MS.Ed, BS.Ed , LMT, ICCE, ICBD, ICPD, ICPFE, IAT(CE-D-PD), MCH, CBC, CPMT, CHT, CEIM, SBD (see below for explanation of initials)
Michelle began her birth worker career in 2003 when she opened her first birth business (originally TLC Doula and later changing to Hardy Alternative Health Services are her career grew and changed). She ran that business from 2003 to 2012. In 2010 while still running her own private business she founded a non profit organization called Mothering the Mother which was created because she saw a huge need in the community for quality care from professionals for women who couldn't afford services. In 2017 Michelle decided to reopen her private business, Milwaukee Doulas while still running and coordinating Mothering the Mother (which she still currently does).
Michelle's History - how did she begin in this field?
Michelle's interest in working in the birth field began in 2001 when she was pregnant with her 7th child (she now is the happy mother to 9 children that range in age from 30 yrs down to 8 yrs). In 2001 she was pregnant with her seventh child and her doctor suggested that she and her husband, Bradley hire a doula for their upcoming birth. Her doctor felt that hiring a doula would help them achieve the birth that they were looking for and also to help calm her husband's nerves so that he could be more involved in the birth (unfortunately Michelle birthed her daughter before she was able to find a doula and that birth was filled with many unnecessary interventions and stress).
After that birthing experience Michelle knew that birth could be better and the seed was planted. Michelle spent the next two years thinking about the importance of doulas and how much she had wanted to be one. Unfortunately at the time she didn't think it was realistic for her to pursue this dream. Finally in 2003 while she was working on her masters degree in education and running a full time in home licensed daycare she decided to take the plunge and work towards becoming a certified birth doula and started her own birth business. It was very hard running a full time business, working on her master's degree, and working towards doula certification, but her persistence and passion paid off. In 2003 she became a doula and in 2004 she graduated with her masters degree, and at that time she realized that education in the school system was not her true calling, so she completely threw herself into the birth world and started to study more and more and earn more and more certifications.
When Michelle began her work she started out working with teen and low income mothers - after a few years of doing that she moved onto the more traditional family, but her passion for teens and low income women never left. In 2005 she decided to add to her skill set and certified as a Hypnotherapist, and in 2006 she became a licensed massage therapist (all things she happily offered to her clients). In 2009 after she gave birth to her 9th child she decided to enter nursing school, and while there really realized that she still really needed to follow her passion and through that passion she created Mothering the Mother Incorporated - a nonprofit organization that serves all women (catering especially to the underserved population who are not able to afford the services of a doula, classes or lactation support). She has now thrown herself fully and completely into operating Mothering the Mother, left nursing school and is so happy for the support that her husband and children have given her - at times doing this work is not fun on one's family, but they truly are her cheerleaders in work and life!
In 2016, Michelle decided to open a pregnancy and birth related store called Beyond the Birth (http://beyondthebirth.org), and in 2017 she decided to re-open her private birth business only this time is was called Milwaukee Doulas (https://milwaukeedoulas.org) where she offers childbirth and new parent education, birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and lactation support.
Michelle believes in always continuing her education and advancing her knowledge. To learn more about all of her trainings, certification and education please see below. Michelle currently holds a license as teacher and massage therapist, and has certifications and/or advanced training as a birth doula (and trainer for ICEA), postpartum doula (and trainer for ICEA), childbirth educator (and trainer for ICEA), prenatal and postanatal massage therapist, infant massage therapist, prenatal and postpartum fitness educator and hypnotherapist.
Michelle believes very strongly in participating in her community in addition to doing birth work. In 2014 she started to travel the United States and train individuals who want to become birth doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators and who want to learn more about early lactation. In 2015 she joined the ICEA Board of Directors, and is still sitting on that board today. In 2016 she started her path to becoming a La Leche League Leader and now leads a drop in group in West Allis. In addition to the work she does with Mothering the Mother, running her store, Beyond the Birth, her private birth business, Milwaukee Doulas, and traveling to train individuals she is very active in her church, and other community organizations. She is a board member for the PKU Organization of Wisconsin, as well as her extensive involvement with ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) as a board member and a Board Chair of the Postpartum Doula Program, and chair of the mentorship and scholarship programs.
Michelle loves every aspect of her life and is always very grateful when someone invites her to join them on their journey through pregnancy, birth and parenting. Please consider scheduling an appointment to learn more about what she offers and can do.
Professional Massage Therapy Program (Lakeside School of Massage Therapy) / September 2006
Masters of Science in Education (Walden University) / April 2004
Bachelors of Science in Education (Alverno College) / December 1999
Certifications & Licenses:
*Certifications that Michelle chose not to renew, but held at one time.
MS.Ed - Masters of Science in Education
BS.Ed Bachelors of Science in Education
LMT - Licensed Massage Therapist
ICCE - ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator
ICBD - ICEA Certified Birth Doula
ICPD - ICEA Certified Postpartum Doula
ICPFE - ICEA Perinatal Fitness Educaator
IAT(CE-D-PD) - ICEA Approved Trainer for Childbirth Education, Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula
MCH - Maternal Child Health Specialist
CBC - Certified Breastfeeding Counselor
CPMT - Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist
CHT - Certified Hypnotherapist
CEIM - Certified Educator of Infant Massage
SBD - Stillbirthday Certified Doula