Bearing Witness

Bearing_Witness Cover

Bearing Witness

Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas

Edited by Dr. Lisa Doran and Lisa Caron

Fox Womens Press, 2010

Lisa Doran B.Sc., ND and Lisa Caron CD(DONA) PCD(DONA) are thrilled to announce that our anthology, the first of it’s kind, Bearing Witness:  Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas has now been released and is available in print through Fox Womens Books in Canada and the US.

Bearing Witness is a collection of stories and poems written by birth doulas sharing their perspectives on childbirth as seen through the eyes of a doula.  We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have wonderful and wise contributors share their experience, their knowledge and their vision and hopes for birth in North America.

The editors are available for interviews or to arrange a speaking date.


Read what leading experts in the birth world have to say about the book when they reviewed it recently:

If you want to get to know what birth doulas are all about, read Bearing Witness, a series of birth stories and poems by doulas and others that tell it all. The stories are touching, inspiring, joyous, sad, spell-binding, suspenseful, and frustrating. Most are written by doulas who are dedicated, reliable, resourceful, and diplomatic; they recognize their scope of practice and know how to work effectively within it to help women to a safe and satisfying birth as they define it. Some are written by burnt out, angry, frustrated birth activists who are sickened by mainstream maternity care as practiced today and who have little respect for the professionals who work within that system.

Taken as a whole, this book covers the joys and challenges of the birth doula’s role in North America. It will help expectant parents know how doulas think and feel, and they may be helped to think about the qualities they most want in a doula. As doulas read this book, it will feel like sitting in a circle of doulas as they share the rewards and frustrations of their work. And for other maternity care professionals, this book reveals how doulas think and feel as they work side by side with caregiving staff who have more power and different responsibilities than the doula, but likely less knowledge and understanding of the woman’s wishes, concerns, fears, strengths and weaknesses.

A gripping book written by the doulas themselves…”

Penny Simkin, Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula, and author of “The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions”

This lovely book of doula experiences is nourishing, inspiring, passionate, and wise. I recommend it highly and hope that it finds a wide audience.” Ina May Gaskin, Author, Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding.

A remarkable book full of courage and wisdom. Every labouring woman should have a doula at her side.” Ricki Lake, Producer of “The Business of Being Born” and Co-Author of Your Best Birth

Birth narratives provide a vital perspective, often quite different from, and sometimes more valuable than, that provided by scientific evidence. The stories, poems, and dreams of the doulas who contributed to this book are truly fascinating. They supplement the birth narratives of mothers, midwives, and doctors, and add a new dimension to our understanding of the miracle of birth.”

Murray Enkin, family doctor, obstetrician, childbirth educator, clinical epidemiologist, professor, senior author, A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth, now retired from all and enjoying life.

Doulas provide care from their hearts as well as their hands and that is so evident in this transformational collection of stories that will make you cry, laugh out loud, and perhaps even make you angry as you identify with womens’ tales of birth. Please read every story to better understand the “real” side of birth. There is healing and love in the pages of this book, which will eventually leave you with a message of hope.” Barbara Harper, RN, CLD, CCCE Author, Gentle Birth Choices, Founder Waterbirth International

Doulas are in a perfect position to bear witness, to see what happens at birth — they are present, institutionally powerless, but there to be with the woman no matter what. They see the good births and they stand by as obstetrical demands destroy the hope of a good birth. Listen to their voices carefully — they have much to teach us.” Barbara Katz Rothman, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York and Visiting Professor, International Midwifery Pre-registration Program, Ryerson University. Katz Rothman’s most recent book, co-authored with Wendy Simonds, is LABORING ON: BIRTH IN TRANSITION, Routledge, 2007.

Childbirth is an ordeal of nature. It can be an empowering experience for a woman, or can be devastating. But it is not neutral. The doula accompanies a woman on this journey, assuring a more transformative, than negative outcome. These stories reflect the depth of caring and commitment that doulas provide, that has the potential to change lives.” Gayle Peterson, PhD Director of Training, Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Author, An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and Making Healthy Families.

This anthology of birth stories is just what we need as an antidote to birth as risky business or nothing more than an opportunity for unwanted side effects or as an accident waiting to happen. The authors are almost all doulas, with a smattering of artists and writers and other disturbers of the peace. The stories range from beautiful, transformative and poetic to horrible and associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Throughout they have the ring of a deep truth and are positive even when troubling indeed. The doula is the central character and mediator in most of the stories and the “medical model” comes in for some serious, and well-deserved bashing. While the system of support for women in labor is in serious trouble, this powerful book contains the seeds for a rebirth of a movement­one in which the woman with her supporters is at the center, while we professional caregivers are only there as facilitators. It is time for stories to replace statistics.” Michael C. Klein, MD, CCFP, FAAP (Neonatal-Perinatal), FCFP, ABFP, FCPS. Emeritus Professor of Family Practice and Pediatrics, University British Columbia & BC Children’s & Women’s Health Centre. Sr. Scientist Emeritus, Child & Family Research Institute. Director Clinician Scholar Program UBC Department of Family Practice


Published Reviews of the book

Doula Care Newsletter Review

Ann Douglas Reviews in the Toronto Star

Special Book Events:

Book Launch and Celebration: Was September 30th, 2010 7-9 pm. Parentbooks. 201 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON. 416-537-8334 and 1-800-209-9182      Click here to see the Media coverage

Book Signing: Saturday, November 6th, 1pm-3pm. Chapters AJAX.

This book is on the approved reading list for the following courses and programs:

  1. Maternal/Newborn Care, Year 3 curriculum, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

2.  Pacific Association for Labour Support Certification Required Reading List


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