Smoking and Pregnancy


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For fifteen years, or thereabouts, I was a heavy smoker. My fag of choice was the purple variety of the Silk Cut family, and I smoked at least twenty a day. I knew it was unwise, to say the least: A lifelong asthma sufferer, I was allergic to cigarette smoke well before inhaling it voluntarily.

But, you know how it is…

If you are, or have been, a smoker, you will be well aware of the addictive nature of the old Cancer Sticks. We think we are in control, but actually that capricious, and breath-stealing, God, Nicotine, is the one pulling the reins.

Why did I start? Social ineptness? Shyness? Wanting something to do with my hands in pub situations? Insecurity? All of them!

Did I ever truly enjoy smoking? No. But I was totally hooked: My first acts of a morning – now get this for sick irony! – were a puff on my blue asthma inhaler, followed by the first fag of the day!

Over those fifteen years, my rate of chest infections doubled; my asthma worsened; I got nose bleeds from sniffing so much and coughed up blood on more than one terrifying occasion. I had a chest x-ray which, fortunately, was clear – and still I kept wheezing my way through my daily ‘dose’ of gaspers…

Oh, I tried to give up gazillions of times – with bugger-all success. I seemed to have no willpower whatsoever!

Then, in early March 1997, feeling unaccountably peculiar, it occurred to me that, at the grand old age of thirty-nine, I might well be incubating a little stranger – and on Monday March 10th, I trotted off to the clinic at Weston-super-Mare hospital in order to get tested for bun-in-the-oven-ism.

I had to wee into a cup and, when it had had a frog dipped in it (or whatever arcane method they use to sort out the Up the Duff-ers from those decidedly not yet Duffing), the po-faced mare who was looking after me, announced, lugubriously, ‘Miss Browning, you are strongly pregnant…’

‘As opposed to what?’ thunk I to myself, ‘Slightly pregnant? Weakly fertilised? Only in half of an Interesting Condition?’

I walked back home, all of a doodah. Having worked out in my head that said tiny bean of a wean had probably been conceived on St Valentine’s Day, I reckoned I was going to hatch a Scorpio. Birth sign sorted out, my immediate need was for nicotine and alcohol, preferably through a drip.

Accordingly – and disgracefully – when I got home, and had told my partner that we were to be parents, I grabbed my just-started packet of Silk Cut, poured a half of Stella Artois and sat down for a smoke and a quaff.

That evening, I smoked the rest of the packet, got moderately pie-eyed (mildly bitten by the barn-weasel) – and gave up smoking then and there.

It will be twenty years next March – and I have not smoked since. Alcohol? I gave up for several years after the baby arrived – but now have the odd glass (or five) of wine perhaps twice a month.

Love of my unborn baby, however, gave me the incentive which no amount of willpower had been able to achieve, and I went from heavy smoker to non-smoker within about six hours.

I was, of course, unbearable to live with for a couple of weeks…

For a long time, I was tempted; for an even longer time, I kept away from smokers lest I gave in and cadged a fag. Now, however, I am quite happy to be in the company of those who smoke – without having any desire to do so myself.

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11 thoughts on “Smoking and Pregnancy

  1. Congratulations on stopping, I smoke and and have cut down massively since my Girlfriend became pregnant. She smoked an electric cigarette but threw it away as soon as she discovered the news. I need to follow in her footsteps, and yours, and give up for good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not easy, is it?! I know that from my own experience. I will have been a non-smoker for twenty years this coming March – but I freely admit that, had I not got pregnant at that point, I would still be puffing away now! Good luck – and enjoy your little one when he/she arrives.

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  2. Good for you giving up.
    Hubby and I gave up over 25 years ago and have not looked back or regretted it. I was a 40 a day addict, he was 20. Raffles was my weed of choice, but the purple Silk Cuts were second, and Dunhills third. I avoided B&H, No6 and Embassy as they were too rough for me. Giving up was the best thing we did, so we started married life as non-smokers. We didn’t need patches or gum, relying entirely on Will Power (our bestest friend at the time) and each other. We don’t like the smell, but if someone wishes to smoke, that is fine, just please not around us if we were there first!

    Liked by 1 person

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