If you’ve had a cesarean you understand the challenges associated with recovery. You also may be dealing with a different birth experience than you had expected. If you’re hoping to have a VBAC for a subsequent pregnancy, you intimately understand the challenges associated with wanting a different outcome next time. You might have fears or mistrust of the birthing process and you might wonder if you can do it. As a VBAC mother myself, and a birth doula who specializes in supporting VBAC mothers, this issue is near and dear to my heart.

My cesarean baby and my VBAC baby

Another challenge is finding truly VBAC supportive care providers for your pregnancy and birth, especially on the seacoast of NH and southern Maine. I have only been here for about 6 weeks, and I’ve already spoken with many frustrated birth workers and women who know the VBAC climate in our area is not great. While I have heard so many positive things about Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, NH, it does not support women who hope to VBAC. I’ve heard cautious talk about VBACs happening in Exeter, but nothing sounding like we have a fully supportive hospital in our area for women who choose to birth vaginally after a cesarean. I believe its within a mother’s right to have access to the care that she wants and she should not have to travel close to an hour to avoid a surgical birth.

ICAN of the Seacoast

I’m excited to say that I’ve opened an ICAN chapter here on the seacoast of NH. The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). As a previous ICAN leader in my last hometown, as well as a mother who sought support from ICAN to work towards having a VBAC, I am confident that an ICAN chapter here can provide our community with 2 very important things:

  • It will be a safe space for support. Monthly meetings allow mothers to come share their stories and know that others in the room completely understand their experiences and emotions. Meetings are also a great place to learn from other women about possible options in the area for VBACs. I can’t say enough about the power of gathering with other mothers who have experienced cesarean recovery and/or the pursuit of a VBAC.
  • It will be a platform for mothers and advocates to work on building bridges within our community in the effort to improve options and choices for VBAC access on the seacoast.

Our first ICAN meeting

If you, or anybody you know would benefit from these meetings, please join us! I take my doula hat off for these meetings and you won’t hear me talk about my services. I’m there as a facilitator and fellow mother. My ICAN leadership is unrelated to my doula business, but I really wanted to share information about this wonderful resource here in the hopes that I can reach as many people as possible. Our first meeting will be Tuesday, December 9 from 6:30-8:00pm at 130 Central Avenue in the large conference room on the main floor. We plan to meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Once we have a Facebook page and a website, I will share that information.  For more information about our chapter, you can email seacoast.nh@ican-online.org.  I’m so excited to start this work here on the Seacoast and cannot wait for our first meeting.

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Are you interested in birth and postpartum doula services on the seacoast of New Hampshire or southern Maine? I serve Dover, Durham, Somersworth, Newmarket, Portsmouth, Kittery, Eliot, and surrounding areas.

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