The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) provides emotional support for cesarean recovery and education about the realities of surgical birth as well as the benefits of VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Long Island Mamas Network attended a local ICAN meeting to learn more.
Mothers are experiencing cesarean births in epidemic numbers. The World Health Organization’s recommendation for the number of cesarean births is 10-15% in developed countries. The c-section rate in the United States is currently 32.8%. Several hospitals on Long Island have rates inching up to 40% and beyond. The reasons for this phenomenon are as varied as the mothers themselves.
The topic for the evening’s discussion was “Healing Birth Trauma.” The guest speaker allowed participants to take a few minutes to tell their birth stories. Several months (and, in one case, thirteen years) after their children’s births, women reported feelings of distress, shock, and anger. Some had undergone inductions while others went into labor on their own, but “rode the rollercoaster of medical intervention” once arriving at the hospital. Still others worked with midwives and doulas to actively pursue a natural birth, but still wound up in the operating room. All bore scars beyond the ones visible on their bodies.
ICAN offers a safe place to express these feelings without judgment. Mothers expressed relief of retelling their stories without anyone dismissing their pain and following up with the dreaded, “Well, all that matters is a healthy baby!” At ICAN, mothers matter. The speaker stressed that the negative feelings associated with a birth experience could have a long-ranging impact on every aspect of family life. For many, reconciling these feelings can be the only way to move on. The speaker then discussed a holistic option for treatment: Jin Shin.
Jin Shin is a Japanese form of therapeutic massage and asserts that the body has the capacity to heal itself. It can be self-administered or done by a third party. Mothers may practice Jin Shin on their babies, who may also be suffering from birth trauma. It uses the eastern knowledge of the body’s energy and works on physical and emotional levels. Jin Shin identifies the areas of the body we tend to ‘block.’ Pressure on specific points of the body supports the natural flow of energy, and uses touch to release them.
ICAN meetings are held on the second Monday of every month. Discussion topics and speakers vary. While there is no cost to attend meetings, attendees can help support ICAN by becoming a subscriber. Personal subscriptions are $30.
The next meeting will be held on March 12 at 7:30 pm led by ICAN Of Long Island Chapter Leader, Tiffany Andrisani. Babies and children are welcome.
By Rachel Minkowsky