What was the hardest part of quitting?
Giving up my morning cup of coffee with a smoke and enjoying those few minutes of alone time was the hardest part.
I still miss smoking. There are days when I crave a smoke. But my commitment to my son far outweighs the urges I have for nicotine. I don't ever want my son to know me as a smoking mother. I don't ever want him to be waiting for me to finish my smoke so that I can be with him. Every time I look at him, I'm grateful that I don't smoke.
Research shows that half of women who quit smoking during pregnancy relapse within six months of delivery. You started smoking again when your son was a few months old. Why do you think that happened?
I quit smoking for the baby I was carrying and not for myself. The stress of caring for a newborn combined with not using nicotine replacement therapy led to me starting again when my son was a few months old. This was a very difficult time for me. The stigma of being a smoking mother weighed heavily.
How did the program help you quit a second time?
The class educated me about using the patch, and again, the support I received from Suzanne and the other class members was monumental in helping me succeed.
I also started bike riding as a way to reduce stress and that has really helped me stay smoke-free.
Now that you're tobacco-free, how has your emotional and physical life changed?
Everything about my life is better. The time I would have spent smoking is spent on my 3-year-old son. I am so grateful that he doesn't know me as a smoking mother. My partner is delighted that I quit and reminds me of that every day. My whole world is so much better because I'm no longer a slave to nicotine.
What advice would you give other mothers-to-be who are trying to quit?
Don't be hard on yourself. Quitting smoking is already such a milestone, but quitting while pregnant is especially challenging. It's important to know you're doing the best you can.