We had the good fortune of connecting with Hallie Ager and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hallie, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
Ingrid: I am from a small farm community in southern Michigan. My parents both grew up on farms and although they did not carry on the family tradition, they taught me how to work hard and be self-sufficient. Both of my parents were educators, my dad a college professor for 37 years and my mom a school administrator for most of her career. Education was extremely important to them as it had provided them both with opportunities outside their small towns. They instilled in me a strong belief that if I got a good education and worked hard, anything was possible. I have always felt that I am the driver of my own destiny, as cliché as that might sound. That belief has been extremely valuable to me in both my professional and personal life and without a doubt has contributed to my entrepreneurial spirit.
Hallie: Starting my own business has been a goal and dream of mine since I was a little girl. As a small child, I would set goals, picture them happening, and push forward to achieve them. Back After Baby was a collaboration of personal and professional experience between two colleagues who greatly respected one another and were passionate about helping women. I was introduced to the importance of Women’s Health Physical Therapy after having my first baby. You might think I should have known all the ins and outs of what having a baby actually entails, being a Physical Therapist. However, the truth is it wasn’t until I started experiencing problems including SI discomfort and stress incontinence that I realized it had a purpose! Once I started digging into the material and talking to other moms I was almost infuriated with the reality of what little resources there were for pregnant and postpartum women in regards to physical recovery. Ingrid and I discussed many different ways in which we could provide women what they needed and landed on a comprehensive postpartum program that was online. We poured our hearts, time and knowledge into every detail and Back After Baby was born. At the end of the day, our passion is to help women, empower them with knowledge, and inspire them to speak up and demand answers for the problems they are encountering. There are wonderful resources and we are excited to say that Women’s Health is definitely becoming more of a topic because of these amazing women!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Back After Baby was developed in order to provide moms with the resources and guidance they need for musculoskeletal recovery after having a baby. After years of providing physical therapy to postpartum women, Hallie and I decided that we had to do more. We found that most women felt like the pain and weakness they experienced postpartum was just something they had to deal with, the price of having a baby. Many waited years before finally coming to see us, most with injuries that could have been avoided with preventative postpartum care. In late 2013, Back After Baby was born in a little coffee shop in the Houston Heights. Hallie and I sat down as fellow physical therapists and moms and started talking about our own personal experiences and those of our patients. We brainstormed about how we could reach more women and improve the current standard of postpartum care. We decided to create a virtual rehabilitation program similar to the physical therapy programs we had been teaching our patients for years. We wanted it to be cost effective and accessible- something moms could do during those occasional quiet moments. We worked with a group of really talented guys at another local business, Flywheel Co., to build our website and help make our vision a reality. Since our launch in early 2016, we are extremely proud to have helped many moms recover from pregnancy and childbirth and live their lives without pain. We continue to speak out and educate others in order to shine a light on the need for improved standards of care when it comes to postpartum health. We are encouraged by the new guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that call for a more robust and comprehensive approach to postpartum care. Despite this progress, we still have a long way to go. Our goal is to continue to educate, develop resources for, and provide care to women in order to keep moving the ball forward.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ingrid: One of the great things about Houston is there is something for everyone! I’m pretty low key when it comes to hanging out and so is my best friend so we’d probably spend most of our time talking and catching up but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t multi-task! Here’s a list of our potential stops while she’s in town… 1. Lunch at Tiny Boxwoods 2. Antique Shopping in the Heights 3. Strolling through Buchannan’s Nursery in the Heights 4. Hiking at the Arboretum 5. Tex-Mex lunch at Chuy’s 6. A trip to the McGovern Centennial Gardens 7. Chai Teas at Onion Creek in the Heights 8. Shopping at Highland Village 9. Dinner at Khyber Indian Restaurant
Hallie: When having family and friends in town we typically start out at home. We are lucky to have a wonderful group of neighbors who are much like family. We love hanging out in our beautifully painted alley, swimming, playing games like corn hole and barbecuing! Especially in quarantine, this has been a lifesaver. Some additional stops during their visit would include: the Green Fork & Straw for an amazing smoothie and treats, antique and small business shopping along 19th and Yale St, lunch at El Tiempo for their amazing crab enchiladas and margaritas, a drive down Main St in the Medical Center because of the beautiful Live Oaks, and then back home for a night on the porch.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We want to give a big shoutout to Sonya with Momology Co. and her Masterminds Group of creative, smart, brave, and beautiful women who help each other navigate owning a business and being a mom. Sonya has been a champion of ours from the beginning and has helped us define our business and our mission. She has helped us spread the word about who we are and what we offer and has been there to help us celebrate our successes and learn from our failures. She is the founder of Momology Co, a business aimed at empowering new moms with the information they need to improve their health and thrive in the first year of motherhood. She is also the founding member of “Masterminds”, a collaborative group of mompreneuers that have also helped us grow and build our business. Sonya- we are so thankful for your friendship, insight, and support! You inspire us to think big! In addition to Sonya, we want to give a shoutout to our families and friends for all their support while we pursued our dream of starting a business. It’s not always easy to take something like this on while working full-time jobs and having young children. We are both blessed with wonderful husbands and families who help pick up the slack at home and provide us with the ability to push forward towards this dream.
Facebook: Back After Baby
Other: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Workshop photo credit to Katie Tai