Bishop’s wife helps young moms

  • Walk on the beach: Fiona Dill with her family (Photograph by Adrian Cunningham)

The wife of a senior island churchman is on a mission to help young moms.

Fiona Dill, married to Anglican Bishop of Bermuda Nicholas Dill, has worked for many years as a doula — a non-medical birth companion.

She said she became aware of the problems struggling young mothers faced and took to the internet to mobilise a support network.

Mrs Dill, a mother of six, said: “Originally, about three or four years ago, I saw an ad on Emoo asking people for items for young moms.

“I made a connection with Sakina Ible, who was a teen mom herself, and who started an organisation called Pregnant with Purpose.

“I have a lot of clients who contact me to say they no longer need an item, but they don’t want to sell it and would rather give it away, so I pass it on to Sakina, and she gives it to teen moms.”

Mrs Dill said she had been able to create a list of contacts through Facebook to supply specific items.

Now she gets requests from people across the island, including health visitors, Teen Haven and churches, and does her best to supply the needed items.

She was speaking as Bermuda prepares to celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow.

Mrs Dill said: “Because of my connection with the Church, it has raised my awareness of so much need.

“We get a lot of people in real desperation, unable to feed their families, unable to make ends meet and on financial aid, but it’s just not enough.

“I feel very privileged to be a conduit who can match those that want to donate to those that need donations.

“It’s a very privileged place to be because it takes very little effort and I’m just able to make it happen.”

Mrs Dill, a qualified nurse and a childbirth educator, said she was aware how important it was to support mothers because of her own children, Miriam, Sam, Hannah, Phoebe, Rachael and Ben.

She said she became a certified doula when she was pregnant with her last child.

Mrs Dill explained she wanted to help women through pregnancy and birth, and has since supported 330 mothers through their births.

She said that many had started to see her as a mother figure, and with her knowledge base she has been able to guide women to make informed choices during their pregnancy and birth.

Mrs Dill said: “There is a mothering element to what I do. When I first started 11 years ago I’d just finished having my last baby, and I wasn’t that far off the age of the women I was supporting.

“Now I’m supporting women closer to the age of my eldest daughter, so now I am finding myself as a bit of a mother figure.”

She added her work as a doula had helped to build relationships beyond the birth.

Mrs Dill explained she is on call throughout the pregnancy and provided postnatal help with breastfeeding and making sure that everything is on track with both mother and baby.

She said: “One of the things that I feel when I am a doula is I so want the best for this woman, and I so want to enable them.

“You’re in a bubble during those hours of labour and you are solely there for them, just the way you would be with your own children.”

She has been contacted years later by clients for help with marriage advice and tips on child discipline and how to improve relationships with children.

She said she was pleased to see more support develop for mothers on the island, including medical assistance with problems like postnatal depression.

Mrs Dill added: “I feel like there is a good network of people where women really don’t have to suffer in silence.

“There needs to be an honesty about motherhood and I want people to know that support networks are available, where people can be honest about their struggles.”

Mrs Dill also makes donations to fund a “safe motherhood project” in Sierra Leone, Africa, an educational programme designed to provide information to pregnant women and mothers on nutrition, safe practices and childbirth education.

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