The Pregonaut

A non-breeder's journey into the unknown

I’ll Drink To That April 4, 2010

Filed under: Celestial Body,Ground Control — anditron @ 1:23 am

P4020160 I participated in a focus group today on alcohol and pregnancy. It’s a touchy subject and one that really brings out the Holier Than Thou in people. There were 9 of us in there, all of whom have had a child in the last year and all of whom have had a drink in the last 30 days. I was the newest mother with a 2.5 month old I believe the oldest was 8 months.

To start things out the moderator asked the question “Is it okay to drink while pregnant?” Everyone around the table began, “No!” “Absolutely not!” “It’s irresponsible.” “If a woman drinks when pregnant she must not want the child.” The judgment spewing out of them made my blood boil. I knew what they were doing, maybe not all of them, but most. I knew they were immediately thinking of the extreme, you know, the idea of someone out clubbing every night sucking down beer and throwing back shots.

Then I spoke, “I drank when I was pregnant. I had a total of 3 glasses of wine. One at Thanksgiving, one at Christmas and one a day or so before before our daughter was born. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a glass of wine or maybe a beer on a special occasion. Most likely, all of our mothers drank when they were pregnant with us, and probably a bit more than would be considered safe; the human race managed to survive, and it has for thousands of years. ”

As soon as I said it, all but two of the women around the table said “Oh, yeah, well a glass of wine on occasion, sure, that’s fine, you just can’t overdo it.” Well wasn’t that the question to begin with? Frankly they did what all of society expects women to do, act like we’re the purist thing on earth simply because we’ve had a baby. And ridicule anyone who doesn’t fall inline with what we’re told a mother should be.

As the conversation went on, they all fell back in-line with what they thought their answer should have been. And when the question about why shouldn’t you or why didn’t they, their answer always fell to “Why risk it? There’s no way I’m going to do anything to risk my babies life.” And I really wanted to ask, “Did you get into a car during your pregnancy? Did you walk out the door? Hell, did you sit in your living room during your pregnancy? Because I know at least three different people who have had a bullet go through their living room window at some point and you know how many instances I’ve heard of a baby having fetal alcohol syndrome as a result of the mother having one glass of wine on the rare occasion during her pregnancy? Yeah, none.”

Frankly, I feel like the CDC has to say don’t drink at all during pregnancy only because they have to target the lowest common denominator. They have to publish their recommendations and guidelines for, yes I’m going to say it, the stupid people. The people who don’t know better. The people who aren’t smart enough to use simple common sense. It’s a Cover-Their-Ass recommendation; the same as when I told our Bot’s pediatrician that we co-sleep. The doctor has to ask us, “you know the risk of SIDs” because of the risk of malpractice. Of course we know there are risks involved with co-sleeping but we’re adults and able to make intelligent decisions for our child. Decisions we’ll be making for the rest of our life.

So yes, I drank when I was pregnant and I’ll continue to drink in front of our daughter in order to teach her that you can consume alcohol in a sensible manner. Of course that right there is a topic for a future post.

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16 Responses to “I’ll Drink To That”

  1. Aggrotech Says:

    My mom did shots of Peppermint Schnapps at a party when she was three months pregnant with me. I don’t think they really knew I was there (Mom had a history of irregular periods) so it’s not like she was consciously “I’M PREGNANT, WHERE’S THE HOOTCH!?!” She was also smoking at that time, too. After she found out she was pregnant then all that stopped. That said, I came out okay with all my fingers and toes in the right places and all that.

    Like everything, if it’s done in moderation then there’s no problem. Yes, fetal alcohol syndrome does exist, but having one glass of champagne at your sister’s wedding or something like that is not gonna cause it. I think there’s this sense that if you don’t tow the line to knee-jerk reactions you’re labeled as risky. Then there are folks like you and me who don’t give a shit about judgment and speak our minds. OH NOES!!! NOT EDUCATED INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT!! 😉 I’m pretty sure in other countries having a wine or a beer during pregnancy is no big deal. We in the ole US of A are still pretty skiddish about booze sometimes.

    I will say that my folks did not drink in front of us when we were kids. I know why they didn’t, but I kinda wish they had. Now as an adult I get DRUNK with my parents and that is just WEIRD!

  2. anditron Says:

    My response to the people who were all “Oh Noes!” was exactly what you pointed out here. Our mothers (most at least) drank while pregnant with us and the majority of us are fine. If people would stop worrying about the pressure of their friends and society then society would stop pushing unrealistic expectations onto moms and moms to be.

    As for drinking now that we have a child. My parents didn’t drink around us either. Just a glass of wine at New Year’s Eve. I wish they had though. While I wasn’t a drinker in high school I think would have approached my 20’s quite differently and positively. I guess I hold to a more European view of things when it comes to things like this.

  3. Kate Says:

    I have to agree – I too take a more European view of ‘moderation is the best policy’. I’m certainly not going to go out and get drunk once I know I’m pregnant, but a glass of wine every now and then with dinner? absolutely!

    I’ve had one or two people say that dogmatic line to me – “why take the risk?” And I sort of sigh, because with a few of these people, I know there isn’t any changing their mind – they’ve heard the line that even one drink is too many just one time too often. One of those people is a good family friend, and I try to just avoid the subject with her rather than fight.

    • anditron Says:

      I never had anyone try to get me to or not to drink. I’m lucky that all my friends just let me go about things my own way. I’m lucky in that respect. But I’m sure I do have some family who would have been the same way but fortunately they live so far away and are so rarely seen that I don’t have to deal with that.

  4. Alex Says:

    I drank wine while pregnant and two weeks after having Ripley I went out to Neo, got drunk and my boobs were leaking in the bathroom and I had to pump and dump for a whole day. I had prepared extra milk for just the occasion.

    I needed a break. I wasn’t one of those glowy, grateful, awestruck moms. I was in massive pain and I had depression that made me feel like I had made the worst mistake in the world. Throw in cancer and a brain tumor over the next three years after the baby and there you have it. I got knocked down and sometimes a drink made it all better for a little while. I made it out of the black hole and I’d do it again for Ripley. Still makes me angry to know that my mommy and me time was ripped away from me, but I am making new memories on my own terms every day.

    Just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you are dead and can’t see your friends or that you aren’t still the chick you were before the baby. I was the first in our circle to have a kid and I didn’t shove her down everyone’s throat. I knew they were all single and couldn’t really relate. If they asked, I would tell them. Parenthood is hard and and should be taken seriously, but you can still be yourself and not one of these radical parents that shove their lifestyle on their kids and everyone else. I am myself every day. Other moms on the playground don’t get me. I have tattoos, I have black hair and I let my kid watch Ghost Hunters. To most moms, I’m not doing it right and should be avoided like the plague. I used to care about that and felt judged all the time and that I wasn’t that perfect commercial mom. I don’t give a fuck any more. I’ve survived more than they probably ever will. At least I’m not lying to myself and pretending that I am a perfect mom and wife anymore. Those people end up divorced. I plan on keeping my family just as they are. Perfect.

    • anditron Says:

      Yes to everything you said. I can totally see where you’re coming from regarding the need to just let loose and all that. I haven’t gone out yet, but that mostly seems to be because the only thing I have here to wear right now is prego clothes. I sent everything home with my dad so I didn’t have to look at it. Probably foolish of me I know.

      I don’t know if any mom is actually that glowing person all the time though it sounds like you had a really rough time of it postpartum. I do feel pretty lucky to not have had any severe depression yet. I put that solely on the placenta capsules, they have really helped with that. Your victory over all your health setbacks still amazes me. I don’t know how you did it, but we’re all lucky and glad you did (especially your family).

      I think you make an awesome mom and I only hope I can be as good with Lorelei. You’re quite the inspiration even if those other mothers don’t see it. On that front, I don’t know if you’ve ever checked out Offbeatmama.com but you should. While it was launched this year with the impending birth of Ariel’s (from Offbeatbride.com) son, it’s a great place for moms who dance to the beat of their own drum to find support. There are parents of kids from of all ages on there and I bet you’ve a great story or two that you could even contribute to really help your fellow oddball moms. Check it out if you haven’t

      • Alex Says:

        Thanks chica! I’ll check out the link you sent. It’s all a bunch of hard work but I too love being a Mom. Sometimes I have to have my own time so I get a couple of random vacations to myself a year and try to spend time with my friends. I am hoping to be up there next Friday, so if you can come out, I’d love to buy you a drink and catch up. I’m going to Late Bar. I have some business to discuss with Kristine and I plan on hanging out after.
        Chad always tells me that the mark of being a good mother is never thinking that you are so there are always things you are trying to do to be better at it.

  5. Amanda Zins Says:

    The first of my friends to get pregnant, some 10 years ago now was turning 30 while pregnant.

    At one of her checkups shortly before her birthday, she asked her doc if she would do any damage to her baby if she had a lone beer to celebrate her 30th.

    Her Dr’s response? “Go out, have a beer or two on your birthday – you only turn 30 once. Frankly, between you and I, you could probably have one beer a day throughout your whole pregnancy and not do any damage, however, as a doctor, I’m not supposed to be broadcasting that to pregnant patients.”

    Not related to pregnancy, but when I was in my early 20s, I suffered through about 30 kidney stones. My GP was an elderly doc, and said something similar to me. “As a doctor, I’m not supposed to recommend this, but I will tell you that beer drinkers don’t get kidney stones. I’m not saying go get drunk everyday, but you should think about starting to drink beer”. Sure enough, I added beer to “things I drank” and after the stones that had already formed passed, I never had another again.

    I agree 100% that those CDC recommendations are there for the stupid people who would say “they don’t tell me I can’t drink, so I’m going to continue being an alcoholic while I’m carrying this baby”.

    • anditron Says:

      I think most Doctors feel the same way. But for their sake they’re not supposed to say that either you know because of all the ridiculous malpractice suits. It’s the old adage too much of anything is bad for you.

  6. Nicole Says:

    I agree. My midwife actually told me that having wine was fine during pregnancy, in moderation. I didn’t drink mostly because it sounded repugnant to me (along with many other foods and drinks) during my pregnancy, but I wouldn’t have been afraid to. As far as drinking in front of baby, I think parents who make alcohol a serious taboo are the ones who end up with kids that are alcoholics. We had a glass of wine with dinner many times growing up (yes, that includes us kids when we got into high school) so it was never a big rebellious thing for me.

  7. ragani Says:

    Thanks for sharing some down-to-earth experiences with an otherwise touchy issue. My friends have not been difficult at all, but then again I have a reputation for being responsible about drinking anyway, so I am sure they don’t see the need. I have one friend who just had her first baby in December and her midwife said she would rather she drink a beer a day than keep up her coffee habit (which was more difficult for me to break than drinking, especially with all the sleep issues that come with being pregnant).

    I think the doctors that most people quoted here have the right idea. It is difficult for tests to prove what level is safe because every child and mother is different so the CDC has to take the safest stance of making drinking verboten.

    I typically have about one drink a week, maybe two (pre-pregnancy) and almost never more than one at a time, and did so for about a month or so before finding out I was pregnant. I am not worried about that level. Now I usually just take sips of almost everything my husband and friends are drinking so I get to enjoy enough not to feel left out but am not tempted to drink too much, as well as an occasional glass of wine.

  8. QoB Says:

    The purism over drinking in pregnancy is historically very weird. If you’re of European ancestry, anyway, practically all your ancestors drank regularly throughout pregnancy – either because they had to, as small [diluted] beer was the safest source of water intake, or because they didn’t think it made a difference.

    Yes, of course, F.A.S. is devastating and should be avoided. But one glass of wine or a beer a few times during pregnancy? I doubt that causes anything pathological that is measurable. In fact, why not blame autism prevalence on FEWER women drinking during pregnancy.

  9. Lainey Says:

    I know a number of women who got stinkin’ drunk in those first few months before they knew they were pregnant, supposedly the time when the alcohol can most affect the fetus, and all of them had healthy babies. Nobody has common sense anymore. I also drank coffee all through my second pregnancy and didn’t even feel guilty. The horror! Of course I breastfed past a year, carried my babies instead of using a stroller, and co-slept. All while driving an SUV and living in the suburbs. Needless to say, all the moms around here think I’m a little bit strange…;)

  10. stacy Says:

    I had a few glasses of wine toward the end of my pregnancy, but really wine or beer just didn’t appeal to me at all (nor did salad, so there you go). I didn’t have any problem with it, I’d read the research and I know that doctors have to err on the side of caution because there are yahoos out there who don’t know what “moderation” means. But after the baby? Oh yeah. Some days mommy certainly needed a glass of wine. And even my husband! would give the raised eyebrows! And I’ll spare you the “but I only did it this way and that way” because I assume you will trust me to be a responsible grown-up who takes good care of my kid and would never do anything to harm her. (I will admit to getting a bit judgey-judgey over the woman smoking a cigarette at a cafe while hugely pregnant though…*sheepish*)

  11. Marielle Says:

    Oh my God it’s a reasonable mother! Run for your lives! 🙂

  12. […] Milkscreen test kitYou probably remember my post on drinking and pregnancy. I haven’t had a desire to drink like I did before being pregnant but I do have one here and […]


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