Dear Sober Mom,
So I am just over a year sober and I feel great. I rarely have urges. I’ve managed to repair a good chunk of the damage that I did while drinking and things are good. The quandary I’m facing is that I got pregnant when I was six months sober. It was unexpected but not unwelcome news. I’m due next month. Even in active addiction, I didn’t have much trouble staying sober during my two previous pregnancies. I’m worried that this period of ‘everything is easy’ will come to a halt once my body is not the home to another person.
I recognize that I will need to be even more vigilant and aware once the baby is born. I know that the stress of a newborn will be an easy excuse to fall back into old habits. My concern is how do I explain to my family that when the baby comes I want to limit my exposure to alcohol again. Since getting pregnant I have been really lax about people drinking around me because it doesn’t tempt me while I’m pregnant. My family seems to have really enjoyed the fact that I haven’t cared because they have taken to drinking around me all the time.
How do I explain that once I am no longer pregnant that I don’t know if I’ll have the same level of resolve and I don’t want to test myself? Not being around alcohol at all is something that I did when I was newly sober-is it weird to ask for that again when I’m over a year?
Congratulations on the new baby! This is an exciting time for you and your family. It’s also a time where, as mamas, we start thinking about what we need for baby. As mamas in recovery, that list includes things more than just diapers, wipes and crib sheets. I’m so glad you are starting to think ahead about what you will need once the baby arrives.
First I want to say that it is never weird or wrong to ask for what you need. Never. It is a huge sign self-awareness and strength that you are able to vocalize that. Saying “I’m uncomfortable with this and I’d like to ask for your help and support” is not only not weird, it’s amazing. You know yourself, your strengths and your potential weaknesses. That in itself is a lot to be proud of. I’d like to remind you that you are doing this eight months pregnant which frankly is a time I was losing my damn mind with all those hormones. You are a rockstar. Don’t discount that.
You are smart to remember the stress of a newborn and the challenges that it can bring to your recovery.
Hormones, stress, and family dynamic changes can all make for some tense moments.
Asking people for what you need—to not drink around you—is your right. It is a way for you to set safe boundaries for yourself and your family. It’s self-care in its highest form. There is nothing weird or shameful about asking for what you need.
Making it clear to your family and friends that you feel most supported when they respect your request not to drink around you is huge. This isn’t a judgment on their drinking, it’s about you setting clear boundaries on what makes you feel safe. Only you decide what you are okay with, what you can tolerate and what is unacceptable for you.
Whether you are pregnant, newly sober or decades in recovery, it is always okay to ask for what you need to feel supported by those around you. Congratulations again and I wish you the very best!