Getting "a HUG" from Iran!

I just spent a wonderful week in Durham with Maryam Mozafarinia, a NICU nurse and newly graduated Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, who is the first Certified HUG Teacher from Iran. Maryam discovered HUG Your Baby over the internet and corresponded with me for a year or so while she translated the material into Farsi, developed "HUG for Iran", and completed a remarkable Masters of Nursing research. project using HUG Your Baby resources and materials. Maryam, now immigrating to Canada,  joined me and my family for several HUG adventures and good old fashion family times.

Saturday I cooked her a belated Thanksgiving dinner, trimmings and all, and my family joined in with stories, song and sharing. (Here she learned to make the almost-famous Tedder sweet potato orange cups!) We had just enough energy after dinner to catch a set of the Onys Club Boys show where my son, Jonathan, plays the bass.

Over the weekend Jim and I Skyped briefly with Maryam's Mother in Iran and had several Skype visits with her dear Uncle in San Diego who immigrated to our country decades ago.

Sunday we went to "The Longest Night", an amazing show at the UNC Planetarium. (Jonathan contributed to the writing and performing of the music for this show.)

 Monday she joined eleven other HUG enthusiast for the fist-ever "HUG Visioning" - considering HUG's past, reviewing its present activities and imaging HUG's future. (More on this soon).

Tuesday morning we visited Dr. Jim Helm, a NBAS (Brazelton Exam) trainer, in Raleigh at Wake Medical Center's NIDCAP-based NICU.  We started the afternoon seeing  patients together at UNC's Family Medicine where we discussed how The HUG can be integrated into the day-in and day-out life of a primary care provider.That afternoon Maryam met with the UNC School of Nursing to explore the possibility of (and received positive encouragement about ) participating in their upcoming DNP program.

Wednesday Maryam helped me with the all-day HUG training for UNC's Maternal-Child Nursing Faculty. I was delighted that she had time to share more details about her Masters thesis with a room full of fine educators.

Thursday morning I put her mighty MSN mind to work analyzing the pre- and post-test from the Wednesday teaching (which showed an exciting increase in learning.) We finished this academic project just in time for Jim to take her to the Carolina Friend's School where she met with an Arabic class and talked about her mother country and its language. After a yummy dinner with Jim and Jon at our favorite Indian restaurant, we attended the Friend's School Holiday dance performance.

Maryam is young, but I needed a NAP after so much excitement!

It is hard to say how very blessed Jim and I feel having invited Maryam into our home and into our lives. It amazes Maryam and I that we so recently "met" over the internet and now have so many rich, real-life stories to share. We spent four days discussing our passion for supporting breastfeeding moms,  empowering new moms and dads, and facilitating the growth and development of their babies. After a week of nurses, childbirth specialist and birth conversation Jim is entertaining the idea of childbirth education as his next career!