New MOMS of Madison County support group wants mothers to know they are never alone

Times are especially challenging for mothers of today with so many of them are trying to find their own place while juggling motherhood, work and family duties, assessed Madison County Mental Health Department Director of Community Services Teisha Cook.

"I think that for everyone the COVID pandemic has been extremely difficult but especially for moms," Cook said. "Moms have had to balance working, parenting, home schooling, etc. Research has shown that mothers have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, due to the significant disruptions in childcare arrangements and work situations."

The county is addressing their concerns with its new Motivating Open-minded Maternal Support (MOMS) of Madison County group. Featuring discussion and activities, MOMS was created to connect mothers and mother figures to support each other in their journey through motherhood. The group will provide a place for them to share with each other while working through questions and challenges they encounter during their own motherhood.

Marcie Soule, the county's school and youth development program supervisor, and Kim Percival, county case assistant for child family services, will lead the group. Soule said the group's focus will be on connection and communication, building and repairing relationships and understanding and embracing ways to deal with everyday stresses by empowering each other. Participants will also share a meal together at the weekly meetings, she added.

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Kathleen Liedka of Bridgeport will be one of the first guest speakers. She said she plans to share her "life story," including how her late son Macauley had a psychotic issue when he was only 14 years old.

She lost him in 2018. He was only 24 at the time. But one of the biggest comforts to her in those tragic times was the empathy she received from fellow mothers.

"The support from other moms was such a great help to me," she recalled.

She said her own presentation for the MOMS group will be designed as a conversation with the participants. Liedka said she will also explore what it is like to be a mom, especially in these days of the pandemic.

Key topics covered in the 12-week program include childhood/adulthood, motherhood, self-awareness, communication skills, active listening, five love languages, healthy relationships, woman/mother/partner, conflict resolution, problem solving, parenting/parenting styles, domestic violence, adverse childhood effects, self-care and learning about the five friends every woman needs.

Soule stressed that planned topics can be altered as needed.

"We have set topics but this is a group-led discussion so those topics can change with the needs of the audience," she promised.

MOMS of Madison County will be offered twice a year with 12-week sessions in the spring and fall. The inaugural meetings are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays from Nov. 16 through January 2022 at the Oneida Public Library, located at 459 Main St. in Oneida. Participation is free and preregistration is encouraged.

For more information or to register for this group, call 315-366-2548 or visit

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Sharing personal experiences with each other will hopefully show not only that the moms' concerns and challenges are not unique but that there is someone there to support them through their own journey in motherhood, Cook said.

"As mothers, we all struggle at times and there is no shame in that," she explained. "This program offers support to all mothers and will hopefully give moms a safe place to be able to talk about the difficulties in being a mother and a woman. It is very powerful to get validation from people who are going through similar difficult times as you and to hear how everyone is coping. We hope that moms can learn from each other and develop trusting relationships that last beyond the group."

Liedka's message to the moms is that they are never alone.

"What you are experiencing has probably been experienced by someone else," she said. "New moms and old moms are all unique but becoming a mom is a real bonding experience for a woman. We all need to stay together - they say it takes a village to raise a child and that is true now more than ever."

Mike Jaquays is the community news reporter for the Mid-York Weekly. Email him at

This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: MOMS of Madison County support group created