When I was pregnant, my inclinations and needs felt magnified. Whether it was what I wanted to put in my mouth, how much I needed to sleep, or how intense it felt to enter my closet and feel dismayed by what no longer fit, everything felt intense. Most women will commiserate on how overwhelming the whole experience can feel physically and emotionally. But in most cases, the rollercoaster of needs and desires can be managed by finding a healthy way or place to satisfy them.

I’m convinced that some of the mystifying fog of desires pregnant people experience is that we just don’t know how to fulfill our own needs! So here’s a list of the top five needs I experienced physically and emotionally while pregnant, and the places in which I was able to satisfy them. Warning: some of this is pretty personal and a little detailed, but I have a feeling you will relate.

1. You're craving: Food, food and more food.

Here’s how you can satisfy it: Indulge...responsibly.

Like many Mamas to be, the cravings grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let up. What did I want? Dairy. Dairy. With a side of Dairy. Luckily, I’m not vegan but I am committed to eating as organic as possible. So I did my best to get my fix in the healthiest way I could. So…for my milkshake cravings, I went to Bareburger. They use all organic ingredients such as the made in Brooklyn, Blue Marble Ice Cream. I often visited my favorite neighborhood food spot called The Commons Café. They serve up homemade comfort food and often use local (and thus inherently organic) ingredients. Their grilled cheese (local cheddar cheese on a rosemary focaccia bread) is like biting into heaven! It’s true, you’re eating for two but sometimes the cravings are so overwhelming, so do your best to satisfy them in the most conscious way possible.

2. You're craving: Undergarments that work!

Here’s how you can satisfy it: Find an expert and make an investment.

There is nothing more shocking than watching your breasts begin to burst out of your bras. On one hand, you seek comfort and support on the other hand, you don’t want to give yourself over to the dark side of unsexy undergarments. Does it pay to buy larger regular bras or do you succumb to the nursing bra before you actually have to use them? All of these questions were answered with love and encouragement at my favorite lingerie store Sugar Cookies, located in the heart of Chelsea. Owner Susanne Alvarado and her side-kick Christine always met me right where I was emotionally and physically and helped me find just the right undergarments to help me feel supported (literally) and still sexy as I expanded. Though the store is small, they have a surprising array of nursing bras (my favorites were by Elle MacPherson) as well as sexy, yet stretchy, undies that grew with me. (sigh). For a feminine and lovely experience for what you wear underneath, Sugar Cookies is what got me through!

3. You're craving: Pregnancy and postpartum clothes for your old stuff in bigger sizes just doesn’t cut it.

Here’s how you can satisfy it: Buy some of the amazing maternity and nursing brands out there!

I resisted this one until the day I could no longer feel human walking down the street. Maternity wear, I realized, has its place as you don’t just get bigger, your proportions really change and what feels comfortable shifts entirely. Those last few months are delicate emotionally and in order to stay afloat, you need some key pieces that make you feel stylish and put together. The items I purchased during my pregnant months were pretty basic but I’ve discovered some gems since that I would love to share. And you can be certain that if I have baby number two one day, they will be my go to stops. There’s Bump Brooklyn (founded by two fashion conscious moms who recognized the lack of stylish and chic maternity wear) and Hatch Collection (every piece is designed to be elegant, modern and comfortable). For nursing wear? I’ve met the amazing Emily Hsu at one of my events, a mom who designed an brilliant line of nursing tops. Check out Emily’s company Au Lait. These tops are sleek, modern, and spell contemporary mom doing it all.

4. You're craving: Some body indulgence.

Here’s how you can satisfy it: Treat yourself to facials and luxe skincare products.

Finding the right pampering moments and products become really important when you’re pregnant. You need to continue to feel special and comforted in a vulnerable time! While I love getting massages, prenatal massage is a particular technique and you need to seek out a therapist you feel comfortable with so I didn’t do it just anywhere. For me, getting facials was the perfect pampering activity. It was something I could do for a girl’s spa day and walk away feeling glowing and pampered. Check out Great Jones Spa (I love the organic Jurlique products they use as well as their gentle, sweet aestheticians). If you’re looking for something even more healing, perhaps try Pratima Ayurvedic Spa to cater to exactly the needs of your pregnant body (they have consultations for pre and post natal). My favorite skin care line is Tata Harper, gorgeous and all natural. I’ve recently befriended another amazing NYC Mom-preneur who created Nine Naturals, a company offering safe beauty products for moms to be. Check this line out, its pretty beautiful and incredibly conscious.

5. You're craving: Community.

Here’s how you can satisfy it: Find some other mamas or mamas-to-be.

This is a big one. Perhaps the biggest, as it inspired me to launch an entire network around connecting NYC Moms. As we begin the journey of motherhood (which frankly begins the minute you begin trying to make a child) we desperately need one another for validation, friendship, collaborations, connections, encouragement, inspiration and more. We will often feel lost or lonely (and due to the extreme emotional highs and lows of pregnancy) sometimes those emotions can feel very extreme! Who can better understand than your fellow mamas? Seek out women who are also pregnant to commiserate with (a great reason to take a prenatal yoga class) and turn to friends or family who have been pregnant before. But one of the most invigorating aspects of entering motherhood is the community you’re yet to meet. You will grow and change as your body and your baby grows and changes. Entirely different things will inspire you and your conversations will change. Stay open to new ideas and people who you connect with. The moments can seem lonely on this journey but the incredible women you can meet as you evolve is life altering.

One major lesson I learned on the path of pregnancy and continue to be reminded through being a Mom is that there is no phase that lasts very long. Sleepless nights dissipate into sleeping steadily; emotional lows lead to ecstatic joy. Trust that you will navigate the journey because you have the tools to do so and when you really need or want something to get you through a moment, find the best and most balanced way to do so. For more on navigating motherhood happily and healthily, tap into the Beyond Mom community at www.randizinn.com.

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