One morning in November 2009, I woke up after yet another drunken fight and told my husband I wanted to get help. He left anyway, and returned hours later only under the condition that I would indeed seek help for my drinking, and for the destructive behavior it caused. It took me months to get my issues with alcohol under control (total abstinence was the final outcome), and a lot of work to reconnect with him as "sober me." Though this was the greatest struggle of my life thus far, I'm forever thankful that it all went down exactly when it did.
By January 2010, after 18 months of marriage, we made the decision to start working on a family. I had tossed my birth control pills months prior, but there had been no accidents. The fact that both getting sober and getting down to babymaking business were happening at once was no coincidence. Of course, the idea that I would have to abstain from alcohol during 40 weeks of pregnancy was definitely appealing. Admitting that I simply could not drink responsibly (or that I was "powerless over alcohol," in 12-step speak), was the push I needed to understand that enough was enough. If I wanted to get pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy and be the mom I'd always dreamed of being, I would need to quit cold turkey. Is There A Perfect Time To Get Pregnant?
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Once I made this decision, I shared the news with my always supportive partner. It was definitely one of those straight-out-of-television moments, where birds chirp as you shift your eyes around the room and say, "So now what?"
How do you reconnect after going sober? Figuring out what to do on a Friday—when you're in your 20s and suddenly don't drink—isn't easy. There were lots of Netflix deliveries, one never-completed world puzzle and many homemade pizzas. As it turns out, Project Make a Baby was a perfect activity for our new lifestyle. Temping, charting and peeing on sticks kept me busy, while "Oh, honey... come up here," certainly kept him entertained.
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Now that I'm 16 months into sobriety, and 10 weeks away from my due date, I'm proud to report that, after a lot of work and no less than four million tears, we have firmly established our relationship within our new roles as "wife who doesn't drink" and "husband who drinks responsibly." And while we're not there just yet, it certainly feels like a year of quiet evenings on the couch and calm date nights with an assigned designated driver have been good practice for a life as mom and dad. The amount of time that goes into feeding an unhealthy addiction would not mesh well with the time needed to care for a newborn, let alone 18+ years of 'round-the-clock parenting. Will I Fit In As The Sober Mom?
Call it excellent decision making, great timing or pure luck, but the shit hit the fan right on schedule, saving my marriage from going to a bad, bad place and setting us on the path toward starting our family.