Certified HUG Teacher Gives The HUG in an Airport!

Michelle Hardy is the founder, director, and program coordinator for a non-profit organization, Mothering the Mother Inc. Mothering the Mother was founded in 2010 because after working in the field for many years (starting in 2003) Michelle had seen so many disparities in the care available to low-income women, and she often felt that the women who had the least support due to financial constraints were often the ones who needed it the most. Michelle is passionate about finding the means to provide doula care to women who normally would not be able to afford the service.

After starting her organization Michelle quickly realized that the clients she was working with really needed more than just a doula, so she added a childbirth education program. Over time, Michelle's organization grew to include birth doulas, childbirth education, prenatal care coordination, lactation support, postpartum doulas, and now classes to assist families with newborns, such as the HUG Your Baby program.  

In addition to running her nonprofit organization Michelle is also married to a wonderfully supportive man and together they have nine children. She is very active with ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association), where she is an approved trainer for childbirth educators, birth doulas, and postpartum doulas. Michelle chairs the postpartum doula program for ICEA.

Michelle is also very active in her community by supporting families living with a rare genetic disorder called PKU. She is the founder of the PKU Organization of Wisconsin and serves on the board of directors for that nonprofit organization.

"As a HUG Your Baby educator I am very excited to have found this program. Since taking the training to become a HUG educator I have found many opportunities to share what I learned with families--not only through my nonprofit and its educational programs, but also in my everyday life. My most unique opportunity to educate came today, while I was sitting at the airport waiting for my plane to take me to the HUG Your Baby train the trainer workshop. As I sat there answering emails I suddenly found myself focusing on the interactions of a mother and her baby who were sitting next to me. I heard the mom keep saying, "Why won't you look at me?" and "Sweetie, look at Mama." The more this mother tried to engage with her baby the more the baby diverted her eyes.  

I couldn't help but watch this adorable little person, and the mother said she that she thought the baby liked me since she kept looking in my direction. This interaction led to our having a conversation in which we discussed how the baby might be overstimulated by all the hustle and bustle going on around him. The young mother was interested in learning more, and she was amazed at how, when she turned her baby into her body and held him close, within minutes he was gazing beautifully back into her eyes.

Our time ended rather quickly, and the young mother said that she would visit the HUG website to see if she could learn more. As a birth worker I love finding informal opportunities to offer impromptu education . . . sometimes in the strangest of circumstances!"