After I got knocked up, I spent a lot of time contemplating the important issues of pregnancy. The stuff that really matters about parenthood.
You know, like:
But when will I get to go to New York now?
Why did I not lose my post-wedding weight before I got pregnant and even fatter?
When can I legitimately start drinking wine again?
Obviously I am being facetious. I worried – worry – about lots of things – what will I be like as a mother? Will I handle the pain of birth? How will this affect my friendships, my relationship, my family? What will happen at work? Will my baby be healthy? Will they be happy?
But at 19.5 weeks (yes, the bump has popped), with energy apparently flooding back to my veins and Christmas party season approaching, my thoughts have been turning to how a former party girl handles her new pregnant social life. I can’t help but be struck by how my life has changed inexorably – how my interactions with some friends is totally different now, how I’m often hit by the FMO (fear of missing out) – and I wonder whether I will ever go back to being the carefree, irresponsible wine-guzzler who stayed up til the cows came home that I once was. Let’s be realistic – I am still enjoying a glass or two of wine a week, and since I got my energy back I’m trying to reinvigorate my social life and still really enjoy hanging out with friends – but my life and my identity have changed from before and it is sometimes hard to get my head round that, especially when the lives of the people I love carry on the same as always.
After almost 4 months of sober partying (we can forget the first 4 or so weeks when I had no idea I was pregnant), I have realised a few things – positive and negative – about my new predicament. While I’m obviously not talking about a chilled out meal with friends which is as wonderful as before, I’m thinking about that Saturday night session that started with a pop of a cork and ended somewhere around 3am on the floor with a cigarette and a dance-off-cum-wrestle with your best mate. Here’s my guide to pregnant partying:
1. It is always nicer to have other pregnant women or breastfeeding mums around at parties – you can unashamedly have long conversations about hypno-birthing and maternity clothes, make that glass of champers or wine last an interminably long time, prepare each other interesting soft drink concoctions when others forget, and make yourself feel better about leaving early by doing it together.
2. But someone will almost always make a comment about the boring preggie women in the corner, or similar, not realising that you might be a little sensitive about your demotion from party girl to home girl….
3. While a temporary energy boost or spike in conversation can make you feel like you want to stay up for hours like you used to, it is ridiculously lovely (and novel) to leave before midnight, get in your jammies and read in bed with a cup of hot chocolate laughing about the night you’ve had. And remember it all afterwards.
4. Driving to parties, sipping on soft drinks and choosing to stay in more = a healthier bank account (just don’t waste it all on your new-found catalogue shopping fetish).
5. I may just be imagining it but I appear to have developed both a bump AND a waist, which (based on no medical evidence whatsoever) I am attributing to losing an alcohol-induced fatty waist dohnut.
6. There is nothing more satisfying than the smugness that comes with being up early on a Sunday, sans sore head, and having a productive day while your other half smells like a brewery and fails to make it off the sofa.
7. You often have better conversations while sober than you used to in the midst of a Saturday session. Before when I was in a party mood, I often didn’t want to have deep and meaningfuls, I wanted to laugh and joke and flitter about and dance. I just didn’t have the concentration span for long, in-depth conversations. But now I really enjoy one-to-one chats about life and love and happiness and other things I never used to talk about on a night out. I actually feel like I’m getting to know people better and its lovely.
8. After around 10.30pm, sessioners who have been necking wine will make poor conversation partners. They are unlikely to have the concentration or inclination to discuss anything in depth, and you may find conversation flitting manically between topics, jokes and wine spillages. While this can be funny for a while, at some point in the night you need to give up, declare your tiredness and head home to reconnect with your duvet and sheepskin slippers.
9. You can make up for the hobbies you’ve lost (namely binge drinking and chain smoking) by taking up new ones, and try to convince your party friends to join you even if it’s stuff you’ve never done together before. I’m enjoying cosy pub lunches and long walks, catalogue reading and online shopping, interior decorating, buying things to bake with (while putting off the actual baking bit), and husband-baiting.
10. Hungover people really do talk a lot of shit.