Nordic Nation: Moms Matter Now with Holly Brooks and Calisa Kastning

Rachel PerkinsSeptember 27, 2021


Moms Matter Now founders Calisa Kastning (left) and Holly Brooks (right) with their five children. (Photo: Orzel Photography)

In this episode, we discuss the topic of maternal mental health with Holly Brooks and Calisa Kastning. On Mother’s Day, the partners announced the launch of their passion project, Moms Matter Now with the aim of supporting and empowering women as they transition into motherhood. 

Moms Matter Now co-founders Calisa Kastning and Holly Brooks aim to support and empower women as they transition into motherhood. (Photo: Orzel Photography)

For those unfamiliar with these names, Brooks is a two-time Olympian and U.S. Ski Team alumna who became a licensed professional counselor after retiring from professional skiing in 2016. After struggling with infertility as a result of RED-S, Brooks successfully conceived and became the mom to twins, born in August, 2017. Kastning moved to Anchorage from Montana ten years ago, just a few weeks before the birth of her first of three children. She and her husband, Andrew, were led to Alaska by the job as head coach of University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), which Andrew ultimately accepted. Kastning is now the executive director of Skiku, a nonprofit which brings cross country skiing to children in remote towns in the far reaches of the Last Frontier. 

As we discuss, there is so much more to this topic than clinical postpartum depression and anxiety. The transition to motherhood is a time in many women’s lives where it is common to experience feelings of identity loss, isolation, resentment, body frustration, and sadness, despite also feeling excited and happy to be a new parent. Brooks explains that endurance athletes are perhaps especially primed for these feelings. 

Filling their own cups, Moms Matter Now co-founders Holly Brooks (left) and Calisa Kastning (right) enjoy the Alaska backcountry. (Courtesy photo)

Through the Moms Matter Now platform and the online courses they are building — their pilot group launched on September 22nd — they hope to provide women with the tools to prepare for the emotional and psychological changes they might experience surrounding pregnancy and into motherhood. They also aspire to empower each participant to prioritize her own well-being in order to be the mother, partner, athlete, employee, and more, that she wants to be. 

To follow Moms Matter Now, you can subscribe to email updates via their website, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @momsmatternow. If this conversation resonates with you, you can also support Moms Matter Now by becoming a startup booster. Donations can also be made through Venmo with the handle @momsmatternow. Thanks for listening.  

Practicing what they preach, Kastning and Brooks make time for themselves and head out on a backpacking trip. (Courtesy photo)

Rachel Perkins

Rachel is an endurance sport enthusiast based in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado. You can find her cruising around on skinny skis, running in the mountains with her pup, or chasing her toddler (born Oct. 2018). Instagram: @bachrunner4646

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