Meet the Leadership: Melissa Howe, the new ICAN chapter leader in Central Florida!

ICAN is excited to announce Melissa Howe as our newest chapter leader! She has completed training and will be leading ICAN of Central Florida!

"Women should be treated as people during birth, not just the baby incubator. The risk to mother's health in the future isn't being discussed." ~ Melissa Howe, ICAN of Central Florida

“Women should be treated as people during birth, not just the baby incubator. The risk to mother’s health in the future isn’t being discussed.” ~ Melissa Howe, ICAN of Central Florida

Tell us about the birth climate in your area.

ICAN of Central Florida serves Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford, Winter Park, Winter Springs, and Oviedo. There are 2-3 major hospitals competing for business which makes them open to what women want in their birth experience. I do wish we could shake the idea that care providers “let” us do things.

Why get involved in ICAN?

After my son’s birth, I kept hearing that I wasn’t allowed to be sad about the cesarean because I had a healthy baby. A wonderful friend reached out to me after hearing these comments and told me about ICAN and said, it was okay to grieve my birth. I wish people knew that ICAN isn’t about bashing cesareans. ICAN is about supporting women as they create their own birth plans. That having a birth plan is a wonderful thing and shouldn’t be a “joke” to your care provider. I am most excited to meet other women who either haven’t had kids and don’t know how to navigate the birth system or women who have been failed by the system are nervous to enter it again. The knowledge I’ve gained has helped me see that I didn’t fail, the system is poorly designed and excludes a lot of us.

Please share a little about yourself!

My son with a birth center transfer for a prolonged second stage of labor, I struggled with PPD and PPA for a long long time. My daughter was born 2 years later as a home birth transfer for failure to go into labor by 42 weeks. Having a second cesarean after being involved with ICAN was hard for me. I wanted to have a different birth with my second, and ultimately, I did. The knowledge I had gave me the ability to advocate for myself and it changed the mental outcome significantly. I would probably be described as honest, straightforward, motivating, dedicated, and someone who loves people and talking. I have an English degree and a passion for reading and writing. I love to workout and play outside with my family getting muddy and exploring.

Next meeting?

Our meetings are always the First Tuesday of the Month. The next one is August 1st at Infusion Tea (1600 Edgewater Drive) at 7 pm. We welcome any c-section mamas or first-time mothers, but no birth professionals at this meeting.

Congratulations, Melissa!