THE VILLAGE CIRCLE
February 15, 2024 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pmFree
Meeting Virtually TWICE a month, on the first and third Thursday of each month.
- 1st Thursday: 10am-1130am
- 3rd Thursday: 130pm-3pm
– No Virtual Meetings in July or August of 2023. See you in September! –
Mothering can be both a joyful and a challenging experience. In our drop-in groups, we explore it all and encourage women to speak their truths about motherhood. No advice, no judgement, just real mothers sharing their ups and downs. All mothers (biological and adoptive) are welcome regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, and race. This group is geared towards parents in the postpartum period, so from “trying to conceive” through about “2 years postpartum”.
Facilitated by Samantha Konikoff, Melissa Burden, RhaeAnna Haven, Melody Eastman and Dani Giddens
Sam is a mom of 2. She met Becky in 2016 and they both knew that they wanted something more for moms in our community. Sam always wanted to give this community something she needed but never had. She does the work so that no one else has to go through motherhood alone. She had PPA/PPD/PPOCD with her first and it was isolating. She wants to keep making change locally as well as nationally to help parents see this doesn’t need to be done alone.
Melissa is a patient advocate and dedicated volunteer for those who are struggling through Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Melissa attended her first support group, the Village Circle, 3 months after the birth of her son, Elliott. In the depths of postpartum anxiety, this is where she found the help and voice that she needed. A year later, Melissa attended the GPS training through Perinatal Support Washington, so she could give back to her community what was so valuable and life-changing for her in her early Motherhood journey. Through this, she has discovered her life commitment and passion to finding new ways to reach those who are struggling, and remind new parents that they aren’t alone. And that they can be well. Melissa also works for Perinatal Support Washington as the Warm Line Program Specialist. In this role, she supports the volunteers who provide the warm support and helpful resources to parents who are struggling and need space to be held. She also answers on the Warm Line, aligning with her dedication to supporting parents. Melissa resides in Bellingham, Washington and spends her spare time building Lego with her 4 year old, reading, and spending time with her family & friends.
Rhae is a mother to Everly and a brand new baby boy born in October 2021. She began attending Village Circle in 2018 when Everly was 3 months old, and soon became a regular face at the in-person groups. Rhae experienced severe postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, difficulty breastfeeding, and struggled with the intense transition into motherhood. The Village Circle offered a healing space, and a beautiful community of mothers. In 2019, Rhae attended training through Perinatal Support Washington and joined Samantha, Becky, and Melissa as a co-facilitator of the Village Circle. Rhae believes that it is a true honor to give back to the circle that brought her so much healing as a brand new mother. Rhae loves to explore the hidden beauties in nature, whether walking on a beach or exploring a new forest. She loves collecting plants, watercolor painting, and spending time on Orcas Island. Rhae is also a preschool teacher, and cannot imagine a world where she isn’t dedicating her time and love to teaching young children. Rhae truly believes that the foundation of our society must be supported first — new mothers and young children. She feels honored to witness the blossoming of both, and looks forward to being apart of the Village Circle for many years to come
Dani is thrilled to be part of the Village Circle Collective & to positively impact new families in our community. She currently works for Postpartum Support International (PSI), supporting the Climb Out of the Darkness Event and its leaders worldwide, and is energized by co-leading Team Bellingham’s Climb Out of the Darkness event in June. Additionally, she volunteers as a Mentor in PSI’s Peer Mentor Program
After becoming a mom in 2009, she would stumble through a thick fog of Postpartum Anxiety, Depression & OCD without telling a single soul. The catalyst for her involvement in perinatal mental health can be pinpointed to one pivotal moment, while listening to a podcast. A friend (& fellow leader Sam) recounted her transition to motherhood, including a debilitating battle with Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). Dani was completely empowered by hearing someone speak their truth. While Sam’s story was different than Dani’s, she certainly could sympathize with the words her friend spoke. She discovered that there is strength in processing trauma and empowerment in sharing stories. If Sam’s story could help her feel brave and less alone, then surely Dani’s story could help others as well.
Outside of this important work, Dani is married to her college sweetheart and is mom to 3 rambunctious kids (ages 12, 10 & 6). If she’s not therapeutically weeding her garden, you’ll find her trail-running, hitting the slopes at Mt. Baker, daydreaming about future travels & sampling the tasty food-truck and microbrew scene at her home in Bellingham.
Cost: Free, donations welcome