Designer Anna Karlin Thinks Cravings Are A Myth Plus Midwives And Mornings

Friend & creative genius, Anna (aka the coolest girl we know) is pregnant with her first. Considering she’s pretty much as cute (and stylish) as they come (by cute we mean hot with a touch of edge!) and sure to be “that mom” (you know the one at drop-off we all have a girl-crush on) we jumped at the chance to run around her Chinatown haunts. From her design studio (showcasing all things branding, interior design, and fine jewelry) to the fruit stand she frequents and her local lunch spot, we chatted about precious morning routines, how pregnancy floored her, and why self-care is not her jam. @annakarlinstudio 

Current state of mind?

I’m 33 weeks along, AND MY GOD it’s nothing like I’d imagined.

What was your experience getting pregnant? 

Being pregnant has been hard — it’s floored me.

I have a very physical and active business + lifestyle with client-facing pitches, running job sites, and my team. I’m tiny but I’m strong, and so the change in physicality has been a humbling experience.

Plus, for some reason, I had it in my head that it would take six months to a year to get pregnant and instead it took a week! Therefore, even though we wanted this, we thought we had a bit more time. I don’t know why I had convinced myself that it was going to take so long, but I had. 

How about selfcare?

There seems to be a lot of focus and messaging around “self-care” while you’re pregnant, but honestly, it makes me dizzy. In the first few months, I felt pressured to try “all the things,” like acupuncture and prenatal massages, but inevitably I don’t want to do “all the things. It’s not my jam. I’ve since said “fuck it,” and I’m a much happier human. I prefer to settle into the discomfort rather than fight it.

And what about eating?

I always joke with Toby that we’re fortunate I’m the one that’s pregnant and not him. If it were up to him, this kid would not be fed well at all — I’m still working on getting that man to eat a vegetable! In my “real life” I naturally eat like a pregnant person should eat, so no major changes on that front. The only difference, I’ve upped the amount of  protein I have. Typically I’d have fish or chicken (haven’t eaten red meat since I was 10 years old) a few times a week, whereas now I have it every day. Plus, my portion size has increased slightly.

For example, my breakfast is the same every day — a smoothie with frozen banana, kale, spinach, lemon juice, almond milk, spirulina, flaxseed, and, I added prunes with pregnancy (ooohh!). Lunch and dinner are usually veggie-based with a bit of fish.

Or craving? 

Nope. None. No wild cravings. Personally, I think cravings are a myth. It seems most women spend their lives denying themselves food and suddenly they feel as though have a 9-month window to go for it guilt free by labeling it a “craving.” So no, I eat what I want, but I’m naturally inclined to eat veggies. I’m yet to have an uncontrollable urge toward anything.

Midwife or doctor?

I’m English; therefore, I’m going to a midwife that I love and trust. In England, every pregnant woman sees a midwife unless there’s an issue with the pregnancy, then you see a doctor.

Do you have birth plan?

I don’t have one. In my mind, becoming attached to a plan that ultimately I have no control over, only sets me up for failure. Of course, I have an idea of how I would like it to go in an ideal world, but also, I’m at peace with whatever’s going to happen will happen. I’m aiming for a natural drug-free birth with the midwife, but we’ll see how it goes!

Why no drugs?

Who knows! I’m of this mindset right now (although, it very well may change once I know what a contraction feels like) while everything is still absolutely bliss. I’m not sure why I’m leaning towards “no drugs” , as I’m not anti-medicine by any means. I believe our bodies were designed for childbirth. Therefore, I’m curious to explore letting my body do what it was created to do. So much has become over-medicalized and we’re often out of touch with our bodies as a result. Even the culture and messaging around childbirth is hideous and fear-based from Hollywood movies with women screaming in brightly lit operating rooms to the word on the street. I don’t think it has to be that way. I’m mentally preparing for a different experience.

Boy or girl? 

We don’t know! Toby is adamant about not finding out which I’m okay with — I figure it’s either one or the other.


To my good fortune, it’s summer, and have been living in oversized slips and slides. For the most part, my body feels the same overall aside from the giant watermelon protruding off my body.

Childcare and maternity leave?

Again, the plan is not to have a plan. We’re going to go into it together and see how we do. As for work, my team is incredibly supportive — I’m a lucky girl. They’re all wonderful and probably want me to take more time then I’m planning.

What’s your morning routine?

Pre-baby I would have worked out first thing in the AM and then gone for a quiet coffee before heading to the office. However, now that I’m pregnant, instead of my morning workout is my morning constitutional. Then, I toss on whatever is within arms reach and walk to Cafe Grumpy in the LES, my favorite coffee shop. I love the early hours in the city when it’s quiet and still. While I walk, I usually call mum, or my best girlfriend for a catch as they’re both back home in London. Then sit with my coffee for a bit to map out my day and prepare my priorities before getting ready for work. Typically I make it to the office around 10 AM, and my workday begins.

This time alone, an hour to myself, every morning is critical to me — this if anything is my version of “self-care.”  I’m probably going to have to learn to let go of that one for a while which I anticipate it being quite hard for me.