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 Megan Nickel-Martin as the September 2014 Volunteer of the Month.
Megan Nickel-Martin, a chapter leader for ICAN of Lee County in the state of Florida, was the first person of contact for the Jennifer Goodall case which took place at her local medical facility, Bayfront Health Port Charlotte. After offering support throughout the pregnancy of Jennifer Goodall, her chapter was notified that their local hospital was threatening legal action against this ICAN member for exercising her right to refuse major surgery. After helping to put her in contact with legal aid through the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), Megan Nickel-Martin and her chapter continued to support Ms. Goodall as she pursued legal remedies, and then offered their support in the form of rallies at the hospital once every other option had been exhausted.
It is the efforts of volunteers like these who courageously stand in the gap for their local mothers which enable ICAN to continue making a difference in the lives of birthing mothers throughout the world.
Get to know our September Volunteer of the Month as we interview Ms. Nickel-Martin:
How long have you been an ICAN member?
I have been an ICAN member since April 2012.
How did you first find ICAN?
When I was pregnant, I read the blogs on Babble daily because I appreciated the various points of view. One of the bloggers I liked at the time was Danielle Elwood and she talked a lot about ICAN during her time as a Babble blog writer. After my son was born in 2011, I looked into ICAN and saw my closest chapter was in Sarasota, about 2 hours away. Despite all my strategizing efforts with a newborn who hated his car seat, I wasn’t able to make it up that far. At 10 months postpartum, I began the process to start an ICAN chapter here and the rest is her-story!
What motivates you as a volunteer?
Knowing that other moms are feeling a lot of the same things I’ve felt as a mom who had a cesarean. When I started our chapter, I thought to myself, “I know I can’t be the only mom trying to navigate the line between mourning and celebrating.” Seeing the moms in my chapter grow and change in the safe place we’ve created is incredibly validating. I also do it for my son. I am motivated to turn the horrible memory of the day he was born into something beautiful because he deserves to have come from something beautiful.
Do you have a profession or any other passions outside of ICAN?
I am a Birthing From Within doula and childbirth mentor. Birthing From Within spoke volumes to me as a mom who did everything “right” and still wound up in a crappy situation. I now get the opportunity to validate, motivate, educate, initiate and celebrate moms and their families everyday. We are also big music lovers in my house. My husband is in a reggae soul band which keeps our feet moving and our hearts happy!
What was your proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer? What about your hardest?
It’s hard to pick one moment to be proud of because I’m proud of the moms in our chapter everyday. Proud of the work they’re doing for themselves, for their babies, for their families and for the rights of birthing women everywhere. We have such a respectful, caring group. It’s been a shining example to me of the power and beauty of women supporting each other. I think the hardest moments have happened this year as we lost a huge champion for VBACs in our area and our options have been diminishing. It’s hard to tell a mom that her only option for a hospital VBAC is to drive 1-3 hours away. It was really hard when Jennifer Goodall, who was working so valiantly for her VBA3C got that letter from Bayfront. It was a really dark day for all of us. We keep pushing on, though. I got to work with some amazingly resilient women who weren’t willing to take this lying down! It’s an honor to witness their journeys as heroes and warriors.
Thank you Megan Nickel-Martin for all that you do to support birthing women!