We are delighted to publish this blog written by IFWIP Founder, Dr Raja Gangopadhyay.
I would like to congratulate you all for your commitment and contributions in creating a history at the House of Commons, UK Parliament, on 10th December 2018, during the #HopeDec10.
The event was a huge success and inspired us all to work together and make a change in the lives of the mother and families.
It was fascinating to see how the wellbeing was discussed in the context of the definition of health by the World Health Organisation:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
We learnt why the mental wellbeing is vital during every pregnancy (both for the mother & the father).
Mental health conditions could affect 1 in 4 women during pregnancy and are one of the leading causes of maternal death all across the world.
#HopeDec10 was unique and extraordinary in many different ways:
Bringing the society together
Transition to parenthood could be stressful and full of challenges.
However, we can certainly overcome this by bringing the society together.
We can only remove the stigma and shame associated with mental health problems with scientific information and knowledge.
“The Milky Way is nothing else but a mass of innumerable stars planted together in clusters.” – Galileo Galilei
People from all across the UK and abroad attended #HopeDec10 at the House of Commons, making this a truly global event.
Many of the attendees were neither a campaigner or in fact, knew much about maternal mental health and wellbeing. However, they felt very inspired by the event and now would like to join the movement of raising awareness of mental wellbeing during pregnancy and beyond.
This was perhaps the most remarkable achievement of #HopeDec10.
We had attendees from all walks of life in society, including parents, policymakers, social activists, public health experts, students, Peer support, patient and public involvement executives, media, politicians, and healthcare professionals.
People who could not attend in person also supported the event from all across the world and joined the discussion through social media.
We all worked together to unite the entire society to address the importance of wellbeing during the perinatal period and beyond.
We are grateful to all our eminent speakers for their time and expertise. The talks were thought-provoking, inspirational, and very well-received by the attendees.
You shall remain in my heart, quietly,
Like a dark, composed, moonlit night.
You shall fill my life, my entire universe,
With grace and dignity, like a calm night.
As a healthcare professional, I personally learnt a lot from them and would help to improve the care I provide to the mothers and families.
We are also grateful to Richard Harrington MP, Tim Loughton MP, Luciana Berger MP, and Helen Whatley MP for their insightful talks and their determination to ensure the best quality of care in maternal mental health.
Unfortunately, Mr Norman Lamb MP could not join us due to some unavoidable circumstances.
A Phenomenal Global Reach
We not only had a vibrant and positive discussion in the room during the event but also had a phenomenal global reach through the social media platforms.
#HopeDec10 was widely discussed in various social media platforms.
We all worked together to make this happen! It shows how powerful we are when we come together to join a single mission in raising awareness of the importance of wellbeing during pregnancy.
There was over 6 million Twitter impression on the day.
This is a symbol of what we can achieve in working together.
A stimulating debate
It was wonderful to see how the delegates participated in the discussion and shared their views and opinions.
Due to the time pressure, unfortunately, many of you could not participate. Please accept my sincere apologies for that.
But I can assure you that we would explore how we can allow maximum discussion in future events.
We are grateful to leading experts Prof Vivette Glover, Dr Joe Delaney, and Dr Rebecca Moore for their contribution from the floor.
We have received overwhelming support and positive feedback from the attendees and wonderful to see that we all enjoyed the day.
Following are some comments on social media:
“We must change the way babies are conceived, develop, birthed and treated. Education begins before birth and everyone needs to know this… Every baby needs to know it is wanted, loved, cared for and given optimal conditions to develop. We have the science, the highest WHO/UNICEF documents and this is now on the G20 priority list.” – Julie Garland (Facebook)
“Delighted to share my work on Neuroscience, Music, Creativity & CAPE in women during pregnancy and beyond.
Filled to the brim & overflowing with parliamentarians, policymakers & changemakers set to make a difference to mental health for women! Many thanks to the Team IFWIP and the Chair Dr Gangopadhyay for the seamless organisation.” – Dr Ramya Mohan said (Facebook)
“It was an incredibly powerful and empowering event which moved me to tears, with a huge emphasis on naturalising and removing the stigma of mental health issues and supporting both mothers and fathers pre and postnatally.” – Vicki Psarias Broadbent (Facebook)
“Such an inspiring and moving day at #HopeDec10, an event aimed at raising awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing during pregnancy.” – See Her Thrive commented (Facebook)
“I heard some incredible stories, very moving and thought-provoking. It’s also great when you get to meet other campaigners and advocates that you talk to virtually but hard to meet in person.” – Mummy Cycle (Facebook)
“Thank you Raja Gangopadhyay for hosting another wonderful event at Parliament. Wonderful speakers and experts in perinatal mental health and humbling personal accounts and life stories. I am inspired and encouraged by the political support and looking forward to next year already!” – Shewta Panchal (Facebook)
“There does seem to be progress on a national and international level in recognising that prevention and early intervention in maternal, family and child physical, mental and social health is essential. We heard about cross-party committees to provide better service for pregnant mothers, government Green Papers, statements from the G20 summit, commitments to stop slashing mental health budgets and an acceptance that priorities have been wrong. (Time will tell if these are empty promises but the ministers certainly seemed genuine).
We also heard from some awesome people doing great work in a range of fields (using creativity and music to process emotions, the work being done to improve perinatal mental health in prisons, movements to raise awareness of mental health issues in pregnancy (30% of PND begins in pregnancy), discussions about how fear of childbirth can be better understood and women with this be better supported.
We were reminded that social health is an important part of overall health (just like physical and mental health.) We heard some inspiring personal stories. We heard about the UN Sustainable Development Goals which include a recognition of how vital the first 1001 days from conception to age 2 are…
I have come away feeling encouraged and hopeful.” – Dr Rosie Knowles from Carrying Matters (Facebook)
“I was delighted to hear that there is a shift towards the first 1000 days of a child’s life from conception and the recognition that the emotional and mental wellbeing of both the mother and father has an impact on the long-term health and wellbeing of the developing foetus and newborn child.” – Michelle Muller (Facebook)
“Thank you for hosting such a great day yesterday Raja, inspiration, action and HOPE!” – Bindi Gauntlett (Facebook)
“Wow so happy I played a small part in the 6 million yes 6 MILLION twitter impressions made on the day from #HopeDec10 event. Really getting the word out on ALL areas of Perinatal Mental Health to the world, not just the UK. Social media has a really important part to play in spreading the word that you really are not alone & so so many people want to make it a better service. Walking with a spring in my step today” – Helen Birch (Facebook)
“Raja Gangopadhyay you are a very inspiring human being. Thank you so much for your hard work, love and compassion for women and families! I am so thankful there are people like you helping share this essential awareness! I hope you are well and massive Congratulations on this wonderful event.” – Michelle Wright (Facebook)
“Congratulations Raja Gangopadhyay on your continued passion and efforts, on reaching out from the bottom up and vice-versa, which is what needed for a truly transformative movement, keeping the narrative of the importance of mental wellbeing during pregnancy going even among the policymakers, giving hopes to many suffering mothers, babies and families and practitioners working with them that change is possible, making the UK a template for other countries in the world. I have cited this historical event, highlighting the links among primal wisdom, science and policymaking and created a list of relevant organisations in my new book. Only a few years ago this would have been a dream.” – Antonella Sansone (Facebook)
“So much hope in one room! Congratulations Raja” – Sarah Hayes (Facebook)
“It was a privilege to go today to #HopeDec10 because I was able to relate to the stories, take from the experience and make what I do mean more to so many.” – @creatively_being_me (Instagram)
We have created a global revolution…
We have created the world’s biggest conversation on the importance of addressing the importance of addressing the wellbeing during pregnancy.
But the journey has just begun and we have to keep going on our global mission to create a society full of happiness, health and positivity.
International Forum of Wellbeing In Pregnancy (IFWIP) is determined to bring everyone in the society in reaching this goal.
I would like to say thanks to the sponsoring MPs, Mr Richard Harrington, Mr Tim Loughton and Mr Norman Lamb for their support and help. I am grateful to our volunteers on the day: Helen Birch, Aliya Turk, Jenny Kwok, Donna Collins, Reera Goel, and Sam Bodi-Ngwala.
– Dr Raja Gangopadhyay, Founder, International Forum for Wellbeing In Pregnancy (IFWIP)