Maternal health in the spotlight this Mother’s Day: Surfing a new form of self-care for Bay Area moms

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — This Mother’s Day, our focus is on maternal mental health. Getting involved in an activity like surfing often helps new mothers fight postpartum depression. But doing this while you have young children with you can be difficult. We take a look at a group of Bay Area moms who have decided to join the “surf-swapping” wave sweeping America’s coastal towns.

While Judy Wang’s husband was working long hours as a frontline healthcare worker during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was pregnant and working full-time for part of the time while in isolation at the home with a young child.

“The pandemic has been so chaotic for everyone,” she said. “But our story, it was just very difficult.”

Wang went on to say, “Not having my husband with me and the added stress of my husband being there every day was hard on me and it kind of manifested as postpartum rage.”

She’s part of a group of moms who recently came together to form the Marin County chapter of Surfing Moms, a nonprofit that started in Hawaii but is growing with moms across the country. California and other parts of the country.

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Elizabeth Maden, Founder and President, is a mother of three who wants to help new mothers find their way to surfing and build a supportive community locally. Emphasis is placed on maternal mental health within the group.

Maden had known a similar group in Australia while living Down Under and trying to find a way to surf with her young children.

“I had seen the kind of life-changing magic of having a group of people to surf with but also building an informal but tight-knit network of support for mothers, children and the whole family,” he said. she declared.

She added: “When I moved from Australia to Hawaii, honestly, I didn’t have a lot of energy to do that. I was starting a new job, moving to a new country and having three young kids, but I realized it was worth it. So I just started it. I offered it to anyone who wanted to come surf with me and it grew. And it kind of grew. from.”

Amanda Renschler is the Marin Volunteer Coordinator for the North Bay group. Its goal is to promote healthy relationships with ourselves and with others across the ocean.

“We benefit from the therapeutic aspects of just being in the water and being together,” she said.

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She’s looking forward to growing the group, which already has a few members who meet regularly, and loves bringing the moms in as she thinks it’s a great way to bring the game back and back into their lives.

Renschler’s work in her day job and her efforts to help moms find balance, support, and good mental health are all consistent with the ethos of ocean healing.

A few years ago, Renschler, who previously worked in community mental health, quit her job to start Blue Zone Marin, a group that takes mothers and daughters out to the ocean to learn to surf together.

“When mothers and daughters are out there to bond, they have a real adventure. And there’s something so amazing that happens after you take on this very real challenge of learning to surf, and the beauty and everything that comes with being in the ocean,” Renschler said.

Alicia Davis-Gaide, a Bay Area mom with three daughters, agrees. She says surfing with the group, getting to know other moms helps her not feel alone.

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“When I was about five months postpartum, I was so excited for this band to start. Because I just think it’s such a great model to do something that I love and kids see why. I love the water, I love the beach,” she says.

Davis-Gaide went on to say, “It seems to bring the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual together. I think it’s great for just relieving the stress of everyday life with three kids.”

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