Joanne Ilaqua, the founder of Mamasoup, an app that is a support network for mothers, is working hard to provide online information and tools for women feeling the impact of social distancing.
Ilaqua launched the app in 2018, after having 20 years of experience as a nurse, doula and Lamaze childbirth educator supporting new mothers. Ilaqua is just one of the Innovation Cluster clients based in the City of Kawartha Lakes leveraging the current COVID-19 situation to help the community through their company.
“Social distancing is hard for most of us, but the physical, emotional and financial toll of caring for children during a global pandemic is a bigger problem than ever for moms,” says Ilaqua.
In 2016, Statistics Canada reported there were 444,700 stay-at-home mothers with at least one child under 16 years old. Various studies have found stay-at-home mothers are more likely to experience worry and depression due to lack of interaction with others outside of family. With the current pandemic, these experiences are likely to increase. Mamasoup helps counter this by providing a mobile community of support.
Mamasoup is available for free download on iOS and Android. Mothers can stay anonymous to encourage sharing whatever is on their minds, while a location-based feature allows them to connect with those in their community if desired.
When social distancing is over, Ilaqua says mothers can use the location feature to meet up with their new friends in real life.
Courses are also available on the platform. Due to the pandemic, many women are unable to get to their prenatal classes. Mamasoup is offering free access to their online course: Your C-Section: Before, During and After until April 2nd, 2020, and will be offered at a 30% discount for the remainder of April 2020.
To encourage new users, Mamasoup is also running cash giveaway contests during March and April for women who download the Mamasoup app and create posts.