Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Safe Place

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of our local chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network or ICAN. This resource restarted in our area about 3 years ago and I am very glad they have.

In the 90's when I first became part of the birth community in San Luis Obispo County ICAN was just closing down in our area due to lack of interest. I believe this was because on a national level women and groups such as ICAN had been successful. They had created change. They encouraged women to stand up and speak up and say "yes I Can have a vaginal birth after a cesarean." So many women successfully and safely V-BACed that it became the medical norm to "allow" women to "try" to V-BAC.

So why is ICAN re-emerging as a necessary and vital local resource? Because the medical community changed their minds a few years ago and put so many restrictions on trying to have a vaginal birth that many doctors and hospitals simply won't "allow" women to even "try". We are back to "once a cesarean always a cesarean."

I few years ago I had attended my one and only ICAN meeting as a presenter. The topic was doulas. Yesterday I decided I really needed to start going and getting to know these women and find out more about them. And I am so glad I did! What a wonderful group of thoughtful, insightful, inspiring and caring women. They spoke about their desire to get more connected to women in our community and wanting to get the word out about V-BAC as an option. They had ideas about how to connect in a positive way with our medical community and on how to become a more valued resource. Most of the women are successful V-BACers full of inspiring stories and powerful information about how you too can birth vaginally! They are a safe and accepting place to come and explore your feelings about your cesarean experience and your hopes and fears for future births. They will share, answer questions, laugh with you or cry with you and maybe, just maybe they will rejoice with you in the future.

Their monthly meeting is on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7:00 at the SLO Library. Yes I know its late, but put your baby to bed with Dad and come out to get some much needed validation for your feelings surrounding your cesarean.

Yesterday's blog was about stories and coming soon I will talk more about the importance of stories as it relates to ICAN.

ICAN’s Mission Statement

To improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).

ICAN’s Vision Statement

A healthy reduction of the cesarean rate driven by women making evidence-based, risk appropriate childbirth decisions.
local contacts:
Mary Knudson or Jennifer Kaplan at

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