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 Allyson Russell, ICAN of the Triangle, as the August 2017 Volunteer of the Month!
What led you to ICAN?
I found ICAN through my doula, before my TOLAC (CBAC).
What motivates you as a volunteer?
For context, I am a mother of two beautiful girls and I’m a CBAC (Cesarean Birth After Cesarean) mama. I have always felt that my first cesarean was unnecessary and could have been avoided. For my second, I had to advocate for a trial of labor during a time when my community had a de facto VBAC ban.
Mamas and their partners have courageous conversations with their providers and support system every single day. They work to inform themselves of their options and make the best decisions for their family. When I hear feedback from our members that ICAN helped them get their voice or built their confidence to have those conversations, it is incredibly rewarding.
What are your other professions and passions outside of ICAN?
I’m a learner and love trying new things. I’m currently a Project Manager in the Enterprise Data Science Office at Cisco Systems.
What moment makes you proudest as an ICAN volunteer? What moment was hardest for you?
I am most proud of our community, and quite frankly I can’t even take the credit for this! The support system we have in the Triangle from our area providers, hospital network, universities, and doula network in partnership with ICAN is just absolutely incredible. Our Facebook group is very active and supportive, no matter the birth outcomes or wishes. I know this sounds terrible, but I have now lost count of how many VBA2+C mamas are in the group (you give me hope, ladies!). We may even have the first known VBA4C mama among us!
The group we have built for ourselves is strong and powerful, but there is still work to be done. We must continue to support each other long after our own births. We must work on outreach to ensure all families know their options and their rights. We must continue to inform providers when we leave their practice to go elsewhere, and why. (We must grow our leadership team – now taking volunteers!) Last but not least, we must continue to give each other the voice to advocate for ourselves and for those around us.
Thank you for all you do, Allyson!