I miss wine. There, I said it.
I’m 29 weeks pregnant and I would love nothing more than to crack open a chilled bottle of my favourite chardonnay and enjoy a monster glass of it, with my feet up in the sun.
I don’t of course. It’s a passing fancy and it will be gone as quick as it arrived… in fact I really haven’t missed wine as much on this pregnancy at all. On my first pregnancy though, I really missed wine. I think partly because when you can’t have something you want it all the more. But also it was the longest I had gone without drinking since I began drinking and I found it really tough, as if it felt like I was going to be pregnant forever. This time around, I know there is an end in sight and I know that in a few short months I can enjoy a glass of wine again if I want to. Plus now more than ever, there is a huge amount of non alcoholic drinks to choose from.
But even still, there are times, like this week which has been pretty stressful so far, that I’d love a glass of vino.
I don’t think missing wine or a drink when pregnant is anything to feel guilty about, but being off the booze for seven months has made me think a lot about my own relationship with alcohol, specifically wine.
When I’m not pregnant (you’d swear I was pregnant all the time or something!) I’m the sort of person who doesn’t drink on a school night, but counts the hours until Friday rolls around, when it strikes ‘wine o’clock’ and I can open a bottle of wine and sit down and enjoy it. I share memes about 'wine o'clock'. I buy mugs with funny wine related slogans. I tell myself I deserve this glass of wine, as if it has become my reward for just getting through the week. For surviving motherhood and adult life! For dealing with toddler meltdowns, work deadlines, juggling a million and one things, being a taxi driver, a meal maker, a cleaner, a cook, a wife, and a mother with zero time for myself. I’ve earned this haven’t I?
I mean what’s wrong with sitting down at the end of a long, hard week and enjoying a big glass of wine?
I don’t think there is anything wrong with that in the world. If that’s how I choose to relax at the end of a week, then what about it?
But then I ask myself, is it really just that one big glass Niamh?
The answer, if I’m being brutally honest with myself, is no.
It’s not one glass, or even two… it’s a whole bottle. A whole bottle of wine over the evening by myself.
And maybe there is something wrong with that? Maybe that’s classed as binge drinking. Maybe I’m not as fresh on Saturday morning, even though I get up and go through the motions of ‘being mammy’ and do everything I need to do. And maybe it is harming someone… maybe it is harming me. Maybe over time this sort of sustained pattern of drinking will put me at a higher risk of cancer or other health conditions… not to mention the calories in the wine and of course when I have the wine I have the crisps and the nibbles too.
The other part of the equation is why am I treating wine as a reward? Why has it become an intrinsic part of my coping mechanism? Why is it sewn into the fabric of my week so tightly? Why do I feel I need it to de-stress and un-wind?
Because during this pregnancy I’ve faced huge stress. I went through a very difficult pregnancy scare with my possible circumvallate placenta diagnosis without being able to rely on the crutch of wine to help me cope and yet I managed. It has shown me that I can get through times of stress without using alcohol as my coping mechanism.
One the one hand I think, Jesus Niamh relax, you’re over analysing this and mums today have enough things to feel guilty about without adding ‘wine o’clock’ to the list. The last thing I need is another stick to beat myself with… daily mum guilt does that to me in spades anyway.
Also, I’m very much of the mantra these days that if I want to eat the cake, drink the wine and buy the shoes, then fuck it I’ll do it! After suffering with horrendous post-natal depression after my first baby was born, I have a new found respect for life and how fleeting it can be. Coming through something like that was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done and a huge part of me wants to make sure I enjoy my life to the full.
But still, something keeps niggling at me… if I continue to drink like this after my second baby is born, am I shortening my own life through the health implications? Cancer, obesity? Am I less of an effective parent the next day after ‘wine o’clock?’ even though I seem fine. Will I keep this up when my children are old enough to understand what mammy is drinking and why she’s doing it? What message will that send to them?
I don’t have the answers and I hate the idea of coming off sounding like the wine police because I would never judge any mum who, like me, enjoys wine o’clock… In fact I'd be the one saying chin, chin and raising a glass back to her...
For now what I know is that, yes I miss wine and yes I’m looking forward to a huge class in the days after I have my second baby, but will I continue to have as my weekly reward?
I don’t know…