The story behind the birth story contest

Did you hear about the Doula Support Foundation’s Birth Story Contest? Well I am the organizer of this contest that ended on August 15th

The idea came to me probably because I am a French translator/editor and I am also a doula. So, together, writing and birth naturally equals the Birth Story Contest! Right? In my mind, absolutely!

Where to start?

 But where to start? Well, first I needed judges. It happened that I knew Lyn from a book club I attend and she was all ears when I talked about this idea. Being a local writer, she said “I am very interested, let’s meet to talk about it”. And from there this project took a life of its own. Everyone from the Doula Support Foundation contributed to its success, from designing a poster, to social media postings, to distributing posters, to an interview on Limestone Lens, to advertising it in the Novel Idea window, to finding prizes, thanks to Tina at Indigo-Kingston to offer the baskets of goodies, etc.

Having a large community thinking and talking about birth in a positive way and empowering other women was so motivating to me. And this is also one of the goals of the Doula Support Foundation, to create a positive culture around birth!

And then the stories started to flow in… and, and what can I say, it was overwhelming and a true privilege to read those stories in which people put so much of their heart and soul in. One might think those stories would be similar as they were all about birth, but not at all. No two births are the same, no two life circumstances are the same, no two writer styles are the same.

So, the judges met and deliberated! That was an interesting process. Even though it felt like all stories were worth sharing, we had to choose 3 winners and the honorable mention stories! We did it in a fairly democratic way.

Then I had the pleasure to write to the winners to let them know that they won and to invite them to participate to a reading, which I called a Birth Sharing Circle.

Sharing of birth stories

After some light editing, we published the first, second and third place winners on our website, and announced them on our Facebook page.

This idea of a Birth Sharing Circle has been a dream for me, because I feel women need a safe space to talk about their birth and pregnant people want to hear about it—not the horror stories, not the movie dramatic versions, just the normal and extraordinary experience of giving birth of ordinary people. And it happened on September 11th at Indigo! This was such a beautiful sharing circle, which has validated my feeling. There is definitely a need for people to tell there birth story and for pregnant people to listen to them.

What’s next?

The next step would be to make a book out of all these stories. I have found an editor in the person of Pam Hudson. So together we will publish most of the stories we have received on the Doula Support Foundation website in 2020. We also intend to organize another birth Story Contest in 2020 and eventually make a book with all those wonderful stories so pregnant women can read not the how to give birth, but just learn from the voices of others.

Words of gratitude

I would like to thank our judges, Lyn McCauley, Eileen Labrie and Sue Cross for their serious reading and support in this project. I want to also thanks Gretchen Huntley who could not stay as a judge for family reasons, but offered a very nice poem instead! Also Novel Idea let the Doula Support Foundation used their window to spread the word about us and the contest. Also, a special thanks to Donna Chambers who invited the DSF on her show “Limestone Lens”. And a huge thank you to Tina Cornelius at Indigo-Kingston for her support by giving three baskets as prizes and let us use their space for the sharing circle.

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