Kristen Spong is a mother of two.
She had her second child, a son named Lincoln, during Ontario’s third COVID-19 lockdown in April 2021.
When her son arrived, Spong realized her maternity leave was going to be a lot different from her first one in 2018 with a stay-at-home order in effect.
“There were days where I wouldn’t see anyone,” said Spong. “My husband was fortunate enough to keep his job during COVID and the lockdowns and so there were mornings where he would leave the house at 5 a.m. and wouldn’t be home until 5 or 6 at night and so there were days where it got quite isolating.”
Pregnancy and postpartum athleticism coach Jamie Straker says isolation during the postpartum period for new moms is taking a toll on women’s mental and physical health.
“You get that one postpartum visit (with a doctor) and then, boom, you’re gone and you’re left to fend for yourself and even more so now with COVID because you don’t even have baby groups,” said Straker.
Activities that Spong took for granted, like going to the local swimming pool, the mall and a baby-and-me gym class, were now out of the question and she knew she had to find a way to prioritize her own health and wellness to be able to take care of her young family.
“You really have to switch to this online world and that’s how I was introduced to Jamie and her company,” said Spong.
Straker is the owner of JS Fitness and is a mother herself.
She’s dedicated to women’s health pre- and post-natal, saying her job is more than teaching women how to move their bodies safely. It’s about creating a community of women who can support one another.
“They say that we need our village and it has changed, but it’s still out there and people can connect together and you’re not alone,” said Straker.
Straker says she’s providing women with health resources through online fitness classes and birth prep courses — programming that Spong says she is thankful for.
“Her community has made me realize how much help there is out there and how many things you can still do, just in a creative way,” said Spong.
Spong says she’s a better mother and happier person in general by taking time for herself through the online courses.