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Staff & Specialists

Kellie Wicklund, MA, NCP, LPC: Licensed Psychotherapist, Clinical Director of the Maternal Wellness Center
Kellie Wicklund is a licensed Psychotherapist with 20 years of experience, and is the Clinical Director of the Maternal Wellness Center. Her experience with both private and community clients has nurtured an interest in the area of reproductive health psychology- a specialty that acknowledges the complexity and trials of the developmental process of parenthood. Kellie has extensive and specialized experience with peripartum mood and anxiety disorders, and understands the unique pressures that modern motherhood brings. Kellie is adept at supporting women through their journey into parenthood, whether that be the hardship of infertility, the overwhelm of the postpartum period, or the profound grief following a loss. Kellie is a local provider for Postpartum Support International, and is a member of PLIDA Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance. She has lectured about peripartum mood and anxiety disorders at Abington Hospital - Jefferson Health, and the City of Philadelphia’s Maternal Health Conference.  Kellie also serves on the Medical Advisory Committee for the Breastfeeding Resource Center. 


Joseph W. Danial, MD: Psychiatrist
Dr. Joseph Danial, MD serves as Medical Consultant at the center. He is a Physician with Abington Hospital - Jefferson Health. He is a psychiatry specialist in Warminster, PA and has been practicing for 38 years. He has been treating and consulting on perinatal disorders for twenty years, in both hospital settings and private practice.

Abington Health Center - Warminster
205 Newtown Rd, Stein Building, Suite 212
Warminster, Pennsylvania 18974
Office: 215-481-5450

 

Heidi Lengel, MMT, MT-BC: Psychotherapist & Certified Birth & Bereavement Doula CD (SBD)
Heidi Lengel received a dual Master of Music Therapy & Professional Counseling degree from Temple University in 2012, and is also certified as a birth and bereavement doula. Heidi offers a warm, accepting space where people can explore difficult topics while remaining emotionally safe. She uses a combination of traditional psychotherapy tools combined with therapeutic music experiences (as desired) to help people discover new avenues of wellness and health in a way that is unique and individualized to each person and/or family. Heidi recognizes that not every person or family's path is the same, and that challenges associated with fertility issues, miscarriages, emotional distress, "normal" pregnancies & births, or infant loss are complex and important. Heidi is passionate about supporting the development of healthy families in order to create peaceful, transformational, & intergenerational change in our world. Her areas of research interest include medical music therapy program development and best practice recommendations in perinatal music therapy. She has presented research and clinical work at regional, national, and international conferences. As an author and educator, Heidi provides lectures, supervision, & clinical programming solutions to healthcare professionals throughout the United States & Canada.

 

Christa Aikins, CD (DONA): Program Coordinator
Christa Aikins has been working as a birth doula for over five years and is the Program Coordinator for the Maternal Wellness Center. She serves on the advisory board of the Philly Doula Co-op and is a member of midwife led Birth Choices, in Thessaloniki, Greece.  She is in the process of completing her yoga training and plans to specialize in postpartum and trauma-sensitive yoga. Christa brings her experience of living and working abroad for many years with diverse cultures and is passionate about working with international and immigrant families. She has supported single mothers, and families who have used hypnobirthing, mindfulness, and evidence-based birthing practices and has attended various birth related workshops and trainings in Philadelphia, including on pregnancy and loss.

Jessica Sieracki, LMT: Massage Therapist
Jessica is a dedicated licensed massage therapist and has been practicing since 2005. Her massages are therapeutic and aim to focus on problem areas while instilling a relaxation of the entire body and mind. Jessica truly believes that in order to take care of others you must first take care of yourself. Women and mothers especially benefit from the therapeutic benefits of massage. 

Jessica graduated from The National Academy of Massage Therapy and Healing Sciences. She has always had a passion to work with pregnant women as well as those trying to conceive. She loves sharing the journey through conception and pregnancy into motherhood with each of her clients. Jessica is certified in Prenatal, Postnatal and Fertility Massage as well as other modalities such as Oncology Massage, Orthopedic Massage and Reiki. She also specializes in Deep Tissue Massage. Jessica is a mom of two, and enjoy baking and time with her family. 

Patty Boyle, LMT: Massage Therapist
As a Licensed Massage Therapist,  Patty’s massages are warm and nurturing and take each individual’s health and unique wellness goals into consideration. Patty’s individualized approach is informed by a “whole-person” philosophy of wellness developed through the study of health from a variety of perspectives. Patty holds a BS in kinesiology and has worked as an athletic trainer, certified yoga instructor and certified Holistic Health Counselor. Her education and experience has provided her with a unique and multi-faceted understanding of the body and how to optimize well-being through attention to all wellness factors, utilizing a variety of modalities including massage, nutrition, movement and stress reduction techniques. Patty is certified in pre-natal massage and has a special interest in using massage as a complimentary treatment for depression and anxiety. In addition to massage, Patty currently works at Big Brothers/Big Sisters and teaches yoga, including kids yoga and mommy & me classes.

 

History & Mission

 photo by Natalie McKnight

photo by Natalie McKnight

 

The Maternal Wellness Center was originally founded in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia in 2004. After a hiatus, the Maternal Wellness Center, under the new direction of Kellie Wicklund, is reborn in Abington, Pennsylvania. The Maternal Wellness Center ascribes to a “whole-person” wellness model that views birth and becoming a parent as natural, transformative life event, while also recognizing how challenging, and emotionally vulnerable the transition can be. The mission of the Maternal Wellness Center is to augment traditional perinatal health care with high-quality, supportive services, that take into account a woman’s emotional needs as well as her physical needs. Maternal Wellness Center believes that when women and their families are supported and informed, birth and postpartum outcomes are greatly improved, and women and families thrive.

 

What are PMAD’s:
Peripartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders

 photo by Nick Kelsh

photo by Nick Kelsh

 

The journey of becoming a parent can evoke powerful emotions, changes in relationships, and questions about oneself.  It is an all-encompassing experience that is filled with incredible joys, but also baffling contradictions and challenges. For many parents, the mixture of sleep-deprivation, financial stress, work changes, role & relationship changes, and the demands of a baby can introduce or exacerbate anxiety and/or depression. Memories and experiences from childhood can also return with new relevance, and power — and may require updated understanding for this new chapter of life.

 

PMAD’s are the most common complication of childbirth, affecting 20-25% of women — not a surprise being that following delivery is the most psychologically vulnerable time in a woman’s entire life. The postpartum time is a “perfect storm” of events, with physical pain, hormonal shifts, feeding challenges, exhaustion and round-the-clock care of a newborn - your life as you know it is turned on its axis. Not to mention that there can be other children who have needs, financial / work stresses, relationships that start feeling strained, a baby who is hard to decipher and soothe, and possible health complications / NICU stay, or multiple babies, a profound loss or a scary medical situation.

 

For women who have a history of depression, the risk is higher for developing a postpartum depression.  It can feel very isolating, and shameful - people often hear from well-meaning friends and family; “Isn't this the most wonderful time in life?”, or, “How can you feel depressed when you look at this baby?”  These opinions can make a suffering mother feel even worse. It’s important to know that postpartum depression is common, 100% treatable, and the sooner you get help, the sooner you will feel like yourself again. 

 

Baby Blues can last for three weeks postpartum, and this time can be marked by mood instability.

 

Postpartum Depression is an anxious depression that cycles around from “good days” and “bad days” — the more “bad days” you are having in a week, likely the more severe the state you’re in.  Here is an online evaluation tool that may be helpful to help you understand the severity of how you feel: https://psychology-tools.com/epds 

 

Some common symptoms of postpartum depression & anxiety are:

  • tearfulness/weepiness

  • feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and guilt

  • irritability and restlessness

  • anxiety or feelings of panic  

  • insomnia or difficulty sleeping

  • loss of appetite  

  • feeling overwhelmed / fear of being alone with the baby

  • obsessive or repetitive thoughts or worries ("scary thoughts")

  • anger / loss of patience

If some of this list sounds like what you are experiencing — please let someone know because prolonged depression and stress is not healthy for mom or for baby.

 

Sometimes the anxious symptoms are much more pronounced and can begin to be a peripartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Symptoms of perinatal Obsessive-Compulsive symptoms can include:

  • Obsessions, also called intrusive thoughts, which are persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby. These thoughts are very upsetting and not something the woman has ever experienced before.

  • Compulsions, where the mom may do certain things over and over again to reduce her fears and obsessions. This may include things like needing to clean constantly, check things many times, count or reorder things.

  • A sense of horror about the obsessions

  • Fear of being left alone with the infant

  • Hypervigilance in protecting the infant

  • Moms with postpartum OCD know that their thoughts are bizarre and are very unlikely to ever act on them.

 

Postpartum Psychosis is a very rare condition, occurring in 1-2% of births, and onset is usually sudden and within the first two weeks postpartum.  It is an emergent situation that requires immediate emergency medical treatment. Call 911, or go to the nearest crisis center.

 

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include:

  • Delusions or strange beliefs

  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)

  • Feeling very irritated

  • Hyperactivity

  • Decreased need for or inability to sleep

  • Paranoia and suspiciousness

  • Rapid mood swings

  • Difficulty communicating at times

 

Opportunities at MWC

 photo by Natalie McKnight

photo by Natalie McKnight

 

Maternal Wellness Center is hiring a part-time psychotherapist (10-12 hours a week, flexible), experience with peripartum disorders is preferred, and clinical supervision is included.

If you are a mental health provider in the Philadelphia Metro area, we’d love to know about your practice and/or organization. Contact us if you’d like to be listed in our provider network.