All 2018 Contest results will be announced in January 2019.

Thank you for writing this stunning piece!! I have 2 children, and relate so much to your story. My first, now 12, has autism, global developmental delays, epilepsy and a variety of other diagnosis, and my little one (10 months) was born with complete bilateral cleft lip and palate and a hole in his heart. We are currently getting ready for his 3rd surgery and 5th hospitalization, and planning an early first birthday party, since it’s very likely he will still be recovering in the hospital the day he turns one. It can be isolating to have these amazing, yet different children. I have a hard time relating to moms of typical children, so it is so nice to read about other parents with similar feelings. All the best to you and your little girl!

All pieces of written and spoken poetry which interpret the theme are acceptable in this category.

Lastly, I prepared meticulously for an unmedicated birth. In the final months of pregnancy, I ended each hip-aching day by popping earbuds into my ears, closing my eyes, and listening to Hypnobabies, a natural-birthing program that guided me through self-hypnosis.


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But why do I have to write about my work, instead of letting my work speak for itself?

As the parent of a 49 year old who was expected to die before five, this brought back many memories and even a bit of wisdom I may have forgotten. Thank you for sharing your gift to describe such experiences. Loneliness can be paramount for all of your family. This helps us to remember we have opportunities to share with those who understand. And this many years later? I admire the progress being made. I realize there is still a long way to go. And I am delighted to see my precious daughter enjoying her life more than she ever has, feeling confident that she can contribute to others in her special ways and tough enough to patiently work her way through medical care, knowing that it is not permanent. She has taught me much I never would have known without her.


“Cut it now!” the midwife commanded.

But twelve years later, carrying a new life inside me triggered my old thinking. There it was: the belief that I was entirely responsible for wellness.

My baby is developing normally and is healthy and strong.

I was thirty-two when I had Fiona. Some of my mind-body fundamentalism had worn away, in part because when I was twenty my stepfather had gotten cancer—a fist-sized melanoma tumor beneath his arm—and his New Age methods of positive thinking hadn’t healed him. A naturopath told him if he wanted to get well he had to forgive his mother, and he looked genuinely distraught when he said to my mom, “But hon. I have!” He was diagnosed in May and he died in October. With his death, I lost my father and my chiropractor and my champion. I also lost a religion I could no longer reconcile. These bodies were not remote control cars we could master with the switches in our hearts and minds. Trying to shape them with our thoughts and our diets was a foolhardy attempt to guard ourselves against pain.

Ingrown Toenail: Worry and guilt about your right to move forward.

“There’s nothing you could have done differently,” he said. “This syndrome appears across all cultures.” His remark was both a relief and a riddle. Really? I had a hard time believing him.

Dewey, J. (1916) (1966 edn.), New York: Free Press.

he body is fixable. The body is perfectable, and if your body is not perfect, it’s your fault. Change your thinking. Improve your emotions. Take your vitamins and fix yourself. This was my upbringing.