Denise Fredeen and Christine Laval, with Alberta Health Services, lead moms in a Move Your Mood class. It is one of the programs catering to new moms that helps with self-care, mental health and mindfulness. (Photo contributed)

Denise Fredeen and Christine Laval, with Alberta Health Services, lead moms in a Move Your Mood class. It is one of the programs catering to new moms that helps with self-care, mental health and mindfulness. (Photo contributed)

Central Alberta moms are learning about the importance of self-care

Virtual programs reaching out to moms

Moms in central Alberta are being encouraged to take time for self-care through a new series of virtual educational sessions.

Developed at the start of the pandemic by the Red Deer & Area Maternal Mental Health Steering Committee, the month-long Self-Care Series for Moms includes weekly sessions to encourage moms with children up to the age of two to try some self-care strategies.

“We found that a lot of new moms were already pretty isolated after they give birth, and we see lots of symptoms of depression and anxiety,” said Christine Laval, health promotions facilitator with Alberta Health Services (AHS).

AHS is one member of the committee, which also includes representatives from Red Deer Polytechnic, Red Deer Doula Association, Night Owl Doula, Red Deer Pregnancy Care Centre, Red Deer Primary Care Network, Family Services of Central Alberta, Turning Point, as well as local moms.

Moms learn new concepts in weekly education sessions, then apply those lessons to their lives by engaging in self-care practices. The group takes part in a Bingo-style exercise that introduces them to self-care practice and earns them the chance to win a prize.

Laval said the sessions are a way to get moms thinking about their mental health.

“It’s really just about normalizing that a lot of new moms experience depression and anxiety and that they’re not alone. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. You’re just going through a transition and there’s support available.”

The plan is to run educational sessions four times a year. To register for the May session email christine.laval@ahs.ca before April 29.

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A related program, Move Your Mood, is for moms experiencing challenges in the postpartum period.

Denise Fredeen, AHS health promotions facilitator and Move Your Mood coordinator, said the program teaches moms how healthy lifestyle practices improve mental and physical health.

But she said they don’t just learn about lifestyle practices. They get to practice so they can incorporate them into their daily life.

The program ran in-person before switching to virtual access during the pandemic. It will continue to be offered virtually in the winter for moms in Red Deer and Central Alberta.

“What we have learned is that this virtual opportunity is quite good for moms because they can join us from the comfort of their homes. The moms can be anywhere. They can join on their computers, on their phones.”

The plan is to run another in-person session in Red Deer again in the fall.

For more information about Move Your Mood email move.yourmood@ahs.ca.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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Alberta Health Services Central Zone