Shining the light on post-partum depression: Comfy Mama gives back to Cape Breton families

Kala Stewart, owner of Comfy Mama and Jaleesa McCarthy assembling Baby Boxes for Cape Breton families
Kala Stewart, owner of Comfy Mama and Jaleesa McCarthy assembling Baby Boxes for Cape Breton families (Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation)

Seven years ago, Kala Stewart and her husband welcomed their first child into the world. 

Their world was full of many firsts – first breath, first sleepless night and first baby giggle – but Stewart also had her first experience with post-partum depression.

“I had a terrible time and went to a very dark place,” said Stewart. “My world was over (or so I thought). The rest of my friends were living their lives and doing bigger and better things with no one attached to their hip. I didn't feel comfortable or confident in being a mother and I didn’t feel deserving of that sweet little face.”

Fortunately, after a long journey, Stewart reached out and asked for help.
 
Now a mother of three, Stewart is using her past experience as inspiration to create a network of support for other moms. What began three years ago as an idea has now blossomed into Comfy Mama – a clothing company for mamas and mamas-to-be with proceeds of sales going to local charities. 

With her goal of giving back to health- and woman-related charities, Stewart has decided that a charity of choice will rotate every few months. Kicking off the online business is Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation’s Baby Box project.

The Cape Breton Baby Box Project was initiated by Erin and James Forsey after they were blown away by the support and care they received at Cape Breton Regional Hospital when they became parents. The initiative is based on an international organization, but with a Cape Breton twist. 

Tote bags filled with basic necessities and comfort items include diapers, wipes, thermometer, baby wash, infant’s acetaminophen, teethers and more are put together and distributed to local families in need through family resource centres across the island. 

When Stewart heard about this initiative, she knew it was the perfect fit. 

In fact, her contributions go beyond monetary value. She has volunteered her time and recruited other mamas to help her create and deliver this year’s Baby Boxes.

“We’re thrilled to have Comfy Mama on board to support the Cape Breton Baby Box Project,” said Rick McCarthy, manager of fundraising and stewardship for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation.
 
“Erin and James Forsey spearheaded the project in 2016. Their initiative along with the generous support of three local Shoppers Drug Mart locations resulted in funding nearly 600 kits. Comfy Mama’s owner and operator Kala jumped on board to help fund more and assemble the kits.”

In March, Comfy Mama launched its online store and social media channels. A majority of sales have been in the Cape Breton area but have come from as far as Calgary and Toronto. 

Beyond a clothing company, Stewart hopes to inspire other mamas.

She openly shares her experience with post-partum depression and the struggles (and rewards) of motherhood through social media and her website. 

She hopes that others will share their stories, too. In fact, she highlights other inspiring stories through a featured mama section.

Stewart’s goal is simple. 

“I want to use my experience to help others.”