All bumps welcomed: Why Yorkville’s Carry Maternity will be supporting WCH this Spring

2020-04-24 3:17:10 PM

When Pat Gillespie launched Carry Maternity in 2013, she knew she wanted her business to go beyond fashion. Having personally experienced postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth of her first child, Pat was determined to create a space in which women felt safe to talk about their feelings and challenges – all while accessing beautiful, locally made clothing that empowered them with confidence during a time of tremendous change in their lives.
 
“Carry Maternity has always been about making a very safe, welcoming place where women could come in and be themselves while they went through their pregnancy and postpartum journey,” she says. “We see a lot of women struggling. If they had access to more information, more support and more conversation about the issues they’re facing, there would be less stigma overall and they could get the help they need.”
 
Pat-Quote-Instagram-(1).pngAs part of their focus on women’s mental health and well-being, Pat and her daughter, Kat – Carry Maternity’s creative director and co-designer – have launched a special campaign to support Women’s College Hospital, Canada’s leader in advancing healthcare for women and health equity for all. Women’s College Hospital is home to the country’s largest women’s mental health clinical and research program, with a special focus on supporting women throughout their pregnancy and the postpartum period.

 
To support their community and help keep moms and moms-to-be safe amidst COVID-19, Carry Maternity has focused their efforts on making washable, reusable fabric masks. Availabe on their popular online store for $9 each, Carry Maternity will be generously donating 100% of proceeds from mask-sales to the Women’s Mental Health Program at Women’s College Hospital. While their brick-and-mortar store in Yorkville is currently closed, shipping is free on all Canadians orders. Shoppers can also access Carry Maternity’s website through Women’s College Hospital Foundation’s Shop with Purpose page.
 
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For Pat, choosing Women’s College Hospital as the focus of Carry Maternity’s campaign was an easy one. She has been a patient since 1981 and her children were born at the hospital. In 2002, she received a diagnosis of stage three breast cancer at Women’s College Hospital and underwent life-saving treatment – including a mastectomy that changed her perspective on the relationship between a woman’s body and her mental health.
 
“I really struggled for quite a while after my mastectomy,” she says. “I was grieving my body. I looked at myself differently and I didn’t feel comfortable in any of my clothes. I realized that the same experience can apply to women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, when their bodies are changing and may start to feel unfamiliar to them.”
 
Pat says that her mastectomy changed the way she designs for women. “It made me a much more empathetic designer for women,” she says. “And it empowered me to normalize discussions with women in my store about how they’re doing, and whether they’re taking care of themselves.”
 
That approach is embodied in Carry Maternity’s new mission statement: all bumps welcomed. “It’s not just about your physical baby bump,” says Pat. “Any bumps you’re feeling emotionally, you’re safe to raise them with us. We offer support and try to promote awareness so that women know they always have somewhere to turn for help or just to talk.”
 
As Pat and Kat experience an outpouring of support for their shop during this challenging time, Pat is reflecting on the impact Women’s College Hospital has had on her life and the focus of her business. “Women’s College Hospital has very much been part of my success story,” she says. “It’s so important to us to raise awareness of all the different ways the hospital is working to support women at all life stages, and particularly during their reproductive years.”
 
Carry Maternity will be donating 100% of proceeds from fabric mask sales to Women’s College Hospital’s Women’s Mental Health Program. Visit www.carrymaternity.ca or visit our Shop with Purpose page to participate.