Mommy I need a hug: The power of connection.

A hug is defined as an act of holding someone tightly in one's arms, typically to express affection. Research shows that hugging may also help reduce stress and lower your risk of anxiety, depression and illness. Consider what a simple hug can do: Help you feel connected, and can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Most of us have seen it. It is the videos or the news stories of a baby at the brink of death, and the power of a mother’s touch, that can bring that little one back to the full measure of life. The tears of worry that we briefly share turn into smiles of joy. As if something in this world has been made beautiful and right. Moments like that happen everyday at Acres of Hope, and we get to see the impact up close. It comes in the simplest form, a hug.

A little boy named Micah he moves swiftly through kitchen. You hear the shuffle of his little feet on their search for Mom. When he arrives and meets her gaze, his eyes set upon hers. His little arms reach up high anticipating her embrace. His words questioning, “Mom, up please”? As she gathers him in her arms, he rests his head upon her chest, and his word so sweet, but so desperate, “Mommy I need a hug”.

You see for both Micah and his mom this moment is probably so much more than you realize. For Micah’s mother physical touch was not something that she was used to. The only physical touch she knew growing up brought pain. When she arrived to Acres of Hope she would often weep, and proclaim, “I don’t know how to show him affection, that wasn’t how I was raised”. Yet as his mother experienced support, encouragement, and the tools to change her life, she became open to the power of connection. She no longer felt she was walking in this world alone. Where she once refused hugs, she began to open her arms, and embrace the wonder of being embraced. This changed everything, because it was a form of touch that did not hurt. Instead it brought her peace.

Micah reaped the benefits of the transformation in his mother. His mother loves him, so she began to embrace him in this new found comfort. Micah began receiving hugs. At first he would firmly stretch out his little arms to push away the embrace. He would scream at the sign of physical affection. However, little by little the arms began to open, and his head would begin to rest upon her chest. Micah felt the comfort, and stability of being held in his mother’s arms.

Today at Acres of Hope as we hear those words, “Mommy I need a hug”, we smile because we know the transformation it takes to hear them. We understand that for a child to express their need, means they have learned their mother can answer their cry. We can see that when a child opens up their arms, they are trusting the one who is entering into their embrace. This is the power of renewal here at Acres of Hope, a place where the power of connection heals.

To learn more about Acres of Hope or how to get involved,

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