Walking group provides support for Summit County mothers | ParkRecord.com

Walking group provides support for Summit County mothers

Certified social worker Sarah Caldwell of the Healing Group, an organization of therapists that focuses on women’s mental health and wellness, leads a weekly new mom’s walking group Wednesday morning at Willow Creek Park. These groups are designed to help new and expectant mothers connect and support each other while answering their questions and concerns about motherhood and issues including postpartum depression.

Becoming a new mother can be a joyful occasion. But for one of eight new mothers, the joy is overshadowed by depression and anxiety that can last up to two years after giving birth, according to the Healing Group, an organization of therapists that focuses on women's mental health and wellness.

This is why certified social worker Sarah Caldwell, who is one of The Healing Group's mental health therapists, leads an hour-long walking group for women who are pregnant and new moms every Wednesday at Willow Creek Park.

The idea for the group is to help new and expectant mothers connect and support each other while answering their questions and concerns about motherhood, Caldwell said.

"It's like a mom tribe," Caldwell said. "The group covers key elements of wellness planning for pregnancy and postpartum period, and we cover fresh air and sunshine, light exercise and social connection."

Today we have a ‘supermom’ complex that really isn’t attainable...”Sarah Caldwell,certified social workerand therapist

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During the walks, Caldwell will welcome new moms and answer any questions they have.

"I want these moms to know that there is a group of women who are there to understand and help them on their own journeys," she said.

Many factors, such as the drop in estrogen and progesterone, as well as lack of sleep and an overwhelming sense of doubt of becoming a good mother, can lead to postpartum depression and pregnancy anxiety.

Those symptoms include but are not limited to feelings of sadness or lack of energy, Caldwell said.

"New moms can experience a range of emotions, anger, sadness, insecurity and inadequacy," she said.

A lot of those feelings are spurred on by the misconception that new moms have to do everything on their own, Caldwell said.

"It used to be that women raised children in a community with big networks and there were no expectations that new moms had to do it all by themselves," she said. "Today we have a 'supermom' complex that really isn't attainable. And what I see a lot in Park City is many of these moms striving to live up to this image."

The new mom walks, which gather at 9:50 a.m. at near the Willow Creek Park playgrounds, is the first step to recovery to help new moms feel themselves again, Caldwell said.

"Even if a new mom is feeling pretty good, these walks can also be a protective measure for her mental health and wellness," she said. "I think getting people together and communication is longed for (in modern society). So getting connected and openly talking is like a soothing balm for these moms."

Joining the new mom's walking groups is free, but RSVPs are required.

"Since the walks are led by me and I'm a therapist at the Healing Group, we do have them sign consent forms," Caldwell said. "I also like to know who is coming, so I can keep and eye out and welcome new moms on their first day."

The therapist also knows that taking the first step to joining a group is difficult, and if anyone has questions, they can email her at sara@thehealinggroup.com to see if the group is something they want to join.

A new mom walking group will meet at 9:50 a.m. every Wednesday at the Willow Creek Park playground, 4460 Split Rail Lane. The group is for moms to be and moms of children up to 2 years old. The event is free, but RSVPs are required. To RSVP, email arah@thehealinggroup.com by the Tuesday before the walks. For information, visit sarahecaldwell.com/groups.