In this article, IFWIP Founder Dr Raja Gangopadhyay reflects on his journey in 2017 raising awareness of the importance of wellbeing during pregnancy:
I am indeed very grateful to all of you in the social media for your incredible support and I feel very honoured to know and connect with you. You encouraged me at every step of my journey and came forward to give me your valuable advice whenever I needed….
You inspired me to speak & express my views and opinions
I learnt from you how to speak up fearlessly for the better care of the mothers and families. You encouraged me by engaging in conversations in my social media posts, my talks (during events, courses, workshops & Conferences) and also during personal communications.
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection……..
You inspired me to better understand the word ‘Care’
I learnt from you the importance of priceless human qualities (empathy, respect, listening – just to mention a few) and the value of placing the mothers (& families) first and foremost of everything I did as a healthcare professional. You encouraged me to individualise the care for every single mother (& family) and always treat them with dignity and respect (as we would expect to be treated by others). You have helped me not only becoming a better doctor but also most importantly a better human being.
You inspired me to learn the importance of ‘Continuity’
I learnt from you why it is so important to ensure continuity of care of the mothers during their journey through the pregnancy and beyond. We, as health professionals, need to ensure continuity at every single step including the information provided (avoiding conflicting views and opinions) taking into account the individual clinical and social circumstances.
Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.
You inspired me to respect ‘Choices’
I learnt from you that the best quality of care involves discussing and respecting individual choice and preferences in the decision-making process in a supportive and non-judgemental way.
You inspired me to learn from the experience of the mothers, fathers & families
I learnt from you why the mothers (fathers and the member of the families) with a lived experience should be an integral part of the training of health professionals. Our training would remain incomplete unless we learn from the ‘experts by experience’ and implement them in our clinical practice.
I would like to thank all the mothers (fathers and families) from the bottom of my heart who have come forward to share your journey. I appreciate and admire your courage and determination to help others.
You inspired me to have a holistic approach to care
I learnt from you the importance of considering physical, mental and social wellbeing (WHO) while considering every healthcare issues. You also inspired me to ensure every mother (and family) feels empowered during her journey through the pregnancy, birth and parenthood. You continued to highlight the importance of supporting mothers (and families) with pregnancy loss, traumatic pregnancy and birth experience and babies admitted to the Special Care Baby Units.
You inspired me to advocate ‘Self-care’
I learnt from you why ‘self-care’ advice (especially rest, relaxation, diet and exercise) should be given to every parent (regardless of the pregnancy outcome) and how this could be important in preventing complications and ensure early recovery.
You inspired me to think globally
I learnt from you that mental wellbeing is vital in every pregnancy, therefore, raising awareness is important in a global perspective with participation from every single member of the human society. You helped me to understand that the stigma and shame are prevalent in every part of the society.
You supported me in setting up “International Forum for Wellbeing In Pregnancy” (IFWIP) and discuss wellbeing in an international platform.
And finally, you inspired me to DREAM…
I learnt from you that we need to consider different important aspects of multidisciplinary care while we discuss wellbeing during pregnancy. This inspired me to develop the mneumonic ‘DREAM’ just to remind me of my responsibilities as a health professional in the maternity service.
I have summarised some of the highlights of my journey in the year 2017 in the following video:
Thank you again for all your support, encouragement and inspiration!
Wish you a very happy and prosperous 2018!
Dr Raja Gangopadhyay