If there was a pregnancy Academy Awards, I like to think I would win an Oscar for my performance in the first trimester, specifically in the category of “fake drinking”. I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge drinker in the first place, but I’m unlikely to forego the opportunity when the occasion presents itself. This was immediately an issue as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I was about to leave the next day for an annual work conference where there would be plenty of drinking going on in the evenings. I understand that consuming alcohol while pregnant is typically frowned upon by the general population so I definitely wanted to avoid it but there’s no way I wanted my coworkers finding out what was going on so soon!
I took to Google and searched all kinds of message boards on how to hide your pregnancy. It seemed like the best option would be to fool people into thinking I was drinking rather than out myself by announcing that I wasn’t drinking for some lame reason. I read that holding a dark colored beer bottle would somewhat disguise the contents of the bottle and I could possibly get away with not actually drinking out of it or pouring some beer out at inconspicuous moments. So that’s exactly what I did for the whole week, and you know what? It worked like a charm. Not without plenty of internal paranoia going on but just hanging around holding a bottle seemed to satisfy everyone that I was still participating. I banked on the fact that most people would be more interested in their own drinks than monitoring mine and it totally worked out that way. Luckily, some people were still being strict with their New Year’s diets at the time and avoiding alcohol as well so I stuck with them. When most people were heading up to the hospitality suite at the end of each day to party on, the dieters and I would turn in early for the night. No one was the wiser.
I felt extremely victorious after that first test of my acting skills but that was just the first week. I had many more weeks to go and plenty of other opportunities to blow it. The very next weekend I went to a wedding and pulled the same tricks without notice. Then there was a super bowl party, a weekend trip with friends including a brewery tour, a team dinner including wine for the whole table and a birthday party with mimosas. I did my best to pretend to drink on each occasion although we did end up telling some close friends and immediate family during the first trimester so we could relax around them. For the most part, I always accepted the drink, held it, moved it around, lifted it to my lips or smelled it, and no one seemed to notice that I wasn’t actually drinking. I convinced myself that if I could just stay calm and act relaxed, no one would catch on. It was a great tactic and totally worth it to me to protect my privacy. Plenty of people got a good laugh after I made my news public and they recalled all the times that I fooled them. I really think fake drinking was the reason I was able to hide my pregnancy until I was ready to tell.