So at the end of my last blog I mentioned that I would blog next about services and programs available to quitting, and staying-quit, moms. A while back I saw a flyer at my midwives clinic advertising a Toronto Public Health program called Fresh Start, that offered “an exercise and education program” for new moms trying to stay quit post partum, but unfortunately I have had one hell of a time trying to track down anyone who knows anything about this program, that apparently no longer exists.
This Fresh Start certainly seemed like a well thought-out program as it addressed my fears of weight-loss (both associated with post pregnancy and quitting smoking) as well as the fear of being all alone in the maintenance process (i.e. I still have work to do to get to a place of being a non-smoker / seeing my struggle with smoking as a thing of the past) and would place me in the room with other moms (I presumed) who would understand exactly what I am going through. So when I called Toronto Public Health, then used the 211, the smoker’s helpline and CAMH info line to inquire about this program and found that no one knew of it I was super disappointed.
Even more depressing is that I have found no other programs like it or even any quitting/staying quit programs that are: focused on exercise and/or education, drop-in in nature / easily accessible without an assessment made by an addictions specialist, would place me with peers and that cater to the needs of new moms.
Given the rates of women who go back to smoking within and after the first year of baby’s life, and the particular needs of women in the first year of mothering (i.e. I don’t have time to make multiple appointments and a plan with a councilor and am Not interested in being prescribed anything or using the nicotine patch because I have already quit smoking but need support keeping it up).
I had a very lengthy conversation with someone on the smoker’s helpline where we both searched together and verified each others’ findings: there are no currently existing programs like this. That all roads lead back to pregnets blog and website when looking at programs and services directed at pregnant women and new moms. Though an amazing space for sharing, information and accessing peer support, sadly, pregnets is not enough and a live, in-person city program is needed for women like me in this situation, as the impact could be huge and the stakes are so high (i.e. having a positive affect on so many homes supporting moms to raise non-smokers in smoke-free environments)
I hate to end this blog entry on a pessimistic note but it does seem there are many more barriers to accessing support than to being confronted with the temptation to smoke. I kinda wish that flyer had not gotten my hopes up.
Please, I’m begging of all those reading this to prove me wrong, find a program, in any city, that could be held up as a model for supporting pregnant women and new moms in quitting and staying quit.