What is an ICAN Chapter?
ICAN chapters are comprised of a local leader or leaders who volunteer to be a resource to their community by offering periodic support meetings, being available by email or phone for questions, and sometimes offering online spaces for peer to peer support. Some local chapter leaders are able to gather and publish local statistics, communicate with hospitals, birth centers, and maternity care providers to both gather pertinent information, and communicate the needs and concerns of the community. ICAN offers a free training program for volunteers to become a certified ICAN Chapter Leaders.
What does an ICAN meeting look like?
ICAN meetings may look very different throughout the world. Support meetings are based on the needs and resources of the surrounding community, and are open to the public free of charge. These meetings are founded on ICAN’s mission: to improve maternal-child health by reducing preventable cesareans through education, supporting cesarean recovery, and advocating for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). This means there is something for every childbearing person, not just those with a cesarean history.
A typical meeting may include educational and support topics or consist of sharing birth stories in a safe place with an understanding audience. There are lots of tears and hugs, laughter and reassurance! Guest speakers may also offer presentations related to ICAN’s mission. Because there is such a variety of support, it is suggested you attend more than one meeting before deciding if it is the right fit for you.
Chapters may choose to have meetings tailored for a specific audience. An example would be a “cesarean recovery” or “bring your partner” meeting. These are not meant to exclude, but rather offer much needed support that might not happen in regular meetings. It is important to remember that you will encounter people at various points in their birth journeys, all of whom are seeking support from ICAN and their peers.
If there is not a chapter in your area, please contact the Support Coordinator if you have a non-location specific question. Additionally, you can join a nearby chapter’s Facebook page or group for online support. Please check out our additional online support options under the “Support” heading.
If you would like to start a chapter in your area, please visit our Starting a Chapter page for more information.
The International Cesarean Awareness Network does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff (if applicable), selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our organization; donors, paying members, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.