Walking through the pain of Stillbirth details Khanyisa Ngobeni’s story of dealing with a heart-breaking experience. The 33-year- old from Dan village says she turned to writing to heal herself after she gave birth to a stillborn child in April 2015. The writer has been married for six years now and currently does not have any children. “I started writing on the anniversary of her death, which was supposed to have been her first birthday. I started by writing a letter to her, and that letter turned into a book. I allowed my pen to bleed,” she said.
Ngobeni said she honed her writing skills while still a learner at Hudson Ntsanwisi Secondary School in Nkowankowa. She wrote a series of Xitsonga short stories but never got to publish them. “Whenever I wanted to tell my mother or sisters how much I loved them, I would put pen to paper to express my feelings. “When they read the letters, the expressions on their faces told me a lot. My sister even encouraged me to write a book, but I didn’t take her advice seriously until I lost a child,” she added. Ngobeni said writing the book didn’t only help her to heal her wounds but also gave her an opportunity to share her experiences with other women who are going through the same pain. “After the passing on of my child, I was left with many unanswered questions. Writing the book became a form of therapy because I was able to bring all the pain and emotions out into the open. The book became another platform for grieving and crying,” she said. Ngobeni said it took her three months to complete the book, writing three to four pages every day in the morning and after work. She said she wouldn’t have been able to complete the book without the support of her husband, her family, and her
“Writing about a painful experience like stillbirth is still a taboo in our community. People expect us to dance around the pain in silence, hoping that it will mysteriously fade away. There truth is nothing is more healing than engaging in deep conversation about your loss,” she said. Her husband, Aubrey, said he hopes the book will spark a conversation in the black community on how the burial ceremony of stillborn children is conducted. “I was told from the beginning that burial matters will be handled by elderly women who are 65 years and older. I was isolated and banished from the burial matters of my own child. “I had to stand metres away and not see what was being done to my own flesh. I was prevented from saying my last goodbyes and it was traumatic,” he said.
The founder of CEM Publishers, Eunice Rakhale-Molefe, said Ngobeni’s book talks to all the mothers who are holding their children in their hearts, and not in their arms. “A mother is not defined by the number of children she has but by the love she holds in her heart. For those parents whose children are alive, but not being held in their hearts, this book will infuse the compassion and yearning inside them to seize the moment and make it right with their children,” she said. The book is available on Amazon and Xarra Books and can be ordered on “Walking through the pain of stillbirth” Facebook page or by contacting Khanyisa on 083 214 4823. – Neville Maakana, Capricon Voice
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CEM Publishers; 1st edition (January 7, 2017)
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