Meet the Leadership: Tori Jennings, ICAN of Southeastern PA

ICAN is excited to announce Tori Jennings as our newest Chapter Leader!


“I am most excited to help moms through their journeys of healing as I know that it is a process that can be long and with its ups and downs but I hope to see moms cross over to the other side.” ~ Tori Jennings, ICAN of Southeastern PA

Please introduce yourself to ICAN:

I have 6 children, ranging in age from three and a half to 19 years old. I am a labor and postpartum doula and a childbirth educator. I have lived in the Philadelphia area for my whole life and I love to sew and do other crafts and spend time with my family and friends.

My second baby was born via emergency cesarean due to a prolapsed cord. I had a hospital VBAC with my next baby 15 months later, without much of a problem but I think that I had a few things in my favor, I had already had a vaginal birth with my first and that the reason for my cesarean would not repeat itself. I also think that the VBAC climate in my area at the time was favorable so that helped as well. My fourth, fifth and sixth babies were all HBACs.

What led you to join ICAN?

I didn’t know about ICAN until I was having my 4th baby, my second VBAC. I did not seek out support from the organization mainly because I felt that I was supported by my providers and I self-educated myself by reading a lot of books. The meetings were also too far away from me, over an hour’s drive and with little ones at home it was just not a priority. Years later, after I became a doula and sent many women to contact ICAN for support, I decided that I wanted to try to attend a meeting or two to lend support to moms in the community and to get involved with the organization in any way that I could. I was just expecting to volunteer some time or something. But that is also when there was a post on reaching out and asking if there was any interest in becoming a chapter leader, so I felt it was meant to be.

How do you share ICAN as an organization with others?

I wish that people knew that ICAN was not just for cesarean moms, but to prevent unnecessary cesareans for all women, that includes first-time moms and moms that have had previous vaginal births but no cesareans. I think that a very important aspect of cesarean awareness is educating to prevent that first cesarean. First time mothers are many times in the dark. They do not research their options or their providers. Women planning a VBAC sometimes fall into the same trap of not researching their providers and they stay with the same provider who did their cesarean. That can work out sometimes, but sometimes it doesn’t. Women just assume that all providers are VBAC supportive, and do not know what to ask or what to look out for to find out if their provider is supportive or just tolerant of VBAC. Lastly, I wish that people would not make light of having a cesarean. I wish that they would understand better that it has real risks to both mom and baby, that it is major surgery after all and takes a longer time to physically recover than a vaginal birth. Beyond the physical recovery time, the emotional recovery is hardly ever talked about by obstetricians, and that recovery can take years to achieve and has long term effects on mom and the relationships that she has with her loved ones.

Where will you be serving women through ICAN?

My chapter serves the greater Philadelphia area and the surrounding counties of Chester, Bucks and parts of Delaware and Montgomery in southeastern Pennsylvania. We also get inquiries from southwestern counties of New Jersey and northern Delaware by default because there is no ICAN chapter local to those areas and some mom opt to travel into our coverage area to seek a VBAC. We have a great number of supportive doulas in our area but I would love to see more independent midwives in hospitals and obstetric practices being supportive of VBAC. And I mean the whole practice. Usually, we see a larger practice of 6 or 7 or more obstetricians, and 5 of them will be supportive of a VBAC, but cesarean moms lament over what could happen if she goes into labor when one of the non-supportive doctors are on call.

Please share your upcoming Chapter meeting:

Our next meeting is set for September 16th, 2017 at 10 am at Ohm Chiropractic Center in Media, PA.

Congratulations, Tori!

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