Pregnancy and Sobriety: Five Inspiring Alternatives To Drinking While Pregnant
Each expecting and breastfeeding mother has to decide on what she chooses to put in her body. From the list of don’t eat foods such as sushi, deli meats, and soft cheeses, to her prescribed medications, to alcohol and illegal drugs. Pregnancy can bring about many changes and many expecting mothers find themselves suffering in the midst from new fears and anxieties. Not having alcohol can seem overwhelming to some and near impossible to others, but since the alternative is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, most expectant moms are able to push through it and successfully quit alcohol while pregnant. It’s no small feat to stay sober during pregnancy for 9 months or more and finding new activities, distractions, and new friends can be important navigating this next chapter of your life.
Audiobooks are a great distraction while driving home from work or lying in bed at night. Many strong women have gone through the experience of being pregnant and have written about it, including struggling with alcohol and depression. Check out Glennon Doyle the author of Carry on Warrior: The power of embracing your messy, beautiful life (2014) and Brook Shields book Down came the rain (2006) on depression after birth. For more educational audiobooks, Heidi Murkoff’s What to expect when you’re expecting (2016) and The Shit! No one tells you about being pregnant: A guide to surviving pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond (Dais, 2017).
Birthing from within (England & Horowitz, 1998), a holistic book on understanding the birth process encourage women to create birth art. Birth art helps the expecting mother to process her pregnancy. Allowing the unconscious to unfold in the non-verbal creative self can be eye-opening, emotionally releasing, and empowering. Birth art can be whatever the artist desires to create; however, traditionally the art piece is based on how the woman views herself giving birth. The art piece can be worked on throughout the pregnancy, or a new piece can be created each month, observing how the image of her changes. Some women have created a birthing quilt for their project as well as clay sculptors. Birth art can be a creative and powerful way to express the inner most fears and desires of the birth experience.
3Keeping a Journal
Keep a journal! Some women choose to write to their baby each day and some write about their feelings of being pregnant. Writing can be therapeutic and keeping a journal can help create insight and awareness. If writing on a blank page sounds daunting there are printed interactive journals on amazon.com such as Start where you are: A journal of self-exploration (Patel, 2015) and Soul catcher: A journal to help you become who you really are (K.Eton, Eton, & Barnes, 1999). Lastly, journals can also be a place to write inspiring quotes that keep the expecting mother motivated, hopeful, and committed to being sober throughout pregnancy. Sentences such as, “I choose to be sober, I choose to keep trying,” “You are a warrior, keep fighting for the light,” and, “You are a lion so roar, you’ve never given up before.”
4TV Shows, Movies, and Birthing Videos
Being captivated by a new TV show or an interesting movie can help create something to look forward to at the end of your day instead of the usual glass of wine. Allowing yourself time to relax with your feet up is extremely important during pregnancy and a new movie can be just the excuse you need. Ina May Gaskin & The Farm Midwives documentary, Birth Story shows the process of many women coming together and helping other women go through pregnancy and the birth process. TV shows such as The Crown, Girls, Empire, and the Handmaid’s Tale all have incredibly strong female characters that prevail during times of change and uncertainty.
5Join a New Or Expecting Mother’s Group
Pregnancy creates opportunity to find new friends that are going through similar experiences. Finding a local pregnancy or breastfeeding group can provide a sense of normalcy, camaraderie, and even laughter. Having pregnant friends can also help and provide new sober activities such as going to the movies, going to water based exercise classes, and going to the park with your little ones. Being sober with others during this time can help prevent relapse during pregnancy. If your local area doesn’t have any groups there are online communities such as Facebook (Mommy2Mommy), thebump.com, themomsclub.org, and whattoexpect.com.