virgin drinks

Sit down and pour yourself a refreshing beverage. I have some news. Our family is growing. And no, I don’t mean we’re getting a pygmy goat. Baby Githens arrives in mid-September! Today we found out that he’s a boy, something I’ve suspected for months now, yet suddenly it all seems so much more real.

For months, pregnant life has felt more or less normal. I cried in sad movies like usual. I ran. I craved chocolate. (Some studies say pregnant women who eat chocolate have babies who smile more. Seriously, look it up.) In other respects, the world was upside-down. Once the incurable night owl, I whimpered through the first trimester if I was up past 9:00 p.m. Sports bras suddenly had a supportive role in my workout beyond modesty. And babies pushed by in strollers at once had new relevance. Mom.

Baby Githens at 19 weeks

Beyond that flutter of nervous excitement though, motherhood was mostly an intellectual proposition. Telling myself and family and close friends “I’m pregnant” had the same feeling as telling someone “I’m allergic to peanuts” or “I’m catching the flu.” As in: I had a condition requiring naps and crackers and sudden aversions to fish. Picturing a human child inside me took serious mental gymnastics.

As I started prenatal yoga early in my pregnancy, I often eyed the full-bellied women in their final trimesters—these women clearly full with child, and me so full of uncertain curiosity. When the yoga instructor guided us into a final savasana, telling us to place one hand on our abdomens, and, if we chose, use that time to talk to our babies, it felt like make-believe. Baby? Are you in there? It’s hard to converse with a sea monkey you had seen on an ultrasound monitor only once.

virgin drinks

Baby Githens at 19 weeks

But somewhere between my last pair of work pants that failed to zip, the whisper of movement deep in my abdomen this Wednesday, and today’s OB/GYN glamour shots, I feel like we have officially met our son.

That’s cause for celebration. I’d like to tip back a small glass of champagne, but at the moment I’m settling for a cup of mint tea. Now in the second trimester, I’ll indulge in a glass of wine once a week, but most nights it’s still tap water or mineral water, and I can tell you, eventually plain seltzer water loses its fizz.

In this, the Year of the Dragon, judging by the parade of swelling bellies and baby announcements I’ve seen on Facebook (including my sister-in-law’s!), I’m hardly the only pregnant woman. Surely there are others who want a refreshing nightcap or spritzer without the booze. So I thought I would share a few tactics.

I had been meaning to try more elaborate mocktails—a ginger-spiked concoction from Heidi Swanson, a beverage flavored with Asian drinking vinegars recommended by a friend, any number of these nonalcoholic numbers from the Kitchn. But in the end, inertia had a hold of me. I wanted refreshment that was as simple as uncorking a bottle of wine or cracking open a beer.

This trio fits the bill.

  • Limonada: 3 tablespoons lime juice and 3 tablespoons simple syrup mixed with seltzer water. (To make a simple syrup, boil equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan, stir until the sugar has dissolved, then cool.)
  • Cranberry spritzer: Mix cranberry juice with seltzer water or ginger ale in your preferred ratio.
  • Raspberry spritzer: Float frozen raspberries in seltzer water. Add a twist of lime if you like.

Do you have any favorite virgin drinks? I’ll need new ideas for the next 20 weeks of pregnancy.

virgin drinks