Long before we even talked about having a baby, I knew that if/when I eventually became pregnant, not drinking was going to be the hardest part about keeping the pregnancy a secret through the first trimester. Let’s face it, I am not one to turn down a drink. Unfortunately, most social and work events include – or even revolve around – alcohol, it seems. Throw in the fact that D and I are in our early 30s and have been married for several years, and I feel like I’ve been on a perpetual “bump watch” with friends and family for some time now. Suffice to say, trying to sneak one by people would be pretty hard.
As soon as we got our positive pregnancy test, D and I agreed we wouldn’t tell people for a while, just because there are so many risks in the beginning and we didn’t want to have to “untell” everyone if something went wrong. Not to mention, I won’t have the chance to see both of my parents together in person until Thanksgiving and they should be some of the first to know.
Unfortunately, after a quick look at my calendar for October, I immediately realized this could be harder than I thought. October was jam-packed with events. While keeping the secret was a little bit stressful at first, I’m now sort of starting to enjoy the challenge in seeing how creative I can get in not drawing attention to the fact that I’m not drinking. I’m sure when I finally do spill the beans, someone is going to ask how far along I am, count back on their fingers, and say, “Hey, wait a minute, weren’t you drinking at ____?” Nope. Fooled you.
Challenge #1: Kelly’s birthday. Just two days after we found out we were pregnant, my friend Kelly was having a get together at a bar to celebrate her birthday. This bar only serves beer and wine, so I couldn’t even use the tried and true mocktail fallback. I did, however, discover that the bar sells non-alcoholic beer. I ordered directly from the bar and had them put it in a glass for me and no one was the wiser. The only hiccup I encountered was when someone asked me what I was drinking and I said, “Some kind of lager, I think? The bartender recommended it but I can’t remember what it was called.” Secret Score: A- (minus for claiming to not know what I was drinking, which was a lame excuse).
Challenge #2: Work conference with cocktail reception. A few days later, I had a conference to attend, which included a cocktail reception at the end of the day. I opted to just skip the reception portion, claiming that I had to get home to let the dogs out. Secret Score: B (minus for lying).
Challenge #3: Girls’ get together. The following weekend, a bunch of us went up north to see our friend and her new baby. I knew there would be drinks, and sure enough, it didn’t take long before the mimosas came out. I took a small sip but then put it down. I was coming down with a cold at the time, so I’m sure everyone assumed I didn’t drink because of that, and they didn’t ask if there was another reason. Knowing my friends, they totally would have asked if they had suspected anything. I got invited to go watch the Cougar game with them afterward, but declined that due to not feeling well (which was the truth). Secret Score: B (Even sick, I normally probably would have had some champagne and toughed it out to go watch the game after).
Challenge #4: Sounders’ game. The following Tuesday, we went to the Sounders’ game with my brother and sister-in-law, and two other friends. We had people over for drinks and BBQ before the game. D filled an empty beer bottle with water for me to carry around and drink. Once we got to the game, D got us each a beer, but I just held mine while he drank his, and every now and then we’d switch so mine wasn’t constantly full. I was designated driver, so I only “had one beer” at the game, anyway, and no one thought it was weird when I switched to water after halftime. Secret Score: A.
Challenge #5: Anniversary gift from boss. The day after the Sounders game, my boss and another coworker surprised me with a bottle of wine and some chocolates for my one-year anniversary with the company. I graciously accepted them and said thanks, but then he said if I wanted to open it later and share with the team, that would be fine. I panicked and mumbled something about how we’ll see how the day goes and then I just didn’t bring it up for the rest of the day. Yeah, it’s still sitting on my desk. The chocolates too, since I can’t stomach anything sweet right now. Secret Score: C-.
Challenge #6: Baby shower. The following Saturday, I had a baby shower to attend. I carpooled with two other friends since it was about an hour away and I also offered to drive. Once we got to the baby shower, there was (alcoholic) punch, mimosas and a self-serve Bloody Mary bar. Bloody Mary, minus the vodka? Don’t mind if I do! Bonus: got some healthy veggies in there too! I had two of those and then switched to water (I was driving, after all!). One friend even came up with a “drinking game” where we had to take a sip every time someone said “awww” or “how soft!” during gift opening. Man, that was some good tomato juice. 😉 Perhaps the best testament to my secret keeping is the fact that D had told one of his friends about the pregnancy, and that friend’s wife was at the shower. I didn’t know whether she knew, so neither of us said anything, but she mentioned to her husband that I was drinking, and he said something to D. Ha! I even threw off someone who was in on the secret. Secret Score: A+.
Challenge #7: Work function (at a bar). Just last week, there was another networking event to attend for work. I offered to drive another coworker (he and I live in the same area and he usually drives for work events, so I told him it was time to return the favor). We went out for a bite to eat beforehand and he ordered a glass of wine. Crap. I ordered water and claimed I was a lightweight and saving up my drinking for the actual event, since I was driving. Once we got to the event, I ordered a vodka soda (coworker was right behind me so I couldn’t get away with ordering something nonalcoholic) and then a few minutes later, excused myself to the restroom, left my drink in there, and ordered a regular club soda with lime from the other end of the bar before joining up with my coworker again in talking to some people. Isn’t it nice how much a club soda with lime looks like a vodka soda when you put it in a short glass? Secret Score: A- (minus for the lame excuse at dinner ahead of time).
Challenge #8: Halloween. Last weekend our friends threw their annual Halloween party. Similar to our Sounders’ game tactic, D and I each got a beer and I held mine while he drank his, and then we switched off every now and then so mine wouldn’t always be full. And of course, I was driving, so I could only have a couple, anyway. Secret Score: A.
Challenge #9: Post-game drinks. We’re doing a flag football league and had a game last Sunday, the day after the Halloween party. We always go out for beer and nachos at a nearby bar after every game. I poured myself a beer but sat next to D and kept my glass very close to his. Sometimes he reached for his and sometimes he reached for mine. Either way, he drank two and I drank none, and no one was the wiser. Secret Score: A.
So, October was mostly a success, but I’m not out of the woods yet. We still have 3 weeks to go before we plan to tell friends and family, and 4 weeks until I plan to tell work. I still could be outed at an upcoming event. In particular, I’m worried about a sit-down dinner I have to go to for work in two weeks. Not being able to order from the bar on my own will make things tricky. I think so far my plan is to go ahead and order a glass of wine, but just not drink it. Hopefully there will be enough on the table and enough conversation happening that no one will be paying close attention to whether or not my glass is emptying. If someone does say something, maybe I’ll just say I wasn’t crazy about their wine selection or something. Who knows. At least by that point, we’ll be past our first ultrasound, so the chances of something going wrong will be dramatically decreased, and we’ll be just 2 weeks away from spilling the beans altogether. I doubt anyone at work would outright ask me, but if they secretly get suspicious, I won’t be too worried about it at that point.