ICP Awareness Month ends soon, but I have ICP on my mind all year. Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy is a high-risk condition that affects 1-2 in 1.000 pregnant women. ICP is a liver disorder that leads to elevated bile acids, which can be harmful for babies. Well, ICP mommas, aren’t we lucky? To be honest, I do consider myself very lucky. I was lucky my OBGYN was knowledgeable about this condition, and she sent me to the lab as soon as I told her I was itchy.
I’m not sure why, but when I was pregnant, I didn’t want anyone to know I had Cholestasis of Pregnancy. It’s like I was avoiding giving explanations to people. I didn’t want them asking about how I was doing, how the baby was, etc. I’m not sure why I felt like this. On the other hand, I did feel the support of more than 10,000 women in the ICP Care Facebook groups. I remember just kind of browsing the groups, and learning more and more about this condition. I felt the support of the admins and moderators as well. Moreover, it really made me feel good when other moms shared success stories of their little itches being born.
After my own little itch was born spontaneously at 33 weeks, while spending time in the NICU with him, I realized I wanted to do more for other women and their babies. I thought about what I could do to help women feel empowered and save their own babies lives. I decided to be a volunteer for ICP Care, and here I am! Now I help moderate the Spanish and Postnatal Facebook groups. My son Robbie is now 2 years old.
These are some ways how you can help spread awareness about ICP.
* Social media: I personally like raising awareness using social media, either Instagram or Facebook. I like to share my story, and ICP Care awareness posts. On Facebook you can add an ICP Care frame to your profile picture for your friends and family to see it. You can ask them to join us and add it, too! Facebook is a great platform to spread knowledge, awareness, and it’s so easy to set up a fundraiser. I usually set one up in June, and another one for my birthday, in August.
* ICP Virtual Walk/Run: You can create or join a team to be a part of the 2019 Virtual ICP Walk/Run to Fight the Itch. Invite your friends and family to this virtual event that helps ICP Care get donations from all around the world. Visit the Events page here https://icpcare.org/get-involved/events/
* ICP merch: There are tons of products that you can buy in the ICP Cafe Press Store to help us raise awareness.
* Restaurant awareness fundraiser: We all like food and enjoy eating out, right? Host an event at a restaurant to talk to others about your experience! ICP Care provides a list of restaurants that participate for charitable organization to donate a percentage from your event. This could be fun, and also a good time to wear your ICP attire and have other people know what you’re doing.
If you need any assistance in planning other fundraiser ideas or have additional questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join your state ICP Care group on Facebook, and find out if any other mommas who live nearby want to join forces with you to host an event.
It’s important you know that by following ICP Care social media, commenting, and sharing, you are also doing a great job. We can all help save babies lives!
Michelle Stephen, Chicago, IL
ICP Care Volunteer
Photo credit: Bob Stephen