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The DSF Birth Story Contest 2020 Guidelines
Bring to life the beauty and intensity of birth!
The Doula Support Foundation (DSF) is all about celebrating the power of those who birth. Just as birth is a transformative experience, so too is the power of storytelling. The intention of the birth story contest is to get inspiring birth stories that help to cultivate a positive and supportive birth culture in our communities. It is also a writing contest because well written stories have the ability to make us feel and understand deep emotions like no other medium.
The jury consists of:
Dr. Michael C. Klein: Dr. Klein is the author of Dissident Doctor: Catching Babies and Challenging the Medical Status Quo. His early experiences working with midwives in Ethiopia were formative, leading him to question many standard but unjustified procedures in Western maternity health care. He has dedicated his life to family medicine.
Ying S. Lee: Y. S. Lee is the author of The Agency, an award-winning series of young-adult novels about a women’s detective agency in Victorian London. She lives in Kingston, Ontario, where she retains warm memories of her birth experiences with a doula.
Leanne Lieberman: Leanne Lieberman is the author of five books for young adults. Her most recent book is The Most Dangerous Thing (Orca Books 2017) about a teenage girl struggling with anxiety and depression. Leanne’s adult fiction has been published in many Canadian journals. She is currently working on a novel called Unsettled.
Sarah Chisholm: Sarah has been a registered midwife with Community Midwives of Kingston since 2016. She is on her second break from the profession to be a client of the practice and welcome her third baby this spring. Reading a variety of birth stories, both fiction and non-fiction, is what ignited Sarah's passion for midwifery and client-centred care models.
What we are looking for:
We are welcoming many different voices and perspectives which are representative of the population of Canada. We want to be able to share all kinds of births, in different settings with different health care providers and support teams in different eras.
A Birth Story (no more than 2000 words) that:
highlights the beauty, the intensity, and the uniqueness of birth experiences;
challenges the unrealistic portrayals of birth we see on television, in film, and in forums across the internet that foment fear;
speaks to the birthing person’s power, capacity, and resilience and offers a powerful and realistic portrayal of what birth can be;
offers a different perspective, is stigma breaking, or promotes solidarity between birthers;
for those whose birth experience was not positive, is written in a way that captures one’s birth with emotion and honesty, and speaks to either one’s own healing process postpartum and/or how the person could have been better cared for in their experience.
How to submit your birth story
Submit your birth story at
Please specify “Birth Story Contest + your name” in the Subject line of the email.
Submit your story in a Word document.
Please use Arial Font 12 points.
Include the following information in the email: title of your story, name, address, phone number, e-mail address and a short biography. Your name should not appear in the story document.
Name your Word document with the title of your birth story
All work must be original (not plagiarized or taken from anyone else) and have permission from the birthing person send to us by email (i.e., if you are a partner sharing your story, you must have permission from the birthing person in order to submit your story).
**Once an entry has been submitted, no edits, replacements or exchanges will be accepted. No entry will be accepted after August 1st, 2020.
Who can participate?
All those residing in Canada (irrespective of visa status), novice or experienced writers, who feel they have a birth story to tell.
Prizes and Publications
The first-place winner will receive:
$300 cash prize
opportunity to be published.
The second-place winner will receive:
$100 cash prize
opportunity to be published.
The third-place winner will receive:
$50 cash prize
opportunity to be published.
The 15 honorable mention stories will be published on the DSF website.
All winners will be invited to participate in a Birth Sharing Circle in September in person or virtually.
Announcement of winners
Winners will be announced on September 1st, 2020 on the Doula Support Foundation website and Facebook page.
Only the first three winners and the 15 honorable mention recipients will be notified personally by email.
Birth Sharing Circle
Winners will be invited to a Birth Sharing Circle to present their stories in September, either in person or virtually, in Kingston, Ontario.
Editing: Our editors will edit stories before the DSF publishes them with the agreement of the writers.
We, the Doula Support Foundation, will be eventually be publishing the three first place winners and the 15 honorable mention stories in an e-book and paper book and all proceeds will go to the Doula Support Foundation. Therefore, we hold the right to publish the 18 stories and will not pay any royalties to the authors. We thank them deeply for sharing their stories and supporting the DSF.
Birth Story Contest Guidelines 2020
Read all about the contest: the prizes, the judges, the publication opportunities, how to submit...
Check out this video about doulas and the Birth Story Contest 2019.
Get inspired by this wonderful interview on Limestone Lens.
In the newspaper...
Check out this article about the 2020 contest and DSF in the Kingstonist.