27th November 2018
A blog by Erinn Smith, Health Visitor- Southampton/Sandys, Department of Health Bermuda, on her Movin’ Mommas initiative modelled after the UK Ready Steady Mums (RSM) groups. It was adapted by the Heath Visiting Team in Bermuda in November 2018.
The Department of Health in Bermuda adopted a widely important goal (WIG) in 2015 to halt the rise of obesity and diabetes within our island. Bermuda – population of about 60,000 – currently has an overweight/obesity rate of 75%. As a result, the Movin’ Mommas walking group was launched. The health visiting team felt this initiative was fundamental as Bermuda’s obesity epidemic is the island’s number one public health challenge and is also a major driver for chronic ill-health. Additionally, it directly aligns with the WIG and provides an opportunity for socialization, builds capacity within our community and fosters positive parenting experiences for mothers and families during the postpartum period (maternity leave in Bermuda is only 8 weeks).
“What a great morning…so nice to meet and greet with the other mommas” (Anonymous)
Postpartum mothers from every parish of the island were extended invitations to participate during home visits; a flyer was also advertised on the Department of Health Bermuda Facebook page. The first session was held on Tuesday November 6th 2018 at The Botanical Gardens. It was a beautiful day with just enough breeze; over twenty mothers and their babies participated! The mothers engaged in casual conversation during the 45-minute walk.
One mother said of the group, “I was feeling sooo unmotivated this morning but I’m so glad I came! Looking forward to next week ladies!” (Sarah).
Movin’ Mommas meets every Tuesday morning and has even had a few fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers partake too. The initiative has been well received and has acquired weekly increases in the number of participants – our last session saw over 40 mommas movin’!
Currently, the HV team is still attending the sessions, but the intent is similar to that of RSM in which ultimately the Mommas will be the ones facilitating and organizing the sessions.
The health visiting team in Bermuda comprises five women: Rebecca Dunkle, Isabell Jervis, Roxanne Kipps-Jackson, Jennifer Robinson and Erinn Smith.
The team has a cumulative 107 years’ experience in nursing and operate under an adapted version of the Healthy Child Programme. It has been very heart-warming and rewarding for the team to see Movin’ Mommas become a reality.
The team is excited to add Movin’ Mommas to our continuum of initiatives and plans to add baby/infant massage classes to mothers and families in the near future in order to realize the Department of Health Bermuda’s vision of “healthy people in healthy communities”.