Linda Crownover-Inch is ICAN’s May Volunteer of the Month!

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 Linda Crownover-Inch as the May 2017 Volunteer of the Month. Linda is a dedicated volunteer out of ICAN of the Quad Cities who’s been with ICAN for seven years. We appreciate the work she does!


How did you first find ICAN?
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In 2010 McKenzie Gilbert led the first ICAN of the Quad Cities meeting in our community. After an internet search looking for more ICAN information, I went to the first meeting and others over the following year. Then in 2011, I attended the Gateway to Better Birth ICAN Conference in St Louis, MO. Following that conference, I knew I wanted to be part of supporting ICAN for years to come.
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What motivates you as a volunteer?

"I believe the ICAN Mission Statement and Statement of Beliefs can become, for many, a stepping stone to healing birth trauma that has plagued American childbirth over many generations. The journey to healing and change in American Maternity Care is more than my passion. It is a way of living my life to the fullest." ~ Linda Crownover-Inch, ICAN of the Quad Cities

“I believe the ICAN Mission Statement and Statement of Beliefs can become, for many, a stepping stone to healing birth trauma that has plagued American childbirth over many generations. The journey to healing and change in American Maternity Care is more than my passion. It is a way of living my life to the fullest.” ~ Linda Crownover-Inch, ICAN of the Quad Cities

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This question caused me to take long deep breath followed by a deep sigh. Then, I pondered how to answer this for hours. Here is what I came up with: I am motivated, sometimes driven, to provide childbirth information and options to women because of my own births. I birthed my first child in January of 1968, my second birth in March of 1970 and a third birth in March of 1973. I have often referred to this time period as “the cave era of childbirth”.
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In combination during my first two births, I survived nurses holding my legs together, a nurse using her hand to hold my baby’s head on my perineum for several minutes, deep medial episiotomies, 4th-degree lateral cutting, and extensive tearing. I remember being on my back on a metal table with my arms and legs strapped down and ending up with the doctor using forceps to pull one of my babies from my body. My first two births were severally traumatic childbirth experiences which left physical and psychological scars on the lives of myself and babies. I was told by many that this was considered normal birth.
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My third birth was the birth that led me to recognize, decades later, that birth could become a pathway to healing previous traumatic childbirth experiences. Before becoming pregnant a third time, I prepared for the journey with the purchase of several books. Books such as; Six Practical Lessons by Elizabeth Bing, Thank You, Dr. Lamaze by Marjorie Karmel, Painless Childbirth: The Lamaze Method by Fernand Lamaze, Childbirth Without Fear: The Original Approach to Natural Childbirth by Grantly Dick-Reed, MD, and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. My life was profoundly changed by these books and all can still be found on my bookshelf. Following my third birth, La Leche League Leaders and monthly LLL meetings became my only postpartum support.
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I recall the first time I read the phrases “unexpected outcome” and “birth trauma”. From that moment I knew that birth should be and could be different than the mostly traumatic stories I had heard women tell over the years. I made a conscious decision to assist women in becoming proactive about their own care. When I first read through the ICAN pamphlets and web information this is what stood out most to me: ICAN Statement of Beliefs: 12. We as women must now assume more responsibility for our own births.
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Through the support of ICAN Leadership, ICAN Volunteers, ICAN Chapter monthly meetings, finding one another in ICAN social media, and internet forums women have discovered outlets and support for cesarean recovery, VBAC, CBAC, VBAMC, gentle cesarean options, information for avoiding the primary cesarean, support for unexpected outcomes and traumatic birth. I believe the ICAN Mission Statement and Statement of Beliefs can become, for many, a stepping stone to healing birth trauma that has plagued American childbirth over many generations. The journey to healing and change in American Maternity Care is more than my passion. It is a way of living my life to the fullest.
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Do you have a profession or any other passions outside of ICAN?
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I am the sole owner and operator of Childbearing Year Resources. During the past 27 years, I have continued to serve my community as a doula, childbirth educator, childbirth options consultant, pregnancy massage specialist, and infant massage instructor. Throughout the year I keep up with continuing education. I love keeping up with interesting new information that seems to fit into the always changing world of mothers, babies, and families.
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Three years ago I founded Mothers Matter QC a perinatal mental health support group. In this group mothers meet monthly to chat about, sometimes difficult, physical and psychological adjustments occurring during pregnancy and postpartum. PPD, PPA, PPOCD, and/or PTSD are most common and PPP is most rare.
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I love to knit, sew, watch movies, and read. In addition to 3 adult children and their spouses, I have been gifted with 9 beautiful grandchildren. I spend countless hours in the bleachers during winter months attending my grandsons’ wrestling meets and in the bleachers again during summers cheering on baseball teams of family members.
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What was your proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer? What about your hardest?
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I especially want to give credit here where credit is due. ICAN of the Quad Cities would not exist today without our fabulous board of directors and volunteers. They are the glue that has held our Chapter together throughout the years. At monthly meetings, they have kept conversations steered in the direction of support and assisted mothers with information for childbearing options. I am so very proud of every ICAN of the Quad Cities Board member.
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On October 31, 2015, our Chapter offered ICAN Birth: Exploring Your Options 2015 (IBYEO). This event was a free conference offering 13 breakout sessions over a 7 hour period. Here are examples of breakout sessions; an attorney presenting Rights During the Childbearing Year, a midwife presenting her dissertation on Informed Consent, an IBCLC presenting Cesarean Recovery and Breastfeeding, a panel of 4 parents speaking about their own unexpected outcome experiences, optimal fetal positioning and chiropractic care, acupuncture and labor induction, a Dads Perspective, the Importance of the Birth Story, and so much more. During the plenary session, we presented a local midwife with an award for decades of dedication to helping women with VBAC options.
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At midday, we provided a complimentary lunch with a full salad bar, pizza’s, burrito’s, snacks, drinks, and cookies. All of the food was donated by local grocers and restaurants. Every participant left with a swag bag filled with small gifts and information about ICAN. Over 40 fabulous prizes donated by local businesses were handed out to lucky winners. The venue for this event was provided to us free of charge and held at the beautiful Butterworth Center & Deere Wiman House mansion in Moline, IL.
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My hat is tipped in humble servitude to all who had a hand in the success of IBYEO 2105. An event of this magnitude could not have happened without the selfless dedication of our Chapter Board and volunteers. Everyone worked tirelessly for months to provide this successful day of information and options to parents, students, and professionals in our community.
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Some of our Chapters most difficult moments have been fraught with intense challenges of childbirth birth politics in our community. Politics involving both the rights of mothers to exercise informed consent and significant division and lack of collaboration among birth workers and medical professionals. This unfortunate circumstance has been made painfully apparent since the inception of our Chapter 7 years ago. Our Chapter strives to bridge the, sometimes monumental, gaps of misinformation about ICAN and what our Chapter is doing within our community to serve women and families. With professionalism, we will continue to work toward solutions to these problems and promote ICAN of the Quad Cities as a resource for cesarean awareness, education, advocacy, and support.
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Thank you, Linda, for all you do!
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