Solitary? …Voluntary!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

-Dr. Seuss

The above quote highlights a couple of facts that links a personal meaning to me and my smoking habit. When I read the above quote, it mentions “You’re on your own” this is how I feel about smoking. Smoking has always been a private aspect of my life; I do not disclose my smoking to anyone. I did not tell my family doctor, friends, or colleagues at work that I smoked.

When I decided to quit smoking, I investigated different support groups. For example, The Smokers Help Line and different community support groups. The Smoker Help line (http://www.smokershelpline.ca/) had many different forms of support; online help program, text messaging, and free help by phone. I would often read the community support forums on this site or the one on Pregnets, but I did not feel comfortable linking my name, number and other information on the smokers website. I felt it was something that I needed to do alone. I felt it was my decision and my decision alone….whether to stop smoking or not.

I have trouble understanding why I do not like to admit that I am a smoker.  Maybe, I am afraid of judgment of others or I am embarrassed.  I work in the health care environment, and maybe I am just trying to be normal with my work colleagues. Often, my colleagues will mention in a sarcastic way how a mother was smoking and was pregnant, and I just join the conversation as if I am not a smoker.  Inside I am nervous and afraid they will find out about my smoking.

My husband and I got married in 2012 and we decided to start a family. We were having difficulty conceiving and got referred to a fertility clinic. My husband is also a smoker and smoking was part of our bonding and getting to know each other. For example, when we would have a disagreement, we would say “lets go for a smoke and talk”…the good old days. In another post, I will describe my challenges of quitting smoking and my relationship with my husband.

My husband is my best friend, and he understands my challenges of smoking. He supported and encouraged me to tell the fertility doctor that I was a “smoker”. When I completed the paper work, I admitted to smoking and then at our first visit with the doctor, the doctor mentioned the risks of smoking in preconception and how this can affect fertility. I felt a little slap on the wrist, but understood she was doing her due-diligence.

At my other fertility appointments, the smoking was never mentioned again. If smoking was mentioned it seemed like the comments were directed to my husband and his smoking. It was like I never admitted to the smoking, or the clinic just assumed I was not a smoker. In a way I was happy that the clinic forgot that I smoked, because I wouldn’t be judged, but I also felt a little shocked that I was not getting support.

What is your experience with disclosing your smoking addiction to others?

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