Dear Margo: To Love Versus “Being in Love”

Margo Howard’s advice

To Love Versus “Being in Love”

Dear Readers: I was recently in the UK for a wedding. (It was my son’s, actually.) I was so impressed by what the Rev. Ben Bentham said to the couple standing before him that I asked for the text of his wedding blessing sermon. Some of his references were secular, if not entertaining, which was surprising to this American, because this, after all, was a Church of England ceremony. One portion in particular had resonance for me because it touched on a topic I am often asked about. Usually, the question is framed this way: “I love him, but I am not in love with him.” To be truthful, this declaration makes me want to scream. To all of you who have asked, or plan to, here is what the vicar of Sissinghurst has to say on the subject:

“In the film ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,’ Captain Corelli and a Greek girl, Pelagia, have, as Americans might put it, ‘made out,’ and Pelagia’s father says this to her: ‘When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roles have been so entwined that it’s inconceivable you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, not excitement, not a desire to mate every second of the day; it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. That is just being in love, which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left when being in love has burned away.’

“He’s talking sense. The reality is that love burns like a furnace for a while, but then settles, and then it has to be worked at. The romantic and sexual love described in The Song of Solomon has to grow up, to be adult. There is no future in being ‘in love.’ You have to learn to love. And unfortunately, our cultures seem to have not the slightest shred of maturity when it comes to that. Love in the media is all the burning fire, when what is needed are the strength and wisdom to go beyond being in love to loving.”

In other words, being “in love” is unsustainable. Amen to that.

Reason Vs. Rules

Dear Margo: It’s pretty well accepted, medically, that pregnant women should not drink alcoholic beverages. I have even been told aspirin is verboten. My general philosophy is that “everything in moderation” extends to pregnancy, as well. I am three months pregnant, and we were out with another couple, and I had a glass of wine. I thought the other woman would become apoplectic. She lectured me about fetal alcohol syndrome! I did not order a second glass, nor would I have. What are your thoughts? — Expectant Mother

Dear Ex: I am not a doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV, but I will say this: The thinking about alcohol and pregnancy has changed over the past 50 years. When I was pregnant, “in the olden days,” I drank, smoked and took aspirin. My kids were perfectly fine.

The current thinking is that it’s best to avoid alcohol, though I do know women, like yourself, who have an occasional glass of wine, and I have never felt alarmed on their behalf. To fulfill your companion’s fears about fetal alcohol syndrome you would have to be hammered every day of your pregnancy. The second trimester is thought to be a particularly susceptible time, during which the baby can suffer adverse effects from the mother’s intake of certain things. A good rule to follow is to take as little medicine as possible during pregnancy, and of course, ask your doctor. — Margo, sensibly

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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64 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Artemesia says:

    The discussion of love may be wise looking back as I do at a 40 plus year marriage (and counting) but the saddest people are those who talk themselves into marriage when they aren’t in love reasoning that ‘marriage is work’ and we love but aren’t in love. THis is almost always a rationalization for a relationship that should not be. Yes infatuation is not enough — but if people are not unquestionably in love at some early point then odds are they will eventually regret the union. You shouldn’t talk yourself into marriage and love as if it were a good sturdy serviceable coat. You will eventually hate wearing it if you do.

    • avatar Aurora11 says:

      Go Artemesia!!  So well-said! 

    • avatar Pecan Pie says:

      I like what you said. There should be both components – feelings and rationality, the excitement and the checklist. Not both at 100% every day, but on the day of the marriage if both people aren’t feeling in love AND having good rational evidence that the other person is worthy of respect, honest, mature, etc., there’s something wrong.

      I talked myself into a “marriage is work” to please my family and culture to a nice and respectable man who was not at all in love with me. I suppose if we weren’t Americans, maybe we could have made the marriage work in a traditional way – that is, he would have provided for me and treated me kindly while discreetly seeking more on the side, and I would have had several children to bestow my love and time upon. Maybe that’s a better way to live than marrying for love and getting divorced. Having the opportunity, I got the divorce anyway. I will still look for someone who is a good person, but I will not say yes unless he is in love with me on top of that.

    • avatar dcarpend says:

      I’m with you. I’ve been with my husband for 23 years. I suspected on the first date that he was the man for me, and it was because of a perfect balance of both — the sexual chemistry was strong, but also I knew I could tell him anything, and that I couldn’t imagine him doing anything mean or shabby or ugly or dishonest. 23 years later, he has never disappointed me; he really is as good a guy as I thought.

      Too, very quickly we found we didn’t know which we wanted to do more, have sex or talk to each other. That’s a very nice place to be. I still like having sex with him, and he’s still the person I most like to talk to.

  2. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    Thanks Margo on sharing the vicar’s sermon. 

    LW#2:  I’m not a doctor either so I think Margo’s advice to consult your doctor is the best advice anyone could give you but…I’m pretty tired of the pregnancy police.  My mother was actually prescribed diet pills (which in the 1950’s were basically speed) when she was pregnant with me…although when they made her too jittery she stopped after a few days.   She didn’ smoke or drink during her pregnancies and even made my dad smoke outside the entire 9 months because the smell made her sick.  She had natural childbirth in an era when they gave mothers ether and the babies came out blue.  That did not prevent her third child from being born with developmental disabilities of unknown origin.    My sister, when pregnant back in the 70’s occasionally had a glass of wine (like no more than once a month)  and smoked probably 4-5 cigarettes a day and all 4 of her children are fine.  All of that said, my nieces have followed all the rules and abstained from everything while pregnant and maybe it is just me…but I think kids today seem brighter than I recall them in earlier years so maybe there is something to the abstaining.  

    Still…I don’t think it was your friend’s place to chastise you for having one glass of wine.  I suspect even doctor’s opinions differ on the issue of having an occasional glass of wine or even an occasional cigarette while pregnant.  Consult your doctor and do as she or he says and if  challenged in the future say *I’ve cleared it with my doctor*.


    • avatar luna midden says:

      A LOT of medical sites, DRs, etc. will say ‘NO ALCOHOL INTAKE is safe during pregnancy-because the amt. to cause FAS is UNKNOWN. When I was pregnant-kids over 10, my ob/gyns- told me a glass of red wine once or twice a WEEK was okay-good stress reliever. (I was very anxious and rarely drank before being pregnant).  I was out at a bridal shower though, ordered an unsweetened Ice Tea and the waitress said ‘we have things without CAFFIENE. ‘
      Being a diabetic, my choices were very limited, and I did not want CLUB SODA, or Water…
      AND I felt that the waitress was being very rude… I wonder what would have happened if I did order a glass of wine???

      As for ONE GLASS causing FAS, how can a DR. KNOW the patient is telling the truth?? I smoked YEARS ago, and I BS’ed about that… ‘only a few, half a pack’… while it was a pack. pack and a half…. but, non smokers could tell, BY THE SMELL! With alcohol, unless someone just drank it, you MIGHT get a slight oder on their breath… MIGHT… How would you know if someone was having a glass or two or the whole bottle while sitting at home?? The liquor store-the woman, if questioned could just say they were buying for  the rest of the house…. and go to different stores.. and hide the bottles in the trash… alcoholics do it all the time (mother was an alcoholic). So, I would have a hard time with one glass, 2, 3 with FAS. Drs. researches are not going to get an accurate study on that because are pregnant women going to tell the absolute truth???

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        Physicians & nurses always multiply what you say you smoke or drink. 🙂
        They now give micropreemies caffeine via an IV to get them to thrive.

  3. avatar Eventergirl says:

    My doctor put it this way when I was pregnant. Fetal alcohol syndrome is still a mystery to doctors. There is no “safe” amount of alcohol. Some people can go out and get drunk every night of their pregnancy and have no problems. Some people have one glass of wine their entire pregnancy and their baby is born with FAS. So why risk it?

    And for all those that say “well MY mother smoked/drank/did meth/etc etc and I turned out fine so it must be okay”: remember, many kids DIDN’T turn out okay which is how we know these things are bad. People drive every day without their seat belts on and are fine but that doesn’t make it smart or safe.

    • avatar judgingamy says:

      Has their truly been any cases where the mother had ONE glass of wine and her baby was born with FAS? I’m calling bull on that one. There might be a case of FAS where the mother SAID she only had one glass of wine throughout her pregnancy, but how would we know? Likely the mother isn’t going to say, well you know I did get trashed every weekend the entire duration, oopsie!

      I agree with you that there is no defined “safe” level of drinking, but I challenge you to come up with any hard evidence that one glass of wine total caused FAS for anyone. And if your doctor is the one who told you that, he was probably using hyperbole to get you to understand that there isn’t a preset amount to drink to avoid FAS.

      • avatar E4rthmoth3r says:

        So to get the evidence of just 1 glass of wine causing FAS…you’d have to get a pregnant woman to stay in a lab her entire pregnancy. Deliberately feed her 1 glass of wine. Track that child through adolescence to see if any behaviors showed up that may be linked to alcohol use in pregnancy. Why do any of that when we know alcohol DOES cause birth defects just not how much alcohol and when…

  4. avatar Donna Sampson says:

    lw2….I personally feel that the mother shouldn’t take risks with the baby’s health. Drinking/smoking/etc while pregnant is a gamble. You might come out fine, and you might not. Put yourself in your baby’s place. Would you want YOUR mother gambling with YOUR health? Why take a risk of the baby’s health for a moment of your pleasure? Drinking alcohol is only for your pleasure, not for your health. It appears the mother to be is only thinking of herself and got tiffed because someone called her on it.

    • avatar dcarpend says:

      Actually, there is considerable evidence that alcohol in moderation is, indeed, good for health.

  5. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #2: If you’d showed signs of “going on a bender,” I could understand the other lady’s reaction. I don’t blame her for saying *something* — but you seem to indicate she really overreacted. I work in the medical field and doubt an occasional (and just ONE, per FEW occasions) glass of wine will harm an unborn child. There’s this trend nowadays to go completely off the deep-end in the opposite direction; 150 years ago it was cool to slaughter buffalo and today it’s capital murder to step on an ant (even if accidentally). We humans have an unfortunate tendency to go to ridiculous extremes. Next time simply “stop the lecture,” say “I’m just having this one.” If other party tries to pursue the issue, remind them you’re a responsible adult.

    • avatar Priscilla L says:

      150 years ago, the US government instituted a policy of promoting the slaughter of buffalo for a very specific reason: they wanted to destroy the food supplies of Native American people, to make it easier to starve those people into submission. This was part of a long-term attempted genocide that cost many human lives and led almost to the extinction of the American bison.

  6. avatar Karin Smith says:

    LW2: Some things are perfectly fine to have in moderation during pregnancy; I didn’t completely eliminate caffeine from my intake during my pregnancies, but I did cut it back to one drink a day. However, some things are NOT good to have at all; to my understanding, the reason why aspirin is verboten during pregnancy is that it also acts like a blood thinner, which can mess with the blood flow to the baby. I believe that other OTC pain medication is okay (although I recall something about acetaminophen being preferable to ibuprofen).

    As for the wine, I agree that it was extremely tacky for the woman to get so upset at you; however, I would suggest asking your doctor about the occasional alcoholic beverage during pregnancy. S/he will be able to give you medically accurate information as to why it is or is not okay to drink occasionally; that way, you’ll be getting advice from a professional instead of other mothers, self-appointed “experts”, or even… ahem… commentors on an advice column! 🙂

  7. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Margo, no truer words were ever spoken. He has said something that is not only true, but was said in the most beautiful manner I have ever heard it displayed.

    Rev. Bentham…..Amen!

    Letter #1 – Isn’t it curious that women don’t want anyone to tell them what they can and can’t do with a baby growing inside them. They don’t want to be told what to do once it is born. But……as we have learned for so many years by millions of women, if financial or medical support is needed….THEN taxpayers are EXPECTED to step in and pay up without question.

    “If I want to abort this life growing inside me, it’s my body…..”

    “If I want to drink, smoke or rock climb while pregnant, it’s my body….”

    “And if my child is born with complications because of decisions I made when pregnant and I require costly medical attention or hospitalization….so what?”

    It’s pretty pathetic that this letter writer doesn’t have the restraint to forgo alcohol for 9 months. I can only imagine what she will do once she is breast feeding? Her poor little baby and poor us, because WE will be the ones to pay for her drinks, and that tab is going to be a really big one!

    • avatar teresa harris says:

      Uh, if she wants to have a glass of wine and breastfeed all she has to do is a pump and dump. Not a big deal. Are you seriously equating a single glass of wine with crack? WTF?

      • avatar judgingamy says:

        Yes Teresa- a woman having one glass of wine while pregnant is obviously an indicator that she’s not only an alcoholic but also requiring public assistance…because clearly, ONLY poor people who abuse welfare programs drink and smoke. You’ll never find a rich, self supporting alcoholic.

        • avatar JCF4612 says:

          Teresa and judgingamy — Ha! You got it. Meanwhile, Belinda Joy, what meds are on this fine morning? Please see your shrink for an adjustment before you blame the world’s economic woes on a glass of wine while pregnant.  

          • avatar Belinda Joy says:

            You’re right….silly me.

            There’s nothing wrong with a pregnant woman drinking alcohol while pregnant, that’s why you see SO MANY doing it out in public all over the country…..

            Wait….you don’t. Hmmmmm….I wonder why women DON’T think its a good idea to drink while pregnant and while breast feeding?

    • avatar bleeble says:

      This is fantastic. 9/10 for trolling, because that abortion comment just came out of nowhere and has nothing to do with what anyone else is talking about. Pure, unadulterated flamebait there. You lost a point when no one took your obvious baiting, but at least you tried.

      Keep up the good work!

  8. avatar Brooke Schubert says:

    Firstly, that wedding sermon is superb and completely true.  It’s amazing how many people think that the initial rush of new love should last forever and when it doesn’t, that the relationship must be over.  My mom told me once that there were several times in her marriage where she knew she had fallen out of love with my dad, but that she held on because she knew they’d work on it and it would get better.  Not every relationship can be saved with time and effort, but most can if both sides keep working on it.

    LW#2-Quite frankly, it’s nobody’s business what you do and all you had to tell your friend is that you’ve discussed it with your doctor and a small amount of wine on rare occasions is fine.  I know that there are all sorts of conflicting data out there regarding what pregnant women should and should not do and those lists change daily, but in the end you have to decide with your doctor what is best for you and your pregnancy.

  9. avatar Debi_B says:

    I read Margo every day and I never comment, but I couldn’t help myself today. I agree with those who are sick to death of the Pregnancy Police.

    In Ireland, drinking a pint of Guiness is the traditional remedy for low milk flow. And although the AMA warns American women not to eat raw fish during pregnancy, guess what food is a staple of a Japanese diet, including pregnant women? And then there are the Italian and French cultures, where a pregnant woman would presumably think you were off your rocker if you lectured her about wine during pregnancy.

    My point is, adopting a policy of staying out of other people’s business is the civilized thing to do. To lecture a pregnant woman – or any woman – on a glass of wine is the height of conceit and intrusiveness, and personally I would have replied harshly and with no lack of derision to the lecturer.

  10. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW2: Thalidomide was once “cleared with doctors” as well. Surprise! It’s a teratogen. Alcohol may taste yummy and all that, but it’s a toxin—plain and simple. I’m not sure why anyone would take a chance with their unborn child’s health—even if it’s a small one.

    • avatar River Song says:

      “Alcohol may taste yummy and all that, but it’s a toxin—plain and simple.”

      in your opinion.

      science has proven that red wine, in moderation, is actually good for the human body. you must have missed that memo.

      during pregnancy, it is up to the woman to decide if she wants the *occasional* glass of wine or not. it is NOT up to the pregnancy police!

    • avatar Priscilla L says:

      Alcohol can be a toxin. Water can be one too. Alcohol and water both have essential health benefits as well.

      David I usually agree with your comments, as you are usually calm and intelligent, but in this case you are wrong.

      Fun fact: there is a lot of scientific cause to believe that alcohol consumption by the father, before pregnancy, is actually a major cause of FASD due to damaged sperm. However, that situation is very very hard to measure, so it is easier to blame women.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        You’re trying to make “alcohol” and “red wine” synonymous. If that were the case—red wine, white wine, scotch, vodka and gin would all be the same for all intents and purposes. Alcohol is an ingredient in red wine, along with water, plant matter, phytochemicals and antioxidants, and so on.

        Of course any substance brought into the body or influencing homeostasis can be toxic—including O2, water, sunlight, heat and so on. The difference is that alcohol is poisonous to human cells and must be metabolized or it will cause damage to the body. It is never NOT a toxin, and the human body doesn’t need it in any amount.

        The argument here isn’t whether or not someone who is pregnant should be able to enjoy a glass of wine. It’s whether or not the wine is detrimental to the growth and health of the fetus. It may or may not be. Since there is an element of uncertainty, the question should be: why would you want to take the potential risk to your unborn child, over a glass of wine? That seems like a no-brainer. But of course we live in America—land of the free and home of the absurdly stupid.

        • avatar River Song says:

          but you see, david, the LW had “a glass of wine”, which means that there’s a 50-50 chance that it was, indeed, red wine, which DOES have beneficial properties.

          no one is debating whether or not she should down a bottle of gin. but, to me, it also seems a no-brainer that the nearly “apoplectic” friend also has no business lecturing a grown woman about FAS… in public and during a nice dinner with friends. why do we think we have the right to intrude, publicly, into someone else’s decisions about their own body? oh, that’s right… “the home of the absurdly stupid”.

          had i been in the friend’s shoes, i would not have said a word because it’s not my place to tell another adult how to live her life. make your decisions for yourself and live by them, but don’t become apoplectic when someone else doesn’t. medically safe or not, it’s not anyone’s place to lecture.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            “…the LW had “a glass of wine”, which means that there’s a 50-50 chance that it was, indeed, red wine, which DOES have beneficial properties.”

            That’s like claiming a cigarette made from organic tobacco is healthier than a cigarette made from regular tobacco. It’s an absurd argument, since both are unhealthy. You’re an adult and you’re going to do whatever you want. Imbibe alcohol while you’re pregnant and figure out a way to justify it. No one is stopping you.

          • avatar River Song says:

            i need not justify it because i would never do it.

            however, the LW *has* apparently, justified it, but the “nearly apoplectic” friend IS trying to stop her by her reaction and lecturing.

            and, that is part of the question put to margo: is the angry friend justified in ruining dinner (and, potentially, a friendship) with her lectures? or should she just STFU and let a grown woman do what she wants with her own body?

            the discussion is derailing to only the justifications of the pregnant woman drinking alcohol when we should also discuss whether it is proper for one adult to lecture another, in public, on a personal choice.

            i think the friend was completely out of line. she is NOT going to change her pregnant friend’s mind. in fact, she may have the opposite effect.

            so, what say you about the angry friend?

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            Here’s what I have to say about the angry friend: anyone who is selfish enough to choose their own very short-term pleasure (and spare me the “health benefits” of a glass of red wine BS, and let’s get real here—she most likely had a glass for its intoxicating effects, since there are PLENTY of other ways to derive the same health benefits from other food sources) over their unborn child has some priorities to reassess. That she’s focusing on dining protocol and assuming that “everything in moderation” extends to pregnancy as though it’s just like everything else in life is absurd. Especially when she’s carrying a 3-month old fetus whose health can be affected profoundly by very subtle changes in the mother’s body chemistry. And what else are we talking “in moderation here?” Pot? Valium? Cigarettes? Again, the mother should be asking herself why she is putting her needs before her child’s.

          • avatar River Song says:

            ok, so you again returned to the alcohol and the choices the LW made, but said NOT ONE WORD about the actions of the angry friend.

            i get that you don’t like the actions of the LW, but do you think the angry friend acted correctly or not?

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            Yes, I believe the friend acted correctly. It is within reason for friends and family to tell us when they feel something is wrong with our actions, our character and our priorities. Again, the woman is more concerned with the fact that someone called her out on behavior rather the behavior itself, which indicates to me that her priorities are misplaced. Much like yours.

          • avatar River Song says:

            “[…] her priorities are misplaced. Much like yours.”



          • avatar David Bolton says:

            And while you’re at it—be sure to wolf down a big plate-o-swordfish as well. Just ignore the mercury, it will be offset by the health benefits.

          • avatar River Song says:

            “And while you’re at it—be sure to wolf down a big plate-o-swordfish as well. Just ignore the mercury, it will be offset by the health benefits.”

            so, you think arguments are settled with ridiculous snark? imho, this comment was completely unnecessary, but it does speak to your character.

          • avatar David Bolton says:

            It’s a perfectly valid and applicable analogy. If you don’t see the logic, then that’s your problem.

          • avatar River Song says:

            whether it’s logical or not is not the point. you had already MADE your point, but apparently needed to get one more dig in.

            that’s what i took issue with. it makes no sense to keep hammering on other points that are not even up for debate (And what else are we talking “in moderation here?” Pot? Valium? Cigarettes?) because they are not germane to the letter.

          • avatar David Bolton says:



  11. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW2) Taboo notions on ingesting everything from alcohol and coffee to meat and eggs come and go, yet common sense and good manners never go out style.  Short of telling your companion to stuff it, I would avoid dining with the lecturer on alcohol consumption for preggers women until after your babe is born. In fact, depending on whether she has strong opinions on child rearing, I might avoid her altogether for the duration. 

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      That said, I can’t help but think of photos of Jackie Kennedy aboard a yacht with a cigarette in her hand just a few days before Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born with hyaline membrane disease (just like his older brother John) that proved unsurvivable.  Although rarely photographed that way, JBK was a heavy smoker and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure her miscarriage, her stillborn daughter, and her doomed newborn son were all victims of smoking during pregnancy.    

      • avatar Carrie A says:

        And yet my grandmother was an alcoholic who smoked and drank heavily through all her pregnancies yet did not lose any of her children and none of them had any defects from it. How two people doing the same thing can have such different outcomes I’ll never understand.

      • avatar E4rthmoth3r says:

        I googled what you said re: hyaline disease. You were right on, how sad. In reading posts from people re: booze and pregnancy I must admit I was surprised. I was pregnant in the 80’s and everyone I knew understood the dangers of alcohol on the unborn. How far we haven’t come 🙁

    • avatar River Song says:

      agree completely!

  12. avatar mmht says:

    LW#2: I have never been pregnant and I’m not a Dr so I can’t answer this question with any type of authority. I can say that when my sister was pregnant she was very upset b/c about a week before she found out she was pregnant she had gotten drunk at her class reunion. Her Dr told her the most important thing was how she took care of herself from that moment on and to stop consuming alcohol. I had a friend who told me that her Dr. said one glass of wine once a month (at most) is ok, but don’t do more than that. I have another friend who claims her Dr didn’t give her any specific number, just said in moderation and that most Dr say no alcohol is simply to cover themselves legally. So I think at the end of the day there is no consensus on whether a small amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy is ok, but I do think that you should follow your Dr’s advice and do what makes you feel most comfortable. However, keep in mind that in our society, drinking while pregnant is about as acceptable as showing up to a dinner party naked. So if you do decide to partake in an occasional glass of wine during your pregnancy I’d limit it to at home with your husband or extremely close friends and relatives unless you want to consistently receive lectures about FAS.

  13. avatar Susan Tomkins says:

    Love vs. In Love…..I wish everyone could understand that in many parts of the world, people who are IN LOVE are not ALLOWED to make legally binding decisions such as marriage.  It is understood in most areas of the world that IN LOVE  =INSANITY.  Chemistry, “heat”, vibes….NONE of these things have ANYTHING to do with a lasting love.  But our society propogates the myth with fairy tales starting in childhood.  We are taught almost by OSMOSIS that you will “KNOW” when you are IN LOVE.  that you will “recognize” your true love…when your heart races and your feet skip over the ground almost in defiance of gravity, when you can’t stop smiling.  you can experience these emotions for people you may not even LIKE if you were but to take the time to know them better.  How many people married in that first flush, before knowing WHO their love WAS, only to discover disgust in thier habits, incredulity at their beliefs, and horror at their parenting/childrearing?  If we could but teach the young “wait…..wait until the flush fades, wait until the heat cools….just a bit, wait …until you see this love with sane eyes”…..and THEN choose.

  14. avatar Carrie A says:

    My friend had an occasional glass of wine during the end of her pregnancy and her little girl is perfectly normal and healthy. LW should tell her so-called friend to shut up and then limit her time around her.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      I have always found comments like these come from the “shoulda-coulda-woulda” crowd, who play by a different set of standards and rules when it comes to their own behavior.

      Let’s get down to brass tacks: drinking while you’re pregnant is a calculated risk. Pretty it up however you want, and label it anything from being a cultural norm to a medical necessity. It’s a calculated risk—and you hope that nothing goes wrong.

  15. avatar Diane Shaw says:

    Re Marriage: I read something Dr. Laura Schlessinger said (regardless of what you may or may not think of her) that has stuck with me: True love is found in your responsibility to another person. I liked that. I love my husband, but there are days I can’t stand him and days I feel back in love with him again (and I’m sure he has those days, too!). Either way, my commitment to him holds firm as does his. We have each other’s back and always will.
    Ltr. #2 – From what I’ve been reading lately, it seems the tide is turning and that the occasional glass of wine is A-OK by most doctors.

  16. avatar Safeandsilent says:

    LW2. I have adopted my niece. She has FAS. It makes my heart ache when people say “one glass won’t hurt” You know, it may not but there is a chance depending on what is developing that it will be effected. I’d like to hear back from people who have children who are “perfectly healthy” and then later on in life have a challenge like, telling time, counting money, personal safety issue, violence, or just a general hard time. You may not be able to look back and say “hmmm, I guess that was the part of the brain that was developing when I just HAD to have that glass of wine” I don’t know how ANYONE could chance hurting thier baby for the sake of a drink. Unless you have lived it you’ll never understand. I don’t speak up about it unless I’m asked if a pregnant woman is drinking. Regarless….you’re passing it to your baby.

    • avatar nancy s says:

      Safe, I think you’re doing a great thing, raising your niece! Re this discussion, though, I’m curious as to whether her mom likely drank more than a very occasional glass of wine. Do you know what her situation was? Personally, I’ve never heard of a child being born with FAS whose mother didn’t drink frequently.

  17. avatar lebucher says:

    I agree with this definition of “love” vs “being in love”.  In fact that is why I am waiting a while before tying the knot with my fiance… because I want to make (more) sure that this is the right thing to do and we are not getting hitched while in that heady flush of being in love.  Because I want this union to last the rest of our lives.  Experience has taught me that after that flush fades the real person will be standing in front of you.

  18. avatar Hellster says:

    Re Love vs. In Love; I recently learned of some neuroscience that indicates that the period of being infatuated (“in-love”) lasts about 18 months. This makes sense to me. That’s around the time when Mr. Right starts to seem like Mr. Uh-oh for many people, and if there’s not any actual LOVE there, then it’s time to hum a few bars of “it’s been great fun but it was just one of those things.”

    Of course, I wish I had learned this much earlier in life. Victim Number One and I would both have been much happier. Then again, we wouldn’t have our three sons and six grandkids today, so there’s that to consider. Not every mistake is a bad thing.

    As for alcohol during pregnancy, it’s probably better not to drink at all, but a drink or two taken in moderation in a normal fashion shouldn’t be cause for worry. As a recovering alcoholic, I am no advocate of drinking to excess, and the really wicked thing about alcohol is that you can’t know you are genetically predisposed to become addicted to it until you’ve already started drinking it. So some pregnant women who drink anything at all might find it difficult to stop and stay stopped. It’s probably better to forego alcohol for the nine months, but if you know for sure you don’t have alcoholism, toasting the bride at a wedding or celebrating your anniversary with champagne is probably not a big deal. But being pregnant is one of those conditions that brings out the Nosy Parker in everyone, so if you don’t get comments on your alcohol intake, it will be something else! 

  19. avatar Arana says:

    LW2 and comments – anecdotal evidence is worthless. There is an exception to essentially every piece of medical information – e.g. one person survived rabies – does this mean you should not takes the shots if you contract it? No fetus has ever been harmed by a mother NOT drinking alcohol. Unquestionably, many are harmed by mothers drinking too much alcohol. No one knows where the threshold is and if there is a range of responses among different individuals. Your fetus is almost certainly fine, and your friend overreacted. But alcohol is certainly a teratogen, and 9 months isn’t that long, why take a chance?

  20. avatar Jon T says:

    I’ve never been a fan of the “Love him, but I’m not IN love with him” standby. I could never quite explain why it bugged me except that I felt it was better to just admit that a person no longer loved someone else. The Vicar’s take on it is perfect. Thanks for sharing this, Margo. 🙂

  21. avatar Susan Fried says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with David Bolton re drinking while pregnant. One thing I’d like to point out is that in the former USSR, there are orphanages filled with children, most of whom have been diagnosed with FAS. Some of their disabilities aren’t apparent until well after infancy: behavior disorders, retardation, inability to bond, etc. Sad, but true. Isn’t it better to err on the side of caution?

  22. avatar Diagoras says:

    I also agree with David Bolton – well said! If you want antioxidants, eat some blueberries or drink some grape juice. Pregnant or not, nobody drinks red wine for the antioxidants!

  23. avatar joniworx says:

    Not part of the pregnancy police, but I am a mom raising 2 FASD siblings we adopted. Their mom is not an alcoholic. She had babies who, as fetuses, were susceptable to what alcohol – a known teratogen – did to their brains. The facts are you can’t tell when alcohol will hurt a fetus. FASD is the leading cause of mental retardation in the western world. Maybe the woman’s friend knew something the woman having the glass of wine didn’t. Was it out of concern for an unborn child and the risks that were being posed, or was she just a self-righteous, self appointed “pregnancy police”? I don’t know. But I do know this – there’s a lot of mis-information out there re: FASD, and a lot of it shows on this board. How do you know there were no effects? Anyone have ADHD? Anyone have a touch of OCD? Anyone have problems with learning, memory, time, money, addictions? The sad thing is that there are a lot of effects out there, that no one thinks anything about. And a lot more kids out there than we have been willing to admit are on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum and sadly, way too few resources. That has something to do with stigma, and something to do with our willingness not to see a problem as big as this one is.

  24. avatar Anonymous says:

    There is a definite difference, you can “love” someone with all your heart but something about them keeps you from being “In Love” and not let you move past the “love” to being “in love.” For example, it could be their past, maybe they were in prison and even though they are your best friend in the world, you cannot accept the fact your mate is a felon. There is something keeping your from accepting them 100%, a trait that can be overlooked in a best friend but not a lover (knowing they cheated on a former lover–not you, but can get past the fear they may cheat on you if you become a lover).

  25. avatar mdm24 says:

    Regarding drinking wine during pregnancy –
    25 years ago my mother was pregnant with me. Towards the end of her pregnancy she went into premature labor more than once. Her OBGYN told her to drink small amounts of red wine (along with bed rest, etc.) to calm her body down. Needless to say it worked. I was born prematurely, but not dangerously so. I suffered no ill effects of her drinking.

    My sister had her first child last year. During her pregnancy her doctor said that a small amount of wine every so often was perfectly acceptable and would not be dangerous to the fetus at all. I am now the proud aunt of a happy, healthy, and incredibly intelligent one year old boy.

    The point I’m trying to make is that the LW wanted a glass. Just one. It probably wasn’t huge. She probably doesn’t have them all the time. Unless she’s chasing the wine with vodka or drinking half the bottle, she should be fine. And to be perfectly honest, unless she is doing something that is outright dangerous, it’s nobody’s business but hers or her doctor.

  26. avatar E4rthmoth3r says:

    RE: Reasons vs Rules. Maybe this mom to be isn’t aware that alcohol passes the placenta and goes right into the baby’s circulation. You wouldn’t give your newborn alcohol, why would you get your fetus loaded? Alcohol is a known ‘teratogen’ or birth defect causing agent. Just 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks in the 3rd trimester can result in low birth weight babies. Booze in the 1st and 2nd trimester when the fetus is forming can be devastating to development. We don’t know how much is too much. Why risk it?