Mother Mortality Project Call for Submissions

deadline for submissions: 
December 11, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Kenya Mitchell and Emily Picard/Demeter Press


Historical, mythical, and fictional narratives have relegated mothers to the roles of monster or quiet idol. These narrow identity barriers are exacerbated when other labels - woman of color, indigenous, trans, queer, low income, for example - are added. These multiple oppressions ultimately lead to biased, unethical, and incomplete medical treatment as women's understandings of their own bodies are dismissed. 


Popular misconceptions surrounding mortality rates during childbirth have hidden the continued mistreatment and unconscious biases faced by many vulnerable women in North America. Despite modern medicine's ability to significantly decrease the risk of fatalities, studies have revealed that women, particularly those from underrepresented populations, experience biases from doctors that prevents the treatment of complications. These biases ultimately lead, at best, to traumatic and difficult labors and, at worst, to death of the mother and/or the child. 


The Mother Mortality Project (working title) seeks to reshape and ultimately collapse these prejudices by providing space for women to tell their stories of childbirth and pregnancy. This project seeks to highlight the black mortality crisis and medical mistreatment of all women in North America. We affirm black lives matter because what happens to black bodies is representative of negative actions that seep into the larger populace to hurt all underrepresented women. We define underrepresented women as women of color, indigenous women, trans women, LGBTQ+, obese women, young mothers, mothers with a history of 'geriatric' pregnancies, and working-class or low-income women. Our team is inviting women from all walks of life, identities, and experiences to share their experiences to show the need for change in the medical community. 


This project sprang forth from the overwhelming response to Dr. Kenya Mitchell’s viral Medium article, I Almost Died from Preeclampsia.  I Wasn’t Tested Because I Am Black.  Our team believes all women who have experienced obstetric discrimination deserve the chance to have their stories heard, just like Dr. Mitchell’s story was heard.  Our goal is to document those stories to hold the medical community accountable and to encourage deep systemic change in global medicine to ensure vulnerable women and their children have better medical outcomes. 


We invite moms from underrepresented backgrounds to share their stories of difficult births that came about as a direct result of medical mistreatment to highlight the prevalence of medical discrimination against underrepresented pregnant women in an effort to demand changes at the systemic and individual levels.  We also invite doulas, midwives, and medical professionals from underrepresented backgrounds to submit advocacy pieces that present positive stories, strategies, or policy recommendations that will help stem the tide against the maternal mortality crisis. Submitted essays can be narratives, journals, academic articles, or poems.  We are committed to respecting the trauma embedded in these stories, so we will make extra efforts to ensure all feedback is crafted in a supportive manner that will honor your experience.  


Please send submissions to by December 11, 2020. Submissions that are longer than 20 pages will not be considered. We reserve the right to revise all accepted stories for clarity. However, we will strive to maintain each woman's individual voice and style by working with the authors during the revision process.