Almost six years ago was when my roller coaster with smoking and pregnancy began. After only a few months of dating my husband we found out that I was pregnant with our first. Scared, excited, stressed out, off we went to the doctors to confirm it was true. Well it was definitely true! And there was when the dreaded question began… “Do you smoke?” (Every time I went to the doctors from this point on, smoking would become a major discussion) “yes” I mumbled reluctantly. From that moment on I felt that the doctor was doing nothing but judging me, regardless of what she told me. She asked me if I knew the side effects of smoking while pregnant, and even though I told her that yes I was indeed aware of the unfortunate effects it could have on my baby and pregnancy.
I tried my best to not smoke as many in a day, thinking to myself that I would gradually just cut down until I quit. There was always an excuse though. I had no other way (or so I thought) to deal with my stressors, and believed that having a cigarette was actually solving something. Of course, it was not.
At first it was easy to hide as I wasn’t showing very much, so people did not even realize that I was pregnant. Then, as people started to hear that I was pregnant or notice I was getting bigger, I got many dirty looks, and rude comments. Of course I knew that I shouldn’t have been smoking, but I had also convinced myself I may shock the baby if I just quit out of nowhere. So that is what I used to justify it. I did not believe that I actually had any support behind me if I chose to quit, so I did not bother.
Through my second pregnancy I smoked through out and did not even try to quit. I used the excuse that my previous pregnancy had ended in preterm labour (surprisingly, not smoking related) and I was too stressed out that something was going to go wrong again so I did not want to risk adding the added stress. Yes, I just said I did not want to quit because I was too stressed about possibly going through losing another baby… CRAZY right?! Well it didn’t seem that crazy to me at the time. Thankfully I got through that pregnancy fine. My daughter was a few weeks early, and a little small but healthy over all.
My next battle with continuing to smoke was breastfeeding. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and that this was something that I felt strongly about. I was told that breastfeeding was still better to do, even if I was a smoker. So here I was, being told that it was still okay to smoke while breastfeeding. So why would I worry about quitting? I didn’t.
I breastfed my daughter until she was 14 months. I had learned to smoke right after I was finished breastfeeding so it wasn’t right before, or during. When I finally got pregnant with my youngest, I genuinely tried to quit smoking. When my husband wouldn’t quit with me, I figured there was no point because I could not possibly quit if he was still smoking. I continued to smoke throughout my whole pregnancy. As I explained in my previous post, I smoked right until the night I went into labour.
As people found out that I had quit, most people would congratulate me, tell me that they were proud of me and ask how I could possibly do it with my husband still smoking. Although, not everyone was supportive. In my next post, I’ll talk a more about this and what it felt like to receive this negative feedback.
Has there been anyone around you been unsupportive on your quitting journey?