Learn from a Local Expert about Nursery Design: Mindi Kessenich, Owner of Amazing Space by MK

Learn from a Local Expert about Nursery Design:  Mindi Kessenich, Owner of Amazing Space by MK

I'm so excited to share this Q&A with my good friend, who also happens to be a very talented home stylist, mom and real estate professional.  I know I felt challenged with how to go about decorating my daughter's nursery, and figured my clients and other readers would love to get a pro's thoughts on where to start.  Read on for Mindi's expert tips and tricks for decorating a baby room.

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Prenatal Exercise Do's & Don'ts

Prenatal Exercise Do's & Don'ts

Exercise may not be high on the list of things you feel like doing while battling morning sickness, fatigue, or other pregnancy related discomforts, but it may be worth it for both you and your baby.  After all, exercise may be the very thing you need in order to feel less nauseous, more energized, or more comfortable.  It may help you to get better rest, have an easier labor, and recover more quickly postpartum as well.  In addition, exercise could have a significant impact on your mental health, which is known to affect fetal neurobehavioral development, and consequently, child outcomes.  Studies even suggest that maternal exercise may be associated with higher IQ in babies!

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Happy Pills? Could Placenta Encapsulation be Right for You?

Happy Pills?  Could Placenta Encapsulation be Right for You?

You may have heard friends rave about how placenta encapsulation improved their postpartum experience and recovery, or read of celebrities who swear by the practice (like January Jones crediting consuming her placenta as helping her get back on set of Mad Men within 6 weeks).  Wondering if encapsulation could be for you?  Read on:

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Birth Preferences (Part 3): Birthing Environment and Choosing a Care Provider

Birth Preferences (Part 3):  Birthing Environment and Choosing a Care Provider

Two of the most important decisions are often made early in a woman's pregnancy journey:  where she will give birth, and who will care for her.  In the Madison area, there are basically three choices for places to birth your baby: SSM Health St. Mary's, UnityPoint Health Meriter, or at home.  Sometimes insurance coverage plays a part, and often location and choice of provider go hand in hand.  The good news is, in my opinion, all three locations are great options, and there are lots of fantastic providers to choose from.  Here are some differences you may find helpful as you consider your choices, as well as a few tips to keep in mind.

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It's Not All Sunshine: 8 Common Pregnancy Complaints and How to Deal

It's Not All Sunshine:  8 Common Pregnancy Complaints and How to Deal

I mean, let's be real.  Is this a pregnant fairy in a field of wild poppies??  I feel like there are images like this everywhere, and while I appreciate a beautiful photo celebrating the pregnant form as much as the next gal, I also feel they can put undue pressure on women who may not be feeling particularly goddess-like during their pregnancies. I'll be honest, during my pregnancy I did feel like a magical creature at times.  I mean, I was growing a human!  As women, that's our super power!  But it was not always awesome. Pregnancy is not all sunshine and poppies, or daisies, or whatever.  Sometimes growing a miracle is not so much fun.  If you're experiencing some of the less than fantastic parts of pregnancy, read on for some ideas that may help:

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Cesarean Births are Births Too

Cesarean Births are Births Too

About a third of all babies born in this country are born by Cesarean Section.  There is often talk of what percentage of C-sections are truly necessary, and whether common practices in obstetrics could be leading to the climbing C-section rate.  That's not what this post is about. What I feel really needs to be discussed is the fact that Cesarean births are indeed births too.

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Birth Preferences (Part 1): The Importance of Informed Consent and the "Overdue" Baby

Birth Preferences (Part 1):  The Importance of Informed Consent and the "Overdue" Baby

informed consent:

1. permission granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.

If you have a healthcare provider, who you trust, and you feel has the proper knowledge and expertise to recommend the best course of treatment for you and your baby, who are you to question their advice?

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Our Story: The Birth that Made Me a Mother

Our Story:  The Birth that Made Me a Mother

If I look like a hot mess in this photo it is because I was.  It was a challenging road for me and Miss Selah, but we made it. I've always wanted to be a mother.  I'm cut from the same cloth as my mom, I suppose.  She told me that growing up, when thinking of what she wanted to be, Mom was all she came up with.  She said she wasn't ever encouraged or told she could do anything else, but also said that being a mother was truly what she wanted most in life.  She made sure I was  taught I could accomplish anything in the world, and yet I shared her sentiment--I always coveted the title of Mother the absolute most.

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Death of a Dream- Processing Miscarriage

Death of a Dream- Processing Miscarriage

"At least you can get pregnant."   "At least it was early."

 "At least you're young and have plenty of time to try again." 

Though these types of comments are usually well meaning, they can be very hurtful to someone who has felt the devastation of losing a pregnancy, a baby, a dream of a growing family.  It can feel as though others don't understand the depth of your loss, or don't believe you are entitled to the grief you feel.   There is no right way to feel after a pregnancy loss, but there is no question that it is felt as a significant loss to many, and processing the experience emotionally is important.

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Nipplephobia: Why We Need to Normalize Breastfeeding in our Culture

Nipplephobia: Why We Need to Normalize Breastfeeding in our Culture

I admit it.  I'm one of the breastfeeding mothers out there who has allowed cultural norms to get in the way of what I believe is best for my child.  I've ended feedings prematurely to avoid breastfeeding in front of others, even in my own home.  I've "wasted" precious breastmilk I had pumped by bottle feeding even when we were together, just to avoid nursing in public.  I've breastfed countless times in dirty bathrooms, and tried to hide the fact that I'm nursing at all from some people to avoid the taboo topic of "extended breastfeeding" (she's 19 months).  And now? I've finally had enough.

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Getting Off to a Good Start with Breastfeeding: My Top 5 Tips

Getting Off to a Good Start with Breastfeeding: My Top 5 Tips

It's true that getting off to a good start with breastfeeding can be more difficult than what many may expect.  While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, with continued breastfeeding along with complimentary foods until 1 year or longer (the World Health Organization recommends at up to 2 years and beyond), just 44% are exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months.  This is due to many factors, but preparing yourself ahead of time and having good support can go a long way in helping you to reach your breastfeeding goals.  Consider taking a breastfeeding class, visiting a local La Leche League meeting, and taking the time to research breastfeeding basics before your baby arrives.  Here are my 5 Top Tips for getting off to a good start:

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I Want the Drugs. Why Would I Want a Doula?

I Want the Drugs. Why Would I Want a Doula?

About 60% of women receive epidural pain relief during labor in this country according to the CDC.  It is a very common and completely valid choice.  Why, if you decide to get drugs, would you also want to hire a doula?  Aren't doulas just for "crunchy" types that want to go "all natural?"  No.  And here's why:

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