I Gave Up Caffeine And Alcohol, And Here's What Happened

by Ellen Hunter Gans
Originally Published: 
pregnancy caffeine alcohol
BrianAJackson / iStock

One of the many grand ironies of pregnancy is that the exact elements that make life easier (wine, lattes, brie cheese, sleep, dignity) are off limits when you’re knocked up, which is precisely when you need them most.

You know what adds insult to injury?

Hearing a man whining about how hard it is to live without caffeine and booze, after that same man gave up both elixirs of life voluntarily. I’m roughly a trillion months pregnant with baby No. 2, and I stumbled upon a post from a guy who swore off caffeine and alcohol for six months. He deemed this sacrifice worthy of sharing with the world.

From the self-righteous tone of his post, you’d think this fella spent six months licking bathroom floors on behalf of orphaned kittens.

In spite of how “incredibly challenging” it was for him, the Supreme Lord of Self-Discipline experienced a slew of benefits as a reward for his martyrdom, including:

– Clearer skin

– Enhanced energy

– Improved sleep

– Less bloating

– A generally more productive existence (apparently his weekend days used to be a bit sodden with hangovers)

I tip my hat to anyone who wants to improve his or her life, but this particular post wasn’t so much about life improvement as it was a validation-seeking whine-fest about monstrous personal sacrifice. Barf.

Guess what? I haven’t had a drop of caffeine and alcohol in more than seven months. And this isn’t even the first time I’ve taken on this mega-challenge.

You know what I have to show for it?

Swollen ankles and a mild but persistent hatred for everyone within 10 yards of me.

And that, my friends, is the tip of the iceberg. Side effects have also included:

– Rampant insomnia

– Widespread discomfort and a general lack of control over everything happening with my body

– A tenfold increase in the number of aesthetic comparisons to large mammals

– A magnetic field around me that attracts people who want to touch, poke, offer unsolicited advice, and say things like, “My, you’re round.”

– An unseen force that knows when I’m my most tired and cranky and whispers things in my toddler’s ear such as: “Pull all the flour out of the cabinet and make it snow in the kitchen,” and “Poop is a toy.”

Curiously, I also spent several months feeling incredibly hungover, in spite of not touching a single adult beverage.

It has been many years since I had to perform qualitative analysis for graduate school (shudder), but I’m pretty sure I can logically conclude the following:

1. All of this misery started when I gave up caffeine and alcohol.

2. Caffeine and alcohol must be the answer to my problems.

3. The Supreme Lord of Self-Discipline is a sanctimonious douchenozzle.

Maybe next, this guy can post about the acrobatics involved in trying to paint your toenails when your belly extends three feet in front of you.

To be fair, I gave up caffeine and alcohol voluntarily, too. I have always had to go through a whole shitstorm of trouble to get and stay pregnant and am acutely aware that all these mega-fun symptoms are, in fact, a privilege that I am very fortunate and grateful to be subjected to.

It’d just be easier to remind myself of that fact while drinking an extra large dark roast after eight hours of sleep with zero bathroom breaks.

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