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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Support Group for Moms Encourages Self-Care

Jan 03, 2017 08:12PM

Ashley Barnes and Evangeline Schepper

Ashley Barnes and Evangeline Schepper of Pensacola Birth Services have teamed with two local licensed mental health counselors to form LEAPS—Love, Encouragement, and Postpartum Support—a support group focused on encouraging mothers to place a higher importance on self-care. The group meets at the Ever’man Educational Center in Pensacola every first Wednesday and third Saturday of the month at 10 a.m.
       
Barnes and Schepper are labor doulas with training in postpartum mental and emotional support. “Our passion for postpartum support led us to initiate LEAPS,” Barnes says. “Too often, the needs of the mom are overlooked by the needs of the baby and other family members. Our goal in collaborating with Eileen Wolfe and Marcia Holland is to provide a group that is not only engaging but also therapeutic.” Wolfe, the owner of Pensacola Therapy Services, has specialized training in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. “Eileen is truly passionate in not only providing support for individual moms, but also promoting awareness and screening for postpartum mood disorders throughout our community,” Barnes says. “She serves clients with varying needs, but her advocacy for local resources and education for postpartum mood disorders has quickly made her a unique asset within the mental health community.”
 
Holland is not only a licensed mental health counselor but also a registered nurse who has been helping individuals and families navigate life transitions for more than 35 years. “I enjoy being a facilitator of the LEAPS group and coming alongside the moms as they support one another in their new experiences as parents,” she says. An approved Gottman Bringing Baby Home program educator, Holland owns Peace in Mind Counseling and Therapy.
 
Group discussions and guest presentations address issues of postpartum self-care such as relationships, sexuality and birth processing. “We now have a core group of moms who come, and it is truly amazing to witness the connections and growth these moms are making,” Schepper says. “We’ve had attendees range from pregnant to years into their motherhood journey. Encouragement and love are at the center of LEAPS, so we give a lot of grace for crying babies and listen to each other’s victories and trials.”
 
For more information, contact Pensacola Birth Services at 850-783-0073 or [email protected].
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