Maureen Kellogg and Courtney Phillips have more in common than just working at Thompson Health. The two friends have also both faced postpartum depression and anxiety.
Kellogg's and Phillips' experiences inspired them to help other women who are struggling during pregnancy or after childbirth. They started the Mom-to-Mom Support Circle, which meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Thursday of every month. The group's third facilitator is Sarah Baker, a Canandaigua resident and mother of two children.
Kellogg is a medical social worker who has two sons, ages 6 and 4. Phillips, a registered nurse and lactation consultant, has an 11-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son and twin sons who are two-and-a-half years old.
Kellogg and Phillips had trouble finding support groups when they were struggling, and they knew there were other moms working through post-partum issues.
“With our personal experiences, we’re able to help women get through that," she says.
Kellogg says she knew something was wrong when she had difficulty bonding with her first child. The experience brought on feelings of shame and guilt.
Phillips remembers when her twin boys arrived.
“I had become more irritable, just the feeling of being overwhelmed,” she says. “I have laundry to do. I have to work tomorrow. I have to find a babysitter. I have to get bottles ready. I found myself going in circles.”
Phillips eventually talked with her husband about helping more at home. Seeing a counselor has helped her, too.
Baker experienced similar challenges.
“I was always nervous about what was going to happen next,” she says. “I always felt like I was on edge.”
During the meetings, women talk about their struggles and successes, and the group is open to just about any topic of conversation. Baker thinks it’s going well.
“Giving moms a resource like this is important,” she says. “And having it at night is nice because it allows working moms to go.”
She laughs and says she tells moms, “You don’t have to have it all together, and it’s okay to have cereal for dinner.”