Confessions of a Pregnant Wine Writer 

Just how much wine can one safely consume during pregnancy? That depends on how much you listen to the Sanctimommies.

Page 4 of 4

The next morning, my water broke, and by 8 p.m. that night, I had a daughter.


A couple of weeks ago, I told a close friend that I don't just love Willa — I really like her, too. The friend smiled politely but looked a little confused. Love, I get, said the look. But she's one. What's to like? I didn't know how to explain it without sounding like an annoying cliché. Still don't, in fact. So I'll skip the recounting of my goofy, heart-swelling devotion to this tiny willful person, except to say that of course — of course! — if I had to go nine months, or nine years, or the rest of my life without a glass of wine to ensure her well-being, I would. I also understand the argument that green-lighting moderate alcohol consumption in pregnancy might send a message that any amount of alcohol is okay, with potentially devastating results. But I'm just not convinced that the prohibitive nature of pregnancy in the modern age — what I recently saw referred to on as "bubble-wrapped pregnancy" — is always necessary or healthful.

I'd love to say that at the moment of Willa's birth, the joys of motherhood completely eclipsed my preoccupation with how much it's okay to drink, but that's not how it went. Because then came breastfeeding, and even more conflicting advice. Drink in moderation, don't drink, only drink with meals, pump and dump, drink right after she nurses, drink while she's nursing. ... Peter finally got so fed up with my ruminations on this issue that on New Year's Eve 2009, he bought breast milk test strips and stuck one into a bottle I'd pumped about an hour after having a glass of wine. It wasn't even a home glass, I swear, and yet it turned that little sucker pitch-black. As in: Don't even think about giving this to your baby.

Another New Year's Day, another virgin Bloody Mary.

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