Supporting families through trying times

·2 min read

Haliburton’s Pregnancy Care & Family Support Centre said the pandemic is putting a strain on young mothers and families.

The Christian-based charity said pandemic isolation has taken its toll on the health of clients, both old and new to the County. Client services director, Leanne Young, said though the centre is still offering services, young families and new parents are missing group connections.

She said they are reaching out, but with new families moving into the community, they face difficulties maintaining public awareness.

“People are emotionally struggling with feeling isolated,” Young said. “As a young mom, I’ve learnt so many techniques with my kids from being – in the past – in mums’ groups.”

The pandemic has caused parents to spend more time with children, navigating home-based education and lockdown. A December 2020 study from Cambridge University found both Canadian men and women with children in their household are spending 37 per cent more time in childcare throughout the pandemic.

Centre executive director, Julie Goodwin, said they find clients often need someone outside their household they can vent with.

“It’s hard for clients to reach out for help when they’re struggling. To say, ‘I want to come and talk about this concern’,” Goodwin said. “Just a listening ear. A lot of people just don’t have that person to listen.”

The centre offers free support to struggling families, including parenting programs, supplies and pregnancy education. The pandemic has curtailed its group programming, but Goodwin said it has remained open to provide individual services.

Though its supports are not exhaustive, Goodwin said they can refer people to organizations addressing any issues they cannot cover.

“It’s not the same as mums being able to physically gather with their children and gain that peer support,” Goodwin said. “We’re just trying to look for ways to say, ‘we’re here, we care.’

“This is a great community that we live in and there are lots of good resources that we can help people navigate,” she added.

The charity is 100-per cent donor-based and has been unable to hold its usual fundraisers, Young said.

But she added they have gotten by with generosity and successfully shifting their main fundraiser – a baby-bottle drive – online.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of our donors,” Goodwin said.

Young said the centre has health protocols in place and is ready to help anyone, regardless of background.

“Everyone needs support and you’re not alone,” Young said. “If you feel like, ‘I’m alone in this,’ that’s not true’.”

The centre is available at 705-457-4673 or haliburtonpregnancycentre.ca

Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander