Managing maternal mental health in winter months

The drop in temperature and sight of snow often signals the kickoff of fun winter activities. However, for new mothers, winter months can be a rather isolating time.

Factors like icy roads, harsh weather conditions and shorter days make getting out the house a mission itself.

“It can lead to a feeling of overwhelm. You may ask why do it? why go out? Then that thought process can last for days. By day five you might feel like you’re stir-crazy,” said Kayla Huzar, a registered social worker.

According to Statistics Canada, nearly a quarter of moms who recently gave birth experience feelings of post-partum depression or an anxiety disorder. Those numbers range from 16 per cent in Saskatchewan to 31 per cent in Nova Scotia.

Huzar hosts counselling sessions for new mothers. She says they are more vulnerable to symptoms of baby blues and postpartum depression during wintertime.

“If someone is experiencing on the scale of normal postpartum mood swings to baby blues to postpartum depression or any other postnatal mood disorders, these conditions make it that much more difficult,” Huzar said.

She believes the key to tackling the lure of isolation is to plan ahead.

“I don’t mean that in an over-scheduling yourself way. I just mean committing to something once or twice a week that’s going to bring you joy and really embracing that thing is and getting out even if it’s going to be hard,” she said.

In Regina, a local cafe is helping mothers find a solution to the seclusion. Brain Snacks Co is a three-in-one space that features a co-working office, cafe and daycare. Parents can drop off their child in a supervised play area for an hourly rate. They can then use that extra time to run errands, catch up on work in the co-working space or just relax and enjoy a coffee.

“I thought about a place where moms could come where their children would be looked after and then they can get other things done,” said Donna-Rae Crooks, owner of Brain Snacks Co.

Crooks, also a mother of two, has had first-hand experience of the obstacles that mother faces in the winter months.

“I’ve had two winter babies, one January born, one February born. I remember with my first I was just watching the sidewalk every day just waiting for when I could get the stroller out and get out of the house,” she said.

For some local moms, this cafe sparked new friendships. Brittany Reid, a first time mother to a newborn baby boy said “we can all come together and relate to one another. We can talk about certain things that you might not talk about with your other friends and family.”

Brain Snacks Co opened in June and has seen a spike in costumers since the end of summer. Crooks said, “we have definitely seen business pick up since September.”


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