Dear Men: You Need To Give Up Drinking While Your Partner Is Pregnant
This month celebrity personal trainer Sam Wood told his Instagram followers that he chose to give up alcohol as soon as his wife Snezana became pregnant with their second child.
Sam’s act of support garnered much media attention and it got me thinking about why so many of us don’t ask our partners to do the same.
His announcement is especially pertinent during Dry July when if your friends are anything like mine, they are flooding your Facebook feed with their noble posts of abstinence and fundraising.
For many adult Australians, just one single month free from alcohol seems like a challenge. According to statistics from the Dry July Foundation the average Australian household spends over $32 each week on alcohol alone.
Our connection to booze as a relaxing, social substance consumed almost daily in Australia is a strong one.
When I fell pregnant with my first son in 2010 I was of course over the moon, but giving up alcohol felt embarrassingly hard.
READ MORE: What Comes After Dry July?
What was even harder, especially in those earlier weeks and months when I felt nauseous and tired, was my husband still enjoying social drinks and essentially carrying on ‘as normal’.
I cannot lie that it upset me at times, even though I felt it would be unreasonable to ask him to stop. But why?
The health benefits for men and women who stop drinking alcohol are well known, as further statistics on the Dry July Foundation website prove.
During just five weeks of consuming zero alcohol you can expect to sleep better, enhance your work performance, improve your liver health and lose weight. Not to mention the financial benefits.
Now imagine how healthy, wealthy and wise couples would feel for going dry together over a nine-month period or more?
I have two sons, yet I have been pregnant five times, suffering three miscarriages at around the 12-week mark.
The time it took trying to get pregnant, being pregnant and then breastfeeding, means I have been alcohol free for approximately three years during the last 10 years of my life.
And honestly, I didn’t enjoy being pregnant all that much.
I was nauseous, anxious and often cranky. At times I had a sore back, hips and breasts and I put on a whole lot of weight that was really hard to lose.
Physically and emotionally the effort involved in bringing new humans into the world is huge.
The partners or co-creators in that magnificent process really don’t have to do much at all in the early stages, so surely the least they could do is follow Sam’s example and give up the booze?
I remember feeling quite resentful at times as I was the tired and grumpy, sober driver after nights out. It caused friction in our relationship that suddenly our ‘equal’ partnership felt a whole lot less equal and alcohol had played its part.
Even a week-night or at-home ban on alcohol consumption would have gone a long way when it came to solidarity as an expectant couple.
READ MORE: How To Find Your Perfect Partner
There are so many other ways for partners to be social and have fun and I think sometimes we forget, especially after a lifetime of enjoying alcohol to relax and connect.
Instead of one-half of the partnership boozing and the other half feeling resentful, couples could use some of that time to learn something new. Especially throughout that first pregnancy when you still have time in the evening without any kids at home.
Take evening yoga classes, go to the movies and just hang out sober like Sam and Snez obviously do, during what is a really unique period of your lives.
I think it is time that pregnant women got together and demanded more of their partners. Giving up alcohol for at least some of the time, is a great way to start the parenting journey as a united force.
Goodness knows once you have a couple of young kids to look after, you might just appreciate that Friday night wine together even more.