Daniell celebrates 40 years of building relationships and nurturing early childhood development with Fitness for Two programs
In January 1977, Madalene Daniell proposed a visionary new program to Kelly O’Neal, MD, Forrest General Ob/Gyn Chief of Staff, and Bernice Lucky, Forrest General Education Coordinator. That program, After Childbirth Exercise Experience, has evolved over the past forty years into six different programs, known as Fitness for Two, which are offered through Forrest General’s Spirit of Women. Forrest General honored Madalene for her vision and years of service in its monthly Leadership meeting on January 24, 2018.
The program began 40 years ago when Madalene found herself facing the unfamiliar challenges of motherhood. Madalene was a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Arts and planned to work at William Carey University as an educator.
“While teaching one day, this still small voice that can only come from the Lord said, “What do women do when they don’t know what to do?” That was because I had a brand new baby, just a few months old. I realized that there was a need for women to feel like they had some ideas of how to weather that season. There is some weathering to motherhood; it’s challenging,” said Madalene.
Interested in Fitness for Two Classes?
New sessions of Fitness for Two and Mommie and Me classes starts the week of February 19. Learn more about the different groups and sign up online!
Mommie and Me is a set of classes offered for mothers and babies from birth through the third year. Studies show a strong connection between early childhood development and success later in life. Madalene’s Mommie and Me classes focus on physical, cognitive and social development using game play, singing and dancing, and practical interaction with other mothers and children.
Women also experience a host of benefits from participating in Fitness for Two, which mothers can start enjoying during pregnancy. Mothers are able to make memories playing with their children and watching their development at Mommie and Me. Young moms are able to learn how to play with their child, encourage brain development, or understanding how to deliver their baby. However, for Madalene, the real legacy and empowerment for “her moms” is found in the community they are able to build together.
Madalene said, “It’s great to have education, but ultimately, you’re creating a broader circle of diversity and influence and relationship among women who would never know each other otherwise. It breaks down all of those self-imposed boundaries of where we feel comfortable and allows us to mix with some wonderful people that we may never have known. The relationships, the networking, of these women finding each other for a lifetime is where the empowerment lies.”
Madalene says these relationships are typically quite diverse including not only people from varying cultural and economic backgrounds but people with different roles within the families, as well. Fathers, grandparents, siblings and other family members have participated in Mommie and Me with children bringing with them the richness of those perspectives.
After 40 years, Madalene has made many memories and has met hundreds of families and babies allowing generations to enjoy the community fostered at Fitness for Two. Often this community extends well beyond the boundaries of the program where it was created.
“We do experience joys together, but the network of relationship gives us long-time commitments to walk through life together. We love it when it’s all joy, but we also rejoice that we have each other when it’s tough things that life brings,” said Madalene.
Madalene’s newest class is the Bumps to Babies Postpartum Support designed to offer support for postpartum needs including physical and emotional recovery, breastfeeding, returning to work, adjusting to staying at home, and other general questions, doubts and concerns.
For more information about Fitness for Two, including a full list of available classes, visit fitness4two.com, or call the Forrest General Engagement Center at 601-288-4445.