After a few weeks of talking and planning with my close friends Hayley McGrath, also a midwife and Maisie Connell, also a midwife and soon to be pregnancy fitness instructor and of course my daughter Emma we are ready to go.
Now, anyone who knows me well knows that walking isn’t really my thing! I prefer being out on my bike music in my ears and giving it some wellie. However, I am prepared to admit that over the weeks of discussing this project, with Hayley mostly with a cuppa and a cake in her garden I get the benefits.
Hayley told me a story of a mutual health visiting friend of ours that had a mum who was struggling with her mental health and her new baby. She couldn’t visit her in her home due to covid 19 guidance so invited her on a walk. They walked and talked with social distancing for an hour and the effect it had on this new mum was apparently amazing. One person’s actions, thinking outside the box as to how to help someone who was struggling set my brain into over drive.
Hayley has had this idea of a walking and talking group for a while milling around in her head so what better time than lock down, when pregnant women and new mums with baby’s can feel quite isolated, to get it going. So…. In steps PBB events.
There is lots of information out there about the benefits of walking:
Improves mental health
Improves self-perception and self esteem
Improves your mood
Reduces stress and anxiety
So, it really was a no brainer as to why we needed to set these up and get them going.
Our aim is to get pregnant women out in the fresh air talking to other pregnant women and new mums whilst getting some gentle exercise and some support whilst chatting.
The evidence is out there about how good exercise is in pregnancy, the benefits to your mental health , releasing endorphins, making you feel brighter and happier and walking is a good way of keeping fit and helping to keep the weight gain under control.
Our new mums also need the networks as it can feel really isolating with a new baby indoors all the time. It offers a chance to talk to other new mums and know that you are not the only one experiencing that feeling or worry about something and that alone can be such a relief.
There are lots of walking groups out there, as we found out whilst researching, but not specifically for pregnant women and new mums only. Yes we can join groups with other members of the public for a ramble or go for walks with our families, which we strongly advocate by the way, but having a chat whilst walking talking to other women in a similar boat to you, we feel, will have an amazing effect on your wellbeing. Help to set up support and friendships for the future.
How will it work?
Whilst the restrictions and social distancing are in place, we plan to have a minimum of 2 walking groups a week of 6 people each week (made up of one Midwife and 5 women). This is the maximum allowed in a group at the moment.
With 1 of us in each group this allows 5 women to join us per group (so total of 10 women in 2 groups can walk each week) Both groups will walk on the same day, same venue but spaced out by 15 mins. This follows the government guidance of 6 in a gathering. Each group will walk with social distancing of 2 M between the walkers.
The walks will be about an hour long and at a pace suitable for all as we anticipate heavily pregnant women joining us and we can’t chat if we are power walking. For new mums, as keen as you might be to get out and join us try shorter walks to start maybe 15 to 20 minutes see how you feel and when you feel ready for an hour’s walk come along.
We encourage you to bring a drink and a snack and possibly a blanket to sit on as we can have a rest after the walk when, again 6 can gather 2 m apart.
We will vary the locations, days and times depending on our shifts. We will move locations around Watford, Hemel, St Albans, London Colney and possibly Ashridge to enable as many women to access them as possible. We will be sorting out venues with parking and hopefully toilets. The walks will all be pram/buggy friendly for our new mums.
The PBB Walking and Talking Group will only be available to book to those on PBB expecting in 2020/21 to start with. Once the restrictions have lifted and we can have bigger groups it will be advertised more broadly.
So what do you need to know before you book:
To walk with us you need to book on Eventbrite so we can control the numbers and we have the info for track and trace.
It is a free event.
The walk will only be cancelled if icy or if there is snow on the ground.
The groups will be 1 of us and 5 walkers as there is a max of 6 in a gathering at the moment.
Depending on how many of us can make each date– me, Hayley, Emma and Maisie – that will decide the number of groups walking that day 15 mins apart.
Once booked on Eventbrite walkers will be sent a disclaimer to sign basically saying you walk at your own risk. We are not qualified walking instructors and we will be the same as a group of friends going for a walk. Walkers will give this form to me, Hayley, Emma or Maisie on arrival, if you don’t then you will be asked to complete another one.
Each walker will be sent a medical form as well which will contain details of any conditions and medication and an emergency contact person. This is to be put in a sealed envelope in your bag or on your person with ICE in big letters so that it can be retrieved quickly in case of any accidents or emergencies. Pregnant women must have their hand-held notes with them.
We suggest babies in slings or prams/buggies for our new mums.
Other children are welcome in buggies if possible whilst we are walking. This is a walking and talking group for adults. Once the walk is over whilst having a drink or snack of course other children can have a run around at that point.
New mums are welcome to walk and talk with us until babies are 3 months old by which time it is hoped that walkers will have made some friends and can start to plan their own adventures. This will allow space for new walkers to join us.
We are really excited about this and pleased to say we already have walks on Eventbrite ready to be booked with more dates to follow!
To book your place visit www.pbbevents.eventbrite.com