Marianne comes from Scotland and recently had her first baby.
You feel the excitement of the positive pregnancy test, but it's early days and you don't want to share the news with everyone yet. There are many reasons why you might not want to share; some couples like to wait until the 12-week scan as there is a high rate of miscarriage before then (about 1 in 4 pregnancies), or you might want to wait for a promotion at work or similar. It should be your choice when to share your news!
One problem is how you follow the medical advice to avoid drinking without people guessing what's up. If your friends and family know you like a tipple or two, and you suddenly start refusing a glass of wine, are female and of childbearing age, and are married or in a long-term relationship, they may well put two and two together.
Here are some ideas to try and avoid letting on.
Hope No One Notices You Aren’t Drinking
Drink something that isn't alcohol and hope no one notices. How easy this is depends on the setting.
House Parties/Larger Gatherings
Most people won’t pay much attention to you at a large gathering, like a house party, or when out for drinks with lots of people or at a large event. Ideally, drink something like a coke or orange juice without the vodka, tonic without the gin, a "mocktail", whatever you fancy.
- Try not to run out of your drink so that other guests don't politely offer to fetch you another.
- If someone does get you an alcoholic drink, you can put your drink down somewhere and "forget" where it is.
Pubs and Bars
Pubs and bars can be more tricky, although remember that more often than not people won't be spending much time looking at what you are drinking. When I went out for a friend's birthday drinks, no one noticed that I only drank one orange juice and a couple of glasses of tap water. It does help if someone knows, though, as I had told one friend who fetched my drinks from the bar when ordering her whisky.
Make Friends With The Barman
Another option is to have a quiet word with the barman in advance, and ask them to surreptitiously serve you non alcoholic drinks.
When This Doesn't Work
There are some situations where these tactics won't work so well. If you are with a group of friends who like to buy rounds, it will be hard for people not to notice, so you might need an excuse.
Excuse 1: I’m Not Feeling Well
This was my excuse on a number of occasions, and it wasn't a lie. With morning sickness, the last thing I wanted when I met friends was a glass of wine.
Your friends might start to get a bit suspicious if you do this, though—or, if you do it a lot, they will worry about your health!
Excuse 2: Designated Driver
Saying that you need to drive or volunteering to be the designated driver is always a good option. You could also explain that you can't drink because you need to drive later to take your Granny to the doctors, or the supermarket (or whatever would be believable for your life).
Excuse 3: Antibiotics
This one is a bit of a cliche, but you could say you are on medication that means you can't drink.
However, this is not a good excuse to give to your close family members or best friends, because they might want to know more about what is wrong with you. This is a better excuse for people you know less well, because they won't (or at least shouldn't) press for details of the medication.
Excuse 4: Given Up
You could say you have given up alcohol.
For example, perhaps you are participating in "Dry January" or "Go sober for October", or you are doing it for Lent, or it is just some sort of personal challenge. You could also say it is a bet or detox.
Excuse 5: Diet
You are on some sort of diet where you aren't drinking. Most diets recommend you give up alcohol (or at the very least cut back).
Excuse 6: Hungover
You aren't drinking because you are hungover from a wild night the day before.
This one will work once with the same group of people, not all the time. Either that or people might start to worry you have a problem with alcohol.
Not An Excuse: You Don't Want To.
Stuff the excuses. You don't owe anyone an explanation for why you aren't drinking There are plenty of reasons why you might not drink apart from pregnancy, including that you just don't want to today. Societal pressure to drink can be very frustrating!
Not the End of the World if People Guess
Lastly, it is probably not worth getting too hung up on if people know or at least guess—you can't always stop people noticing things. Most of my colleagues had worked it out before I told them; they were just polite enough not to say anything.
What to Do If You Suspect a Friend Is Pregnant
If you suspect, it is best to keep your suspicions to yourself. (Or if you really can't help yourself and you know the person well, ask the person privately rather than spreading rumours.)
Guessing Someone is Pregnant
One time I went to stay with a fairly recently married friend and her husband. She cooked me a lovely meal as usual, except that the usual bottle of wine she would serve with a meal never appeared. She was also the designated driver when we went out. Therefore, I thought to myself that she might be pregnant. However, the right thing to do in this situation is to say nothing! A couple of months later, my friend announced her pregnancy when she was ready to.
Sometimes assumptions can be wrong, too. I once asked a friend of mine how an acquaintance's (lets call her Jane) wedding was. "Great," she said and then announced, "Jane's pregnant". My friend then elaborated by explaining she knew this not because Jane had told her, but because Jane wasn't drinking, so she must be. Except that I know for a fact that Jane wasn't pregnant. I ran into Jane's husband a couple of months after the wedding, and somehow it came up in conversation that they were trying to conceive. Jane was later expecting a baby, but she definitely wasn't during her wedding, and I think my friend was out of order spreading this rumour.
Farrah Young from Lagos, Nigeria on April 30, 2019:
These are great tips that should work in any sane situation. Sadly, I have a few nosy friends that would want to press to find out things.