The Importance of Gender Affirming Support for Birthworkers
In this article, we get a chance to meet and learn more about Moss Froom, an experienced doula, and birth educator who built a must-have course for birthworkers to help them support trans and queer families. We are so proud to have them share their wisdom and the importance of educating their fellow birthworkers in providing gender affirming support for all birthing people and families. Moss teaches a workshop called Gender Affirming Birthwork. The course is available at Birth Day Presence as part of the Birth Doula training or as a stand-alone workshop, for both experienced and new birthworkers.
Please introduce yourself and share an interesting/fun fact.
Hi! I’m Moss Froom (they/them) and I am a full-spectrum birthworker and childbirth educator. I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I offer trans and queer-centered support services for people at all stages of their reproductive and family-building journeys. I also teach other birth workers how to provide support that is affirming and celebratory for trans and queer families. One fun fact about me is that I studied classical music in college!
How did you come to teach a course on gender affirming care for birthworkers?
I was called into this type of work by my community. My first experience with birth was in college, in my women’s studies courses, but I was always plugged into the amazing aspect of our animal selves – and birthing is an essential aspect of this. Plus I’ve always loved to support others. Later, people around me started getting pregnant and I was seeing how few resources existed for my queer, non-binary, and trans community friends who needed them. I volunteered to be their doula and started to adapt resources for them to improve their experiences. So I came to this work of teaching fellow birthworkers on how to provide affirming support for trans and queer families in the same way I came to birthwork, which was witnessing how few options were available to my trans and queer close ones throughout their fertility, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journeys. Wanting to connect my friends with professional support, only to find that the only professionals and resources available for birthworkers did not include or respect them.
Why is gender affirming work essential to your practice as a birthworker?
As birthworkers, it’s essential for all of us to be able to provide customized support that centers on our individual clients. Affirming our clients’ identities, needs, and desires is all of our jobs!
What is the most challenging aspect of promoting gender affirming birthwork?
It’s very challenging to be faced with the deeply embedded and rampant transphobia that’s present in the birthwork community. The level of hatred, violence toward, and dismissal of trans pregnant and postpartum parents coming from fellow birthworkers is deeply hurtful. It’s vulnerable to be putting myself out there and facing this hostility, but it’s worth it if I can shift the landscape in the direction of more support being available to trans and queer families- even a little bit.
Why and who you should take this workshop? What will you learn in this training?
You should take this stand-alone workshop if you’re a birthworker, or if you are a Birth Doula training participant, who knows you want to be ready to support clients no matter their genders, but who just isn’t sure how to get there. This is a space that welcomes and meets birthworkers at all levels of familiarity with trans and queer culture, builds baseline understanding, and holds lots of space to ask and answer questions! In this training, you’ll learn things like common use terms for trans and gender stuff, gender open and non-assuming words we can use in birthwork, and lots of best practices for building and adapting a doula practice that affirms any client!
Moss (they/them) is a nonbinary person and a trans and queer-centered full spectrum doula and educator. In 2019, they were inspired to delve into birthwork as they witnessed the lack of support and resources available to their trans and queer family who were embarking on reproductive and family-building journeys. This was a call to action and service that inspired a lifelong commitment to providing support and advocacy to trans and queer people as they navigate the full spectrum of pregnancy experiences, and to educating their fellow birthworkers in providing gender affirming support for all birthing people and families.