Soon-to-be fathers can be supportive of their pregnant partners abstaining from alcohol for the nine months of pregnancy. This additional support can be very helpful to pregnant women as they go through the changes to their body and their lifestyle in anticipation of baby. Many couples enjoy going out and may consume alcohol together during a meal, at a party, or at a bar and while a pregnant women’s partner gets to enjoy their alcohol, this may be challenging for some women. Check out this story of a husband abstaining from alcohol in support of his wife, from The Fix:
In February, my wife and I stopped drinking. For some couples, this would be a minor sacrifice. But Neena and I met and courted at bars across downtown Manhattan. We fell in love toasting sunsets under thatched roofs throughout Central America. For us, dinner without wine isn’t much of a meal, and a weekend without time spent in a dark bar isn’t much of a weekend.
Sobriety didn’t arrive unannounced. We spoke at length and prepared for it, much as one readies for an imminent storm. Still, it was a shock to learn on a random Monday morning that Sunday night’s wine had been our last. We should’ve splurged on better bottles.
At this point I should mention that my wife’s not an alcoholic. Neither am I. She’s pregnant, and I’m trying to be supportive.
When it comes to incendiary topics, partner sobriety during pregnancy runs a close second to expectant mothers drinking alcohol. Pity the woman who turns to mommy blogs and baby forums for advice on broaching the subject of alcohol use with her partner. Should the all-knowing crowd deem her husband or boyfriend’s drinking as excessive, she is urged to leave this good-for-nothing sperm donor. Even when they’re not labeled alcoholics, drinking partners are regularly condemned online as traitors for lifting a single beer.
Fortunately, the middle ground is more reasonable. Hidden among the hysteria, most expectant mothers ask just one thing of their partner: Don’t be an asshole. For some couples, this means dual sobriety. For most, though, partners continue to drink in moderation. Writing on the web, some women even take pride in being the “DD” (dedicated driver) for their “DH” (dear husband) or “SO” (significant other).
Months before Neena got pregnant, I offered to stop drinking when the time came. When the test came back positive on that Monday morning, my abstract idealism quickly became a grim reality: Holy ****, I’m going to be sober until October. And even thereafter, with a newborn and a new life, drinking would never be the same.
A few months into our new lifestyle, I’ve realized something: Sobering up isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever had. The last time I dried out was 2005, when I was running a weekly newspaper in New York City. Between the job stress and the newspaperman’s romantic urge to hit the bottle, my nightly drunkenness was entirely justified. But it was getting out of hand. There is a breaking point, a Rubicon that must not be crossed, and it was near.
Taking a cue from a friend who’d given up the bottle for an entire year for similar reasons, I vowed to dry out for however long it took to clear my head and get a handle on things. By then, I’d been drinking for more than 20 years, starting with a mickey of blackberry brandy passed around before a middle school dance. I’ve always been an enthusiastic, loyal drinker. In fact, after smoking weed in high school and sucking down the usual pollutants in college, I spent my 20s in an exclusive relationship with alcohol.
My 2005 dry spell lasted about four months, and ended when my father died. I wouldn’t say my head was entirely clear, but I had certainly stepped back from the brink. All things considered, it was a success.
For pregnant women and women in general, check out these simple alternatives to drinking alcohol.
- Create an amazing alcohol-free cocktail, check out some ideas here.
- Cook a fabulous meal with a new recipe.
- Plant a small garden.
- Write a blog or journal/diary.
- Take a long walk with a friend or pet or by yourself (with music).
- Explore somewhere you have wanted to but never have before, such as a park or trail.
- Tackle those chores you have put off.
- Start a craft or DIY project. You can find tons of ideas on Pinterest.
- Volunteer at a local charity or organization.
- Read a popular book. Harry Potter? Twilight, anyone? Even just a trip to the local library can draw some inspiration, and it’s free!
- Learn a new skill: learn a new instrument, a new language, how to type, how to build a web page, yoga, karate, photography, knitting. The possibilities are endless.
- Visit the local museum, zoo, aquarium, etc.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Go to the local arcade.
- Watch a good movie.
- Get your nails or hair done.
- Start an exercise program.
- Relax by the beach or lay in the sun.
- Play a board game with your children or friends or siblings.
- Go shopping.
- Organize something: your closet, your desk, the pile of mail in the corner, the attic/basement, your filing cabinet. Everyone has something to organize.
- Take a college class.
- Bake your favorite treat.
- Hold a yard sale.
- Complete a puzzle.
Check out more activities you can do instead of drinking. Do you have any to add?