Wow! You’re having a baby, congratulations! What have you done to get ready? Where do…
If you’re a woman of a certain age, you probably know the look.
You head along to dinner or a catch up, and while others might be having a wine or a cocktail, you opt for a water or a soft drink. No matter if you’re long-term single or firmly coupled up, it’s enough to raise eyebrows, and one question silently lingers: is she expecting?
In Australia, alcohol is very present at certain events and at particular times of the year. It can be something that’s tough enough to navigate as it is, but even more so for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
That’s why the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education (FARE) launched the Pregnant Pause campaign, supporting mums-to-be to go alcohol-free.
“We have this society in Australia where people are told and encouraged to drink if they’re having a good day, drink if they’re having a bad day, drink to commiserate, drink to celebrate.
“It can then be hard when women are pregnant to say no to alcohol because of all of these pressures,” says FARE CEO, Caterina Giorgi.
“We’ve heard from women that their decision not to drink while they’re pregnant is tested at so many different points during their pregnancy. So many people bring so many different opinions. But the clear message that we have from Australia’s alcohol guidelines is that alcohol should not be consumed during pregnancy. There is no safe amount, no safe time and no safe type of alcohol during pregnancy. We need to create environments where people feel supported to avoid alcohol during pregnancy.”
Even as someone who works in alcohol research and education, Caterina, who is a mum of a five-year-old daughter, knows what it’s like to feel that pressure.
“I had an experience just at Christmas where I sat down at the kitchen table of a family member. It had been a really busy day, and I’d just finished up work for the year. I went to have a glass of water and within about 30 seconds, the family member turned to me and went, ‘are you pregnant?’,” she says.
“I think there’s this whole notion that you couldn’t possibly be not having an alcoholic drink over that time of year without having a reason not to.”
“One thing we can do as a supporting village is to not question people’s decision to not drink alcohol, or to make sure that we’ve got a range of drinks available, including non-alcoholic drinks. Because there shouldn’t be an assumption that people will drink alcohol. There are an increasing number of people who are choosing not to drink alcohol or to cut back on their drinking.”
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a baby, so Pregnant Pause has drawn together a range of Community Heroes–local business and service providers–to build a village of support for Canberra women and mums-to-be to achieve alcohol-free pregnancies and feel supported in their parenting journey. And you can hear from some of these community heroes, and meet other like-minded people, at FARE’s upcoming Meet The Village event on Friday 18 June.
While previous Pregnant Pause events had to be held virtually because of you-know-what, this will be their first in-person event, and the first time everyone gets to come together in the same room.
Head along to the free event for a cuppa and a bite, and hear from a diverse panel of women about their experiences of life, pregnancy, motherhood, and who makes up their ‘village’.
“The event is going to be a celebration of our village, which is really exciting. We’re all going to come together, and hear from some community heroes, who are going to be talking about the Pregnant Pause campaign and why it’s important to them,” says Caterina.
The event will be emceed by Kirstie Clements, who is a best-selling author, journalist, and former editor-in-chief of Vogue Australia, and is a current Director at FARE.
Panellists include Community Services #1 CEO Amanda Tobler; ex-Olympian and owner of local gym, Galvanized Fitness Felicity Galvez, and local mum who launched online marketplace What the Mama, Robyn-Leigh Gordon.
Whether you’re newly pregnant, or five kids deep into the parenting gig, the event has a little something for everyone, and is also a great way to meet other like-minded people so you can help build up your very own village.
What: Meet The Village, an event by Pregnant Pause – the campaign supporting Canberra mums-to-be to go alcohol-free.
Where: Griffith Hall, 53 Stuart Street, Griffith
When: Friday 18 June, 4 pm-5.30 pm
Web: Tickets are free. Click here to register for your ticket