Pregnant Pause: Faking It
February 16, 2009

So after the last Pregnant Pause post about food making me sick and now with this one being all about not drinking, you're probably asking, "Um, isn't this supposed to be a food blog?" It's a fair point, but I think you'd much rather read stuff like this instead of cooings about the purple unicorniness of pregnancy and how gestating is like sitting on a cloud of cotton candy. (Because it's not, and there are no unicorns, purple or otherwise.)

And even if you did prefer that, well, it's just not me. Well, it's not me now, but who knows what I'll be like after the little parasite is born.

By the by, "parasite" is my husband's word and before you get all pearl-clutchy or child protective services on me you have to understand two things: 1. he's a mathematician and likes to get scientific, and it is scientifically correct to say the baby is a parasite; and 2. the tone of voice he uses when saying "parasite" is very much in the vein of "Awww, the widdle parasite is making you vewy crabby!"

ANYWAY, the day after I found out I was pregnant, I had to fake it. Drinking, that is. We had three pre-planned gauntlets to run: a wine tasting, a wedding, and a birthday bowling party.

What started as a fruitless search for apples in Gold Country (an early frost killed off a lot of the crop earlier in the year) ended in a wine tasting at our friend's favorite local winery. Now all my friends know I adore wine, beer, and cocktails, so not wanting to raise inquisitive eyebrows and questions by opting out of the tasting completely, my husband and I shared our tasting with one another. While he actually tasted, I let the wine slap against my closed lips with nary a breach.

Apparently, we successfully fooled our friend -- she told me months later that she completely believed me when I talked about the "earthy overtones" and "dark berry flavors" in her favorite Barbera -- even though my husband was being way too obvious by staring at my mouth every time I took a "sip." (It's not that he didn't trust me, he was just trying to see how I was doing it.)

A few weeks later, I was at a friend's wedding and faced with a cocktail I created especially for the big day. This time, I upped my unbreachable lips game and added a glass swap with my husband. He'd gulp some of his cocktail, covertly hand me his half-full glass, and take possession of my totally full glass. Dinner was a sit-down affair with two wines. Inch by inch, I slid my full wine glasses toward my husband's plate and grab for his half-drunk glasses. Needless to say, I was the designated driver that night, and again, I fooled everyone.

Finally, at mine and my husband's birthday bowling party at Presidio Bowl -- a place known for its extensive beer menu and me known for my extensive beer love -- I performed the same party tricks but with far fewer opportunities for scrutiny. I just held the beer, put the beer down, walked away from the beer.

As much as I adored beer and wine and cocktails before my pregnancy, none of this faking it was that hard.

Why? Because my system was totally put off by the mere thought of any kind of booze. Later, my system upped the ante by making the smell of alcohol so unbearable that I even had my husband get rid of all leftovers from a Suppenküche dinner. The vinegar in the Salat mit Karotten, Kraut, Kartoffeln, Rote Beete und Kopfsalat smelled like an old German man was breathing on me after having seven beers and three schnapps, and I was having none of it.

It's fascinating how your body protects you.

Next time: are there any palatable non-alcoholic wines out there? I do the research for you.

Originally published at KQED's Bay Area Bites

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