While the coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge the State of Ohio, some are juggling that and more.
The leading cause of infant death in Ohio is preterm birth, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
One local program is helping the community Thrive Together, one pregnant woman at a time.
Moms2B started out of a need to address the infant mortality rate in Franklin County.
The program offers support, education and resources to expectant mothers throughout and beyond their pregnancy.
10TV talked with one woman who started as an expectant mother in the program herself, giving back now as a community health worker.
“I came to Moms2B because I didn’t understand what was going on with my body,” said Tonya Dowdell. “This was my first time ever being pregnant. I had no idea what was about to happen. I was working for a well-known retailer here in Columbus as a visual merchandizer manager and so I could no longer style the mannequins and lift those things because I became high risk.”
In 2008, the Weinland Park neighborhood of Columbus was experiencing one of the highest death rates for Black infants.
Dr. Patricia Gabbe, a pediatrician, clinical researcher and professor, and Twinkle French Schottke, an infant mental health specialist and program director, wanted to make a difference.
That’s when they started Moms2B out of the Grace Missionary Baptist Church.
This past week, Moms2B celebrated its 10-year anniversary and the expansion to eight sites, including as far as Dayton.
Not only does Moms2B offer the resources mothers need during and beyond the pregnancy, but the program also connects women to additional support in the community such as Dress for Success and Job and Family Services, Dowdell said.
“It takes a village and that’s one great thing about Moms2B – we are that village and we want to make sure that all moms feel that.”
In those immediate days of motherhood, Mount Carmel also plays a big role for the Moms2B program through their home nurse visits, Dr. Gabbe added.
While mothers take center stage in the Moms2B program, fathers play a pivotal role as well.
“I think a lot of times dads get bad credit when it comes to the family situation, whether they’re co-parents or living in the home or working things out, but one thing David, our Dads2B director told us, is that if a dad is not harming himself, is not a harm to you know, the child, then dad can be a dad,” Dowdell said.
Moms2B also partners with Dads2B, allowing participants to work through family dynamics and figure out what is best for the child.