Dealing with pregnancy loss can be a deeply painful experience, with significant physical and emotional impacts. In Canada 1 in 4 women will experience early pregnancy loss, and 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetime.
myPostCare is one of four innovative reproductive mental health initiatives that is part of the $4.5 million Reproductive Mental Health Campaign, recently launched by the BC Women’s Health Foundation.
It was the first digital technology of its kind that offered women virtual support to safely navigate the initial period of abortion. Now they’re seeking funds to expand their existing platform to also support women who have experienced early pregnancy loss.
Additionally, this next phase will make this tool truly accessible to diverse communities across Canada through culturally-informed research and design, including translation into multiple languages.
We asked Dr. Roopan Gill a few questions about why this work is important to her.
About Dr. Roopan Gill
Dr. Roopan Gill is an obstetrician gynecologist with expertise in family planning. She is Clinical Assistant Professor at both University of Toronto and University of British Columbia, and member of the Women’s Health Research Institute.
She is a consultant with the WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health Research specifically working with the Preventing Unsafe Abortion team. She is passionate about understanding the challenges and needs of women accessing reproductive healthcare.
CH: What impact will myPostCare ($640,000) have on the women you serve?
RG: This campaign has the potential to relieve the burden on the healthcare system through digital tools that provide holistic support, importantly emotional support. It has the potential to shed light to neglected aspects of reproductive mental health for those who experience pregnancy loss and abortion.
CH: What impact would fully funding all four projects in the $4.5 million Reproductive Mental Health Campaign have on the women + families of our province?
RG: This would transform the way that we look at reproductive health care. By fully funding all four projects, we would truly be providing holistic women’s healthcare, that is person-centered and encompassess all facets of a women’s reproductive health journey.
CH: What excites you most about having others invest in your area of work?
RG: I am very excited that others would see value in the work I do to co-create and design solutions with women to address their reproductive and sexual health needs. It is really exciting that there is attention being placed on this in areas like pregnancy loss, postpartum and abortion care.
For me, it highlights what I felt was only possible as a small research project has the potential to impact women’s lives across Canada!
CH: Imagine what support could look like for women living with reproductive mental health concerns in say 3, or 5 years — what would your dream scenario for those women be?
RG: I would love to see myPostCare be the tool that Canadian women use to support them through pregnancy loss and abortion care, and transform the stigma that many face.
CH: Do you have a memorable story from the focus groups you conducted for myPostCare that stuck with you?
RG: I vividly remember one participant who described myPostCare as “her rock”. She said how this tool had saved her life, prevented her from going to the emergency department, and provided her with all the information that she needed, right when she needed it. This really moved me. I was able to dig up the anonymous quote from this participant:
“My husband was my one rock, and the other one was this. It knew when things were going to happen, and when I was panicking about things. All of the sudden, there would be an e-mail, it was just perfect timing, and it was amazing. It truly was. I felt like I wasn’t alone. I went through every link. Even the links that were outside of the website. I checked out every one of them. I read stories. It brought a sense of calm to me, I guess… I never had such a good experience off of a website like this one.”
CH: As a woman, what does supporting women’s health mean to you?
RG: For me, it means that no woman or girl is left behind, and that regardless of their life circumstances, they are given the tools and support to be empowered in making their individual reproductive and sexual health decisions.
Specifically for me, it means that we need to ensure that all aspects of women’s health are considered and that means the most stigmatized and difficult to discuss topics, like abortion.
CH: What motivates you to get out of bed every morning in your role?
RG: Every morning I am grateful for my privilege. As a woman of colour, an obstetrician gynecologist, academic and global health expert — I have worked with many women across the globe.
Hearing their personal stories, caring for them in their most vulnerable moments, it motivates me everyday. Knowing that there women who are not empowered to make their own reproductive and sexual health decisions is an injustice. To fight against that injustice is what motivates me to do this work every day.
CH: Lastly, if you were to meet one of our generous supporter who donated to myPostCare, what would you want to say to them?
RG: You have helped to save women’s lives and your donation has helped to really leave no woman behind.
- Donate today to ensure women’s reproductive mental health needs are met.
- Learn more about myPostCare and the Reproductive Mental Health Campaign.
Do you have a lived experience with reproductive mental health you’d like to share? Use your voice. By sharing your story, women across the province can relate, find solace, and muster the courage to share theirs too.
BC Women’s Health Foundation is BC’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the full spectrum of women’s health. The information shared is intended to educate, inform, and point readers to credible sources. It is not intended to substitute professional medical advice.
If you are struggling with your mental health, or concerned about someone else, call the BC Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789 (do not add 604, 778 or 250 before the number). It’s free and available 24 hours a day. If you prefer to access help and support via email, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.