Just Keep Breathing (Jacana, 2008)
Passed down from mother to child. Exchanged by friends and relatives. Related enthusiastically by sleep-deprived strangers in the supermarket queue with their newborns in tow. Birth stories can be as compelling as any bestseller.
Just Keep Breathing brings a stunningly diverse collection of South African birth stories to print. The collection is part of a new wave of South African non-fiction writing. These personal narratives o one of the mot commonplace, yet profound, human experiences, reveal how far we have come from the divisive history of the apartheid era. They represent, in the most redemptive sense, a narrative of the ordinary in a nation marked and shaped by the extraordinary. They symbolize all that we share.
By turns harrowing, hilarious, shocking, brave and deeply poignant, these 28 stories include not only the remarkable stories of women - including a rural midwife, a Rwandan refugee and a surrogate mother - but also contributions by men, who write movingly from the margins. A predominantly literary collection, with contributions by established writers of various cultural backgrounds, it provides a platform for vibrant new South African voices.
Praise for Just Keep Breathing
- "I found some contributions deeply moving, like Sara Nuttall and Marita van der Vyver's stories of loss. Other were inspiring, like the perseverance of women prepared to go through fertility treatment or surrogacy in order to be mothers. Yet others were amusing, not least Joanne Hichens's description of her first pregnancy. I laughed so much I was in danger of waking up my own children." - Julia Denny-Dimitrou, The Witness