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, we have created a Volunteer of the Month announcement to highlight our supporters.
ICAN is pleased to announce Vicki DiIoia, ICAN of Santa Barbara, as the December 2017 Volunteer of the Month!
What led you to ICAN?
I had a cesarean with my second child in 1989 which took a while to process. When I became pregnant with my daughter, I began to look into my options for VBAC and midwifery and was led to the local ICAN chapter in NJ. Without their support and info on local options, in the early 90’s, I no doubt would’ve had a much harder time with my two HBACs.
What motivates you as a volunteer?
I believe how we birth, as well as how we are born, is profoundly important in terms of our connections to each other. Evidence-based education regarding cesareans and VBACs is empowering, especially in Santa Barbara – a town whose only hospital bans VBACs. My passion is assisting women and families in finding the birth atmosphere that works for them and feeling supported in that birth – there’s nothing better!
What are your other professions and passions outside of ICAN?
I am a Birth Activist and Educator, Birth and Post Natal Doula. I am extremely concerned (and motivated) by issues surrounding birth autonomy and bodily integrity, as well as human rights in childbirth; even more so now that I have two granddaughters. I’m compelled to ensure they have the right to make decisions regarding their own bodies. And birth choices, should they choose to parent. I believe we need to recognize the importance of PTSD, with it’s emotional and physical tolls, in maternity care and the implications for our society. I am also passionate and excited about Pre/Peri-Natal Psychology, especially in regards to healing trans-generational wounds. I am on the board of BEBA.org. In my worldview, bringing insights from birth psychology to more people and into ‘normal’ health discussions will improve our quality of life in general and our cultural and interpersonal relationships, in particular.
What moment makes you proudest as an ICAN volunteer?
My proudest moments involve open-ended discussions on birth options – there’s nothing like the light that turns on when women realize they have a choice. Repeat cesareans are not mandatory. It was also so gratifying to be able to host two maternal health panels that included Midwives, OBs, VBAC Facts, Maternal-fetal health specialists and moms who shared their stories. We received feedback from women who changed caretakers and made different choices based on the info they learned.
What moment was hardest for you?
My most difficult conversations involve helping women process a forced cesarean, especially the moment they realize they had options, yet were mislead or blatantly lied to.
Thank you for all you do, Vicki!