Our (Extended) Family : ICAN of Tampa

I am pretty sure I don't have to say it- but the Barefoot Family absolutely adores our local chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network. Our very own Melissa Goodnow is a local ICAN Leader and our previous doula apprentice Amy Allison is a co-leader for this fabulous organization. We support MANY VBAC mamas in both our doula and homebirth practices- even women with "special scars" and women who have had multiple cesareans. ICAN is a resource we ask those women to tap into and involve themselves with as much as possible. We asked Tampa Chapter founder Melissa Taylor to take a few moments to explain to us what exactly ICAN has to offer local families. 

"Our organization is ICAN of Tampa.  We’re a local chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network and we have three goals:
1) to prevent unnecessary cesareans through education,
2) to provide support for cesarean recovery, and
3) to promote VBAC. 

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Basically we offer support and information to women and their families and are for anyone who is pregnant, is looking to become pregnant, has had a cesarean or who simply just wants to know more.  We have a presence of Facebook and offer support through our private group, and also have monthly meetings in Tampa, Lakeland, and Clearwater. 

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Currently we meet the second Monday of each month at 7 pm at these locations:

Hillsborough County: 
Totally Chiropractic, Inc.
3605 Madaca Lane
Tampa, FL 33618

Pinellas County:
Balance Chiropractic
2185 Logan Street
Clearwater, FL

Polk and Eastern Hillsborough Counties:
Lakeland's Health and Family Chiropractic
203 Doris Drive
Lakeland, FL 33813

Meetings are always free and open to the public but we are happy to have subscribers. A portion of each subscriber’s fee stays local to help us better serve women in our own community.

The International Cesarean Awareness Network was founded in 1982.  I started our local chapter in 2008.  I became certified as a childbirth educator in 2005 and after 3 years of working with families in that capacity I really recognized the need for ICAN in our community.  I contacted my former students and two of them offered to help out as my secretary (Kelly Roell) and treasurer (Kristin Dufrain) and we started from there.  We had our first meeting at Totally Chiropractic in Tampa in November 2008.

Since that first meeting we’ve added co-leaders, the facebook group and both of our other meeting locations.  Melissa Goodnow, Jessica Padelford Guerard, Amy Allison, and Heather Esteves are co-leaders who are doing an awesome job running the Clearwater & Lakeland meetings.  

ican of clearwater meeting
ican of tampa event

I think what makes ICAN really special is the mother to mother support.  Sometimes women tell us that prior to finding ICAN, they didn’t know that anyone else had ever felt emotions similar to their own; that they felt like no one understood what they were going through.  Our little community is truly amazing and it’s wonderful that women have a safe space to share and to have their feelings validated.

vbac support tampa

ICAN’s Statement of Beliefs:

We, the International Cesarean Awareness Network, believe that:
1. The inappropriate over use of cesarean surgery is jeopardizing the lives of mothers and babies.
2. When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved.
3. Birth is a normal physiological process. Research shows that with emotional support, education, and an honest opportunity, the vast majority of women can have a healthy vaginal birth.
4. A healthy birth incorporates emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
5. Research shows that VBAC is reasonable and safe for both mother and baby. A repeat cesarean should never be considered routine– it is major abdominal surgery with many risks.
6. It is unethical and unenforceable for hospitals to institute VBAC bans. Women have the right to refuse any procedure, including a cesarean.
7. Women have the right to true informed consent and refusal, which entails full knowledge of the risks and benefits of all tests, drugs, and procedures.
8. It is incumbent upon every care provider and institution to facilitate the informed consent process.
9. Women must be allowed to express all their birth related feelings in a safe and supportive environment. The emotions of a pregnant and birthing woman have profound effects on the birth outcome and recovery.
10. It is unethical for a physician to recommend and/or perform non-medically indicated cesareans (elective). Women are not being fully informed of the risks of this option in childbirth, and therefore make decisions based on cultural myth and fear surrounding childbirth.
11. The trend of “elective cesareans” is being significantly overstated through distortion of research and data.
12. We as women must now assume more responsibility for our own births.
13. It is critical that women’s choice of care provider and location of birth is respected."