Don’t Judge a Pregnant Woman with a Glass of Wine in her Hand

Boston Magazine’s cover stopped me in my tracks in line at Whole Foods: a very pregnant woman with a glass of wine: Pregnant Pause?: Should Women Drink Alcohol While Pregnant?   Wow, at last, I thought- someone has the guts to take on this topic.   I feel that it is okay to have a glass of wine or a beer here and there while pregnant (I have 3 healthy kids).  As someone with morning sickness throughout most of my pregnancy, I didn’t usually crave a drink, but I also knew a glass of wine wouldn’t give my baby fetal alcohol syndrome.   Come on!

My role model was a relaxed mom of four whose South Shore Boston based OB told her it was okay to have a glass of red wine while pregnant now and then.  Her oldest is now a teenager, so this was awhile ago, but I could never pin down my doctors to give me the green light.  Why? The same reason no doctor would go on record in Boston Magazine’s article: liability.  The medical establishment needs to talk to the lowest common denominator.   If they say it’s okay to have a drink now and then, they have to assume someone could take this too far.  You could argue the same for soft cheeses: every Nervous Nellie mother-to-be I knew wouldn’t touch feta or fresh mozzarella or goat cheese, when in reality 99 percent of these cheeses from the supermarket are pasteurized, and pasteurized soft cheese is not likely to harbor Listeria.

I was excited about this article, that it might make some moms to be and those who judge them (many admonishing husbands included) relax.  Instead, the journalist obviously felt drinking was wrong and wanted to tie it into our “narcissistic” culture of mothers.  Let’s blame mothers again.  Let’s say mothers who have a glass of wine with a nice French dinner don’t love their babies and are self-centered.    What to Expect When You’re Expecting puts enough pressure and guilt on mothers-to-be.  (I didn’t eat the Best Odds Diet, for most of my first trimester, I ate carbs and ice cream and anything else that wouldn’t make me throw up while pregnant).  We are hard enough on ourselves throughout motherhood.  If you want to do yoga and not let anything non-organic touch your lips, go ahead.  I’m not a bad mom because I had swigged Coca Cola with my drive thru Happy Meal while pregnant.   In fact, like the mom in the Boston Magazine article who was brave enough to admit to drinking while pregnant, I constantly get compliments on how well behaved my kids are.

Happy babies are relaxed babies with relaxed mommies.  To the women who judge other pregnant women for a drink now and then (including, I daresay, the journalist who wrote this article), I say, relax.

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