WINNERS OF THE DSF’S BIRTH STORY CONTEST 2020
VIRTUAL BIRTH SHARING CIRCLE ON OCTOBER 3rd, AT 3 PM (EST)
We are amazed and humbled by all the birth stories we received — the readers and judges had a difficult job to do! We want to thank all participants who submitted a birth story. We feel every single story is important and beautiful, and a testament to that incredible power and resilience of birthing people. We invite all of you to attend our virtual Birth Sharing Circle!
However, this was not only a birth story sharing event but also a writing contest. So, let’s hear a drum roll… the first three winning entries and the 15 honorable mentions are:
The first-place laureate is Ashley Lightfoot from Squamish, BC
You can read her story Birth of the Tiger here.
She won a $300 prize.
The second-place laureate is Lori Sebastianutti from Stoney Creek, ON
You can read her story Cutting Ties and Letting Go here
She won a $100 prize and will be published on the DSF website on September 3rd.
The third-place laureate is Mercedes Papalia from York, ON
You can read her story Luna Rising here.
She won a $50 prize and will be published on the DSF website tomorrow.
The fifteen honourable mention winners by alphabetic order are:
Name From Title
Danielle BoByk Kingston, ON Reclaiming My Birth Story
Angela Douglas Summerland, BC Worth It
Susan Flanagan St. John’s, NL Surprise Baby
Christine Folan Chatham, ON Delivered
Jenna Kovacic Richmond Hill, ON Believing in your Body
Dana MacDonald Kingston, ON Our Rainbow
Sheena McDonald Toronto, ON Surprise!
Julie Meier Calgary, AB Mother Knows Best
Kristin Nuttal Pemberton, BC A Full Moon Eclipse Birth
Brittany Oliver Welland, ON Birth Plan
Camille Ramsberger Keswick, ON It All Makes Sense Now
Alison Ryder Kingston, ON Just Like Hollywood
Sharon Chisvin Winnipeg, MB Labour, Delivery and a Grateful Grandmother
Leah Timmerman Maberly, ON She Who Brings Forth the Blossoms
Sara Wettlaufer Petawawa, ON A Dramatic Debut
VIRTUAL BIRTH SHARING CIRCLE - OCTOBER 3, AT 3 PM (EST)
The Dsf will hold a Virtual Birth Sharing Circle on October 3rd at 3 pm (EST) with winners and participants of the Birth Story Contest, as well as judges and readers for the Contest. We also welcome any birth workers, pregnant people, and their partners to attend.
We will be celebrating the winners of the Birth Story Contest 2020, all the birthers and birth workers!
Sign up here at Eventbrite.
Check out this video about doulas and the Birth Story Contest 2019.
In the Newspaper...
Check out this article about the 2020 contest and DSF in the Kingstonist.
Get inspired by this wonderful interview on Limestone Lens.
Discover the 2019 Winners!
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, filename should be the title of your story.
Your name should not appear in the Word document.
Include the following information in the email: title of your story, name, address, phone number, e-mail address, a short biography and where did you learn about the contest.
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.