The participants in Flora’s Walk filled the Timber Cafe – moms, babies in strollers and supporters as they listened to conversations on postpartum depression then walked over to Messum Park in the spring sunshine.
The morning chat with refreshments – bubbling with the sound of little kids provided a lively contrast to the topic being presented.
Health promotion facilitator, Lorelee Marin with Alberta Health Services said, “The idea of loneliness among moms is becoming an epidemic across North America.”
She further cites the research of Dr. Vivek Murthy who has said that loneliness has the same impact on your body as if you smoked 15 cigarettes a day.
“This has been going on for a couple of decades – where people are starting to become disconnected from social interaction and that feeling of loneliness. Social media has played a part in that. Often we would think of loneliness as something that our seniors would experience, but now we are seeing it even for young children – that they are starting to experience the impact of loneliness.”
The addiction health and mental health promoter adds we need to work together as a community and a society to stem the impacts of loneliness. She said while the issue has been ongoing, it increased during the pandemic.
Connecting the issue of loneliness to new mothers, Marin said that postpartum depression or anxiety is growing.
“So, we know that moms with new babies are experiencing loneliness and that postpartum depression and anxiety is growing. We are seeing it at rates of 30-40 per cent of new moms are experiencing postpartum anxiety or depression. And part of that is they need to be connected.”
Marin underscored the importance of the social interaction which the morning chat and the walk around the park provided.
She sees the need to make more neighbourhood connections.
“So, getting to know your neighbours. Knowing the kids’ names in your neighbourhood. Knowing a little bit about your neighbours. Neighbours might even become friends and having that regular interaction with each other. Within Alberta Health Services we have a new program called Simple Connections – Stronger Neighbourhoods. We are supporting communities to embed the art of neighbouring into what they support.”
Another way for moms to build connections, Marin said is at the Mother’s First program at Midwest Family Connections which is held every Thursday morning. Details may be obtained by calling 306-825-5911.
Also, in conjunction with the Move your Body coach at Core Pilates, she holds an 8-week session twice a year called Move Your Mood Moms. Those sessions deal with nutrition, coping strategies and other aspects of maternal mental health. The next one is being planned for the fall.
May 3 is World Maternal Mental Health Day and the walk around Messum Park was planned by the Lloydminster Maternal Mental Health Initiative.