Writing Contest: Birth Stories 2021
You love writing and want to share your birth story?
We would love to read your birth story!
The contest is open from June 1st to August 1st.
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.
Writing Contest: Birth Stories Guidelines
The Doula Support Foundation (DSF) is all about celebrating the power of those who birth. And just as birth is a transformative experience, so is storytelling. The intention of the birth story contest is to get inspiring birth stories that 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.
Contest open June 1st, 2021
Deadline: August 1st, 2021
Prizes and Publications
The first-place winner will receive:
$200 cash prize
Will be published on DSF’s website
The second-place winner will receive:
$100 cash prize
Will be published on DSF’s website
The third-place winner will receive:
$50 cash prize
Will be published on DSF’s website
The 15 English and 10 French honorable mention stories will be published on the DSF website.
The intention is to publish a book with the winning stories in English and in French of the 2021 winners of the contest. We will translate the stories, so we can publish one book in French and one in English with all the stories.
What we are looking for:
We are welcoming many different voices and perspectives which are representative of the population of Canada. We wish to be able to share all kinds of births, in different settings with different health care providers and support teams in different eras. We welcome stories written by partners too (with permission of the birther).
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 to ensure the objectivity of the readers and jurors.
Include the following information in the email: name, title of your story, address, phone number, e-mail address, a short biography (75 words) 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, or a support person 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, 2021.
Who can participate?
All those residing in Canada (irrespective of visa status), novice or experienced writers, who want to share a birth story.
Works are judged anonymously based on the story writing. (the jurors and readers won’t see the name of the author)
Submissions are processed by a two-tiered system in both languages (English, French) by readers and jurors.
The birth stories are read by readers who are from the maternity care field and the writing world. Each birth story is read by two readers.
The readers come up with a long list, one in French, one in English, which will be forwarded to the respective jury.
The English and French juries will read all stories on the longlist and decide on the first three-place winners and the honorable mentions.
Announcement of winners
Winners will be announced on September 1st, 2021 on the Doula Support Foundation website, Facebook and Instagram page.
Only the first three prizewinners and the 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 October on Zoom. This is an occasion where the jurors, readers and winners can share their birth and writing experiences in a non-judgemental space. All participants and public will be invited.
The first-three place and the honorable mention stories will be first published on the Doula Support Foundation blog and then into a book.
The winning English stories will be translated in French. The winning French stories will be translated in English. The goal is to create a book in English and one in French with all the stories.
Publishing: We, the Doula Support Foundation, will be eventually be publishing the English three first place winners and the 15 honorable mention stories and the French three first-place winners and the 10 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 translate and publish the 31 stories without paying any royalties to the authors. We thank deeply all the writers for sharing their birth stories and supporting the DSF.
Meet who will read your birth story
Click on the name to learn more, including a tip for writing your birth story.
is professor at Queen’s University. Dr. Lawford is an Aboriginal midwife (Namegosibiing, Lac Seul First Nation, Treaty 3) and a Registered midwife (Ontario). Her research focuses on comprehensive, gender-inclusive sexual and reproductive healthcare for Indigenous Peoples with a particular focus on the provision of maternity care for those who live on reserve.
is a postpartum doula that services within the GTA area. She prefers helping her clients with overnights services to make the transition go a little smoother. She is a proud mother of 3 adult children and new mom to her cats Shaq and Kobe. Debbie is also a co-founder of Ontario Black Doula Society (OBDS) with 6 other brilliant doulas.
Whitney French is a writer, multidisciplinary artist and publisher. She edited the award winning anthology Black Writers Matter a collection of creative nonfiction. She is a self-described Black futurist, middle child- trouble maker and the co-founder of Hush Harbour, the only Black queer feminist press in Canada. Currently, she lives in Toronto.
Leah Mol is a writer and editor. Her work won the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize and the 2020 Bronwen Wallace Award, and her first novel is forthcoming from Doubleday Canada in 2022. Leah holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Now based in Toronto, she lives with her partner and a very anxious cat.
When not running around with her two young kidlets, Ashley’s attending births as a doula, writing custom lullabies for new babies, out on a paddleboard, or flying planes at the local airport. She is a member of the BC Doula Services Association, and serves on the board of the Tantalus Wellspring Society, a charity that assists those experiencing barriers in accessing mental wellness therapies. As last year’s first-place laureate, Ash is both excited and honoured to be a reader on the Doula Support Foundation's Birth Story Writing Contest.
Leah Timmermann lives in rural Eastern Ontario. She works as a midwife. She and her family live in a tiny house that they built on their family's land. She loves reading, cooking, and anything outdoors. Her birth story, She who brings forth the blossoms, won an honorable mention in last year's contest.
Lori is a writer and teacher from Stoney Creek, Ontario. She placed second in the Doula Support Foundation's 2020 Birth Story contest. Her essays have appeared in The Hamilton Review of Books, The New Quarterly, and The Humber Literary Review. You can connect with her on Twitter @sebastianl74 and on Instagram @sebastianlwrites and read more of her work at https://lorisebastianutti.com.