For some it’s a planned or unplanned means to an end. One of two ways a baby can be born. For others it can be a source of intense anxiety, resentment, anger, fear, and even trauma.
Many women who experience Cesarean Section related birth trauma will turn to community groups for support, resources, and healing. One group in particular offers meetings in several cities across North America. ICAN.
I spoke with Nova McGillivray, who became the Calgary ICAN chapter leader after her own difficult Cesarean birth to find out more about what a meeting might look like!
ICAN Calgary meetings focus around peer support- a group of moms helping moms to talk about and work through their struggles. Most women attend because they’re looking for support surrounding the circumstances of their Cesarean birth, but also because they’re interested in Cesarean prevention, recovery, and choices for their future births.
Nova mentioned that this was not an environment that focuses on the outcome, meaning VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) versus CBAC/RCS (Cesarean Birth After Cesarean, or Repeat Cesarean Section), failure versus success, but about communities of women coming together in a supportive environment.
So what happens at a meeting?
Typically the gatherings of 3 to 15 will have a central topic, guest speaker, or point of interest to break the ice and provide learning and healing opportunities. From there, the floor is opened for anyone to speak. Each woman gives a brief introduction and summary of their experience. Some women choose to share quite a lot of detail, some prefer to keep things more private.
When I asked Nova what she would want women to know about recovering from a traumatic birth, her reply was, “I want you to know, really know, that you are not a failure. Your body is not broken.”
ICAN Calgary meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month from 7:00 to 8:30 pm and you can find out more by contacting Nova by email at email@example.com or by following the ICAN Calgary Facebook Page.
Have you attended an ICAN meeting either in Calgary or somewhere else? I’d love to hear about your experiences! Leave me a comment and let me know!
Melanie Little is a Calgary based
birth and postpartum doula and