The International Cesarean Awareness Network is powered by the selfless efforts of our numerous volunteers. We cannot thank our dedicated volunteers enough for their cooperation and service in assisting ICAN with accomplishing its mission.
In an effort to acknowledge some of our amazing volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to offer support, education, and advocacy for the mothers in their area, the International Cesarean Awareness Network is pleased to announce Melissa Mathewson as the July 2015 Volunteer of the Month.
Melissa Mathewson, this month’s honoree, is a chapter leader with ICAN of Jackson, MS. During her time with ICAN of Jackson, Melissa has provided a space for women in her area to find information and support regardless of where they are in their birth journeys.
Get to know our July 2015 Volunteer of the Month:
How long have you been an ICAN member?
I have been a member since 2012.
How did you first find ICAN?
I posted on the La Leche League Facebook page that I ended up with a cesarean after planning a natural birth with my first son. The ICAN leader at that time invited me to the ICAN of Jackson Facebook page and the meeting that next month. It was just what I needed to validate the feelings I was having that nobody else seemed to understand.
What motivates you as a volunteer?
I truly want EVERY woman to know that they have choices in pregnancy and birth. I want to help women find their voice and stand up for their rights. To know that there are truly supportive providers who do actually practice evidence-based care. I also passionately care about supporting women who’ve had a birth experience that was less than desirable or even traumatic. I know so much good can come from a compassionate listening ear.
Do you have a profession or any other passions outside of ICAN?
I am a stay at home mom of two handsome boys. They keep me busy! I love helping moms in their breastfeeding journeys. I hosted the Big Latch On two years ago and am hosting again this year. I participated in the Live Love Latch last year and am a proud tandem nursing mama this year! I hope by being open about my nursing journey and nursing in public when needed, that I will make a small difference in the way moms are treated and the way breastfeeding is viewed in general. My desire is for all nursing moms to feel free to be able to nurse their babies whenever and wherever their babies are hungry or need comfort.
What was your proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer? What about your hardest?
I have many proud moments as an ICAN volunteer, but one of my proudest moments was when a friend talked to me and another friend about the way their provider was talking about her ʺbig babyʺ and the need for another cesarean; we empowered her with information and resources and she switched care providers at 35 weeks and had a wonderful VBAC experience.
My hardest moments are supporting moms following a CBAC. Now that I’ve had one, I know so much better how to listen and what is ok to say. Birth is beautiful and powerful and HARD. It carries with it so many emotions and feelings that are completely normal and need to be validated. I’m so grateful for ICAN. The place where all women can feel safe expressing anything related to birth. A place where the healing journey can begin.
Thank you Melissa for all that you do to support birthing women!