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Person Centered Birthwork

I have had so much fun exploring the topics this month, I hope you have too! In this series of Pride Month articles we have discussed gender identity, sexual identity, pronouns, what gender expansive parenting may look like for some families, masculine doulas filling a role in nontraditional ways, and ways to support members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Today I'm going to dive into some of the language that I use to support folks who utilize my services as well as the purpose behind my drive to provide the best possible person centered care.

What do I mean by person centered care? What is "birthwork"? What does the "two" in LGBTQIA2S+ stand for?? I'm so glad you asked! The "two" stands for 2-Spirit.

Person Centered Care - care that centers the individual, their experiences, their needs, and their safety. This type of care requires the individual to trust their care provider enough that the two can work together to find the best course of action to support the desired outcome, with the individual being the lead expert of their own care.

Birthwork - diverse set of care work that can include Doulas, Midwives, Lactation Consultants, Childbirth Educators, and others who support birthing people before, during, and/or after birth.

Together Person Centered Birthwork ensures that each individual that receives care during their birth experience is seen, centered, and prioritized. To me that means providing whole person care that aims to prevent trauma by first considering how to honor the individual body, mind, and spirit. I choose to uplift the many facets of the human experience because all parts of us have an impact on our physical wellness. Uplifting and spotlighting the many different experiences we may have over our lifetime allows myself and others to consider those experiences prior to engaging in birthwork. Because our mental, emotional, and social wellbeing or lack thereof can manifest in physical distress and illness, and as a brown non-cis person living in the USA I am very aware of the elements that consistently negatively impact the overall wellbeing of millions of folks in this country and it is in the forefront of my mind in everything I do.

As someone who loves to write I am also very aware of the power of words! So I am very thankful for my training with Birthing Advocacy Doula Trainings that has enlightened me to the words and language I can use to support my communities as I provide person centered care through birthwork. Expect to see expansive language such as the below examples (and more) throughout any platform where you'll find Sun Moon & Stars Holistic Health & Reproduction. Get curious about these words, look up those you are not familiar with or check me on something I got wrong! Engage with conversations that allow you to learn and expand and ask questions. That's what this community is all about.

I challenge you to consider using these terms or others throughout your day and the coming week. If you are a Birthworker consider using these terms in your own practice. If you've never used expansive language in the past it may be uncomfortable at first but dont give up! With a little practice it will become second nature and wont feel as odd coming out of your mouth. How do I know this? Because I practiced! And I have found that by using more expansive language the depths of my knowledge has grown and I am able to more fully enjoy humans in a more beautiful way.


Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator and Doula in Altamonte Spring, FL that provides whole person wellness education along with Full Spectrum Doula support for all birthing peoples. This support includes providing thoughtful emotional, spiritual, and physical support before, during, and after pregnancy and pregnancy loss. If you or someone you love in interested in support let's connect! I look forward to connecting!

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