A long long time ago, in a lifetime that feels far far away, I used to smoke. It was 14 and a half years ago when I quit. For advice on quitting cigarettes please Click Here.
I had been smoking for years, from before I was even old enough to buy tobacco myself. I had tried several times to quit and never succeeded. I smoked at first to try to “be cool” and fit in, then it became a way to cope with the stress in my teen years. I was still smoking when I met Blokey, but he was also a smoker so he didn’t exactly encourage me to quit! We made each worse I think, when you see someone else light up it was harder to ignore the urge. Occasionally I smoked because I wanted to, but in honesty the majority of fags were sparked up by addiction.
We used to do the (rather unromantic) thing where we’d want one after *ahem* adult cuddle time. Makes me cringe a bit now that I was such a nicotine junkie for so long. But I eventually managed to quit without medical help. What worked for me was guilt. Yup, good old-fashioned shame and guilt. I’ll start at the beginning – I got pregnant very soon after talking about trying for a family. I knew within a day that something had changed, I was certain I was pregnant, so I tried super hard to reduce the amount of cigarettes I had each day – I managed to drop from 15 a day to 5 or less. I was getting pregnancy symptoms to back up my belief I was carrying a tiny life inside me. We booked in at the doctors, but the doctors declared it to be a phantom pregnancy, they told me I just wanted it too much. The doctors told Blokey that it was in my head, that this wasn’t real. He was a good boyfriend about it, he tried to comfort me, he tried to help me adjust to not being pregnant, to it just being my love creating these symptoms.
Unsurprisingly my stress levels sky rocketed, and I hit the addiction worse than before. But a month or so later I collapsed, I was not sick enough to be kept in, but I was taken to a hospital by my Mother. I remember having tests and checks done, waiting what felt like a year whilst I sat on a bed trying not to vomit in those nasty cardboard bowls. A young chap sticks his head around the curtain and introduces himself then blurts out “Is there any chance you are pregnant Miss Martin?” “it’s possible, but my doctor and several home pregnancy tests said I was experiencing a phantom pregnancy” I reply. “You need to go back and get registered with a midwife” he says as he grins a bit. I was shocked, very happy, rather nauseous but mostly a bit angry that they had just told my Mother this news before Blokey knew he was going to be a Father, oh and that I hadn’t imagined it.
I was given the Okay to leave, but I was shaking. It was a hell of a shock to the system after being told for a few weeks that you are slightly nuts, that you made up this baby. I stumbled outside with my Mother holding me up and put my lighter straight to work, then I threw up. **Being pregnant is so glamorous darlings** (imagine this bit is said by Patsy from Ab Fab, smoking 4 fags at once as she did). My Mum wasn’t exactly impressed I’d inhaled a poison stick as soon as possible after hearing the news, but I had to calm down. I phoned Blokey from the hospital bus stop, he was working away that day. I wasn’t subtle, I got his answerphone and said that I hadn’t imagined a thing and that he was indeed going to be a Daddy, that our doctors were wrong, and I’d been taken to hospital by my Mother so that cat was already out of the bag! Poor guy, I can’t imagine the shock that gave him.
Over the next fortnight or so I cut right down again and made Blokey ditch the fags too. Why should I suffer alone? As I was doing this “cold turkey” style he had to do the same, not sure he was keen on that idea, but passive smoking is still breathing in smoke and passing it to our child. It didn’t take us long, by about 3 months in I had stopped, I could feel my baby. I’ll tell you something honestly, nothing worked as well for me as the guilt of feeling my child move whilst needing to smoke – that was a massive boost to my willpower. I had tried and failed before – I couldn’t really afford patches back in the nineties. But I am proud to say I’ve been a non-smoker for 14 and a half years now. The scary part is the money we saved on not buying nicotine was about equal to what we spent on baby things. Like with most things these days, there’s an app to tally up how much you have saved by quitting the tobacco.
Obviously I’m not suggesting you get pregnant just to quit smoking, before anyone misunderstands me. But I am saying if you want to quit having a reason and a deadline helps A LOT. If quitting feels too big, maybe just aim for cutting down to half your current daily amount? Yes, every single cigarette is bad for you, but 5 has to be better than 20 right? Don’t beat yourself up over the little failures, the sneaky fag after a bad day at work, waking up with cravings and smoking on auto-pilot. These things will probably happen, don’t panic. Talk to your doctor to get help, or one of those NHS quitting shops.
Disclosure : This post is based on my own experiences, I’m not a medical professional so please always talk to a professional before making a big change in your life. This post is in collaboration with Vapemate but I was not told what to write.