Mom Confession: I Smoked During My Pregnancy
We now know smoking during pregnancy is unhealthy. This mom confesses to her struggle to quit after finding out she was pregnant.
I’m about to share something about my first pregnancy that I’m not proud of in hopes that it will help another expectant mama.
I smoked during the beginning of my first pregnancy.
Smoking was common in my life growing up. My dad and several other family members smoked. I remember thinking cigarettes were so disgusting as a child, yet I became a smoker at the age of 16. My journey to be smoke-free began after my husband and I started dating. I stopped and started numerous times and tried everything from cold turkey to gum to nicotine patches.
But I always picked it up again. Secretly, of course.
The stress and emotional roller coaster of trying to conceive naturally for three years caused me to relapse. Looking back, I believe my nicotine addiction played a role in our fertility issues. I told myself (and my husband) that I’d quit (again) as soon as I got pregnant. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done.
When we finally had a positive home test, we were ecstatic. It was exciting, yet overwhelming and I headed straight outside to light up. I looked at the last three cigarettes in the pack and thought, “Once you are gone, I’m done.”
The cravings and old habits made me feel like I was crawling out of my skin. I’d obsess about when and where I’d light up next. Since no one at work knew I was pregnant yet, it was easy to keep puffing away in the car and on breaks with fellow smokers. I knew smoking while pregnant was not good for the baby so I made a plan for how I was going to quit and quit for good.
Trying to stop suddenly was not working, so I made a plan to gradually cut back. Our office was moving locations so it was easier to change my break time habits. I threw out my lighters and stopped going inside gas stations. By the time I reached my 12th week of pregnancy, I was down to one cigarette a day. Once I openly announced that we were expecting, shame became a strong motivator to let go of my habit.
I didn’t want anyone to see me smoking. I didn’t want people to know. One of my friends didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but I did. I mean, how could I smoke cigarettes but refuse deli meat for the good of the baby? And now we know that smoking during pregnancy affects the health of future generations, not just my baby directly. While no amount of nicotine is safe, I am glad I wasn’t a heavy smoker and was able to finally quit in the early second trimester.
Becoming a mom finally made it possible for me to quit once and for all.
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