There’s something about the “wine mom” memes and Pinterest posts that have always made me uncomfortable. As an addiction specialist and a postpartum specialist, I have been curious about the intersection for some time.
In fact, a recent op-ed on CNN looks at the coinciding rise of the “wine mom” in popular culture and a rise in high-risk and problem drinking. And a recently published study in JAMA Psychiatry tracks a rise of 83.7% in problem drinking in women between 2002 and 2013. That’s a lot!
For more explanation, I recommend having a read here.
As I say this, I will fully admit that sharing a glass of wine with a baby group after my first was born brought me a lot of joy. I serve wine and beer at my children’s birthday parties. For me, the author’s suggestion that your children should never see you drink goes too far. I think children can and should see responsible and occasional drinking role-modeled in a healthy way. But that’s just me and my family. Each family should have to opportunity to thoughtfully decide for themselves.
In any case, I’m so glad recent research is bringing some questions to light about the rise in problem drinking, especially among women of child-bearing years.
Recent research on problem drinking in women
In the op-ed, Elissa Strauss writes:
“Although being a wine mom doesn’t necessarily mean one has a drinking problem, the cultural phenomenon has taken off at a time in which alcohol use has spiked among women.
“A recent study in JAMA Psychiatry found that between 2002 and 2013, “high-risk drinking,” defined as consuming four or more drinks a day, rose among women by 58%, compared with a 29.9% rise for the general population.
“Problem drinking,” or drinking so much that it causes significant problems in your life and/or the inability to stop drinking, rose by 83.7% among women during this period, says the study, compared with a 50% rise in the general population.
“Though there is no research looking at how much the wine mom phenomenon has contributed to the change in drinking habits, experts believe there is a connection.” (Strauss, CNN, 11.1.17)
My take? Let’s just start a conversation! If you enjoy your drinking, please continue. If you, or anyone close to you has concerns about it, let’s talk. And my approach is just that, just talking. I don’t have all the answers about drinking and I think each adult I see is smart enough to make their own choices. In therapy, I just hold space for a judgment-free exploration. My clients usually feel empowered to make their own choices, and motivated to stick with them.
With this in mind, reach out! If you are in San Diego and this approach appeals to you, contact me. You can give me a call at 619-289-7818, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, to schedule a consultation.