MOTHERING THROUGH THE DARKNESS: Stories of Postpartum Struggle
Deadline: December 1, 2014
Approximately 1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression after having a baby. Many more may experience depression during pregnancy, postpartum anxiety, OCD, and other mood disorders. Postpartum depression is in fact the most common pregnancy-related complication, more widespread than gestational diabetes, preterm labor, or pre-eclampsia. Yet confusion and misinformation about postpartum depression and anxiety — from their symptoms to timelines to prevalence to treatment — are still widespread. Myths surrounding mothers’ mental health challenges can have devastating effects on women’s well-being as well as their identities as mothers, too often leading to shame and inadequate treatment. Although postpartum and antepartum depression and anxiety are temporary when treated, untreated mood disorders can lead to long-term consequences for both a mother and her child. A mother can feel very alone, ashamed, and hopeless. And keep silent.
Mothering Through the Darkness: Stories of Postpartum Struggles will be a unique anthology with the goal of breaking that silence.With this collection of essays, we will try to dispel these myths and focus on the diversity of women’s experiences, through the voices of mothers themselves.
The HerStories Project is seeking unpublished, first-person essays from mothers about their experiences with postpartum depression, anxiety, or other mental health struggles during or after pregnancy.* We’re looking for well-crafted, true accounts that explore and examine aspects of this experience.
Submissions must feature a strong and compelling narrative. We’re looking for well-written prose, rich detail, and a strong, distinctive voice. (For more about what we’re looking for, here is an article that was written for a personal essay writing with a few more suggestions.)
Guidelines: Previously unpublished and between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Please also submit a short bio of 50-100 words, including previously publications.
The Writing Contest
Your submission to Mothering Through the Darkness can be, if you choose, simultaneously entered into the first HerStories Project Writing Contest. (see details below) The HerStories Project will award $500 to one submission for Best Essay and $100 to two runners-up. All three essays will be published in the book, and each winner will receive a paperback copy.
To cover the costs of sponsoring the contest, we are asking for a $10 reading fee. If this fee presents a financial hardship that would otherwise prevent you from submitting an essay, we will waive this fee and this will not affect the status of your entry.
To submit, click here.
For more information on this, click here.