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(23 Posts)
Raph Sun 17-Aug-08 17:57:36

I am in the early stages of pregnancy again after losing my first child was stillborn. It was heartbreaking and nightmarish and recent. I had had a trouble free pregnancy and had given up smoking, caffeine, and limited myself to one glass of wine per week. After my baby died, I started smoking again, and now I am pregnant again I have cut down to three cigarettes a day; none at best.

I don't know if I can or want to stop these three a day. I am sure I will be villified, but ironically by now encyclopeadic knowledge of stillbirth and 'things going wrong' with pregnancy leads me to believe that invariably it is freak infections, genetic problems or total mystery why things go wrong, rather than the obvious things we are warned about.

Nevertheless, I feel disgusted with myself and a total failure and above all very much on my own. I am still grieving I think and trying to get through each day and I know I am using these odd fags as a crutch.

I feel like I am the only pathetic loser who can't stop completely, and I feel like I am going mad.

Anglepoise Sun 17-Aug-08 18:00:03

So sorry

You sound very much as though you are still grieving - are you talking to anyone about your first pregnancy?

You also sound as though you do want to give up. Have you tried reading Allen Carr?

fryalot Sun 17-Aug-08 18:05:26

I really do know how you feel, you are not alone.

First of all, you are not a pathetic loser, and you are NOT going mad.

Secondly, bloody well done for cutting down as much as you have done.

Thirdly, only you can make the decision to give up, nobody can make you, nobody can force you into making it, it has to come from inside you. If you do get criticised for smoking, try to ignore it, they don't know, they don't understand and most of all, they are not in your shoes.

A few things I will share with you:

I didn't manage to give up entirely with any of my pregnancies but I have now given up and speak as a smoker who doesn't smoke at the moment (tis a bit like being an alcoholic I think) so I really do know what I am talking about...

People will look at you and stare at your bump if you are having a cigarette whilst obviously pregnant. People will think that it is acceptable for them to come over and tell you all the harm you are doing to your baby. You will feel guilty every time you have a cigarette, no matter what you feel about the safety of smoking whilst pregnant. You will occasionally get tuts from HCPs when they ask how the smoking is going.

On the other side of the coin: Since I gave up, my hair is healthier, my teeth are white again, I can push a pushchair up a hill without stopping half way up, my freshly decorated walls are going to stay white and most of all, when people offer me a cigarette I can say "no thanks, I don't" which is fantabuloso!

A final note... all three of my babies were quite small.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. IF you do decide that giving up smoking is right for you, feel free to cat me, or hunt me down on here and I can give you loads of hints/support... whatever you need.


Raph Sun 17-Aug-08 18:10:58

Hi and thanks very much for the prompt and helpful replies.

I am so ashamed I would never smoke in front of anyone else. I have hidden it. I can easily spend all day and nights with people (like this weekend) and then have one when I am alone and when no one can see. I just want to cry I am so angry with myself.

I have got the Allan C book, but as I say, the scariest part is that I am not sure I want to let those cigarettes go. They are some sort of very perverse prize for carrying on operating after what has happened.

fryalot Sun 17-Aug-08 18:13:34

I can totally relate to that feeling.

Deciding to give up smoking is very similar (imo) to taking a decision to leave a much loved friend/partner. You still love them a lot, and no matter how much you know that the relationship is bad for you, they are so much a part of what makes you you that you are not ready to let them go.

What I can tell you is that I smoked for 24 years and the feeling of pride every day you don't have a cigarette beats the feeling of loss that you think you will feel when contemplating giving up.

Raph Sun 17-Aug-08 18:20:36

Thank you Squonk. It is useful and heartening to hear your thoughts. It is so all consuming I think I am obsessing about it. I wake up thinking about it so immediately think I want a cigarette. I think I am anxious and just tranferring it all on to smoking and giving fags an importance they shouldn't have. I am having bereavement counselling so I am trying to deal with the death of our baby, but I wonder if I should try something else, like yoga or meditation, or something.

The non pregnant me would just kick back and talk it all through with a load of wine and a packet of cigarettes. It is hard to face the demons without any props.

I found giving up drinking and smoking (relatively) easy in my first pregnancy, but then, I was happier and hopeful and had no idea of what was to happen. I wish I was that person again.

fryalot Sun 17-Aug-08 18:31:02

Of course you are struggling with this pregnancy, and I'd be lying if I were to tell you it will be a breeze, because it won't and you will worry the entire way through it. Perhaps yoga or something may be a good idea - it is a good idea to replace smoking with something, tis too difficult to just go cold turkey and have nothing, even if you are totally stress-free.

I lost a baby quite early into my 2nd pgy and my 3rd pgy (which produced dd2) and my 4th (ds) were pretty panic filled from start to finish. I do think that bereavement counselling is a good idea anyway - have you been in touch with SANDS?

There are also some very supportive bereavement threads on here, I don't know if you've found them, but I can do a link if you want me to.

Raph Sun 17-Aug-08 18:40:48

I have been using the SANDS suppot network a lot, including the site. Now I am pregnant again, I have had to step away a bit because as well as being a brilliant source of comfort and support, it is also, by its very nature, a catalogue of what can go wrong in pregnancy. Although what caused our baby to die cannot reoccur (an infection to which I am now immune), I need to stop learning about all the other possibilities if I am to get through this pregnancy. I will probably re-visit when I feel a bit stronger. If, when..!

fryalot Sun 17-Aug-08 18:51:15


You will feel stronger.

You ARE strong, even if you don't feel much like it. You have been through the absolute worst experience that anyone can go through, and you have come out the other side. That takes amazing courage.

I suspect (having "known" you for all of half an hour) that you can do anything you put your mind to, and if you want me to, I'll be there (virtually) to hold you hand while you do it. I think that you are very nearly ready to give up smoking and you know that. You wouldn't be asking for help if you weren't ready.

Have you spoken to your local NHS quitting line?

LackaDAISYcal Sun 17-Aug-08 19:08:16

Raph, echo have done fantastically well to cut down as much as you have, but I just wanted to say that I can empathise with you some. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your baby sad and can only imagine the amount of stress that must be putting on you in this pregnancy.

I had two miscarriages withing 6mo of each other and had given up smoking each time. I started again after the second one, but when I found out I was pregnant again I found it very hard to stop, as I felt like you it wouldn't have made a difference. It wasn't until after I'd had an early scan for bleeding at 7ish weeks that I was able to think "this one is OK and i must do all I can to keep it that way and stop. It wasn't easy though.

I suggest you make contact with your CMW early on or you GP for advice on helping you to stop.
the NHS stop smoking pages say that most damage is done between monthsd four and nine, so there is still time for you to stop completely.

Try not to beat yourself up about it; it sounds like you are doing all you can under what must be very difficult circumstances.

star6 Sun 17-Aug-08 19:12:13

I don't smoke and never, have but I just had to add to this post because I think it's so great that there are people like squonk and lackaDAISYcal out there who are so willing to share their own stories and offer support to others... I just love MN. It's so heartwarming to belong to such a supportive, caring network of people.
Raph I wish I could offer some fantastic advice, but I don't have much on this one, although I think that's been taken care of here

Raph Sun 17-Aug-08 19:18:27

Hi everyone. Thanks again for your replies and advice. I was so nervous about posting, but I am glad that I did. I really appreciate your constructive support.

Dozymare Sun 17-Aug-08 19:21:11

Raph, what a horrible situation to be in. I am very sorry for your loss but also very happy that you are in the position of being pregnant again.

I am an ex smoker - on big sessions (ie on the lash) I would smoke up to 40 a day and during my first PG I miscarried at 11 weeks which I blamed on the 3/4 fags I was having at the time. I KNOW that the reason i mc was not because I was smoking, but I still blame myself for that. You have to ask yourself, if anything went wrong with this PG, would you again end up blaming yourself?? I know I still do 8 years and 2 kids (3rd on the way) later.

I also think you need to talk to someone about how you feel as i think a lot of it is all about "rewarding" yourself for getting this far. Understandably so.

I also second Alan can do it and i am more than willing to hold you hand if need be. You are showing amazing strength and courage by comning on here, and I feel that by posting it is you saying, I need to do it.....

As Squonk says, you feel so much better about NOT smoking than smoking. I still stuggle but is so so much easier.

good luck xxxxxx

LackaDAISYcal Sun 17-Aug-08 19:25:44

raph, it's obvious from your OP that you care deeply about this and that you are struggling to stop and want to stop. No-one is going to flame you under those circumstances, and if they do they'll have squonky and me to answer to smile

I don't know if this service exists in other areas, but here in Leeds there is a page in the front of our notes about an NHS initiative called Fresh Air Babies which the MW usually covers at your booking appointment.

There is a helpline number though which might be worth a call: 0800 169 4219.

Raph Sun 17-Aug-08 19:31:02

Thank you very much; I have an appointment with the consultant and the GP midwife in the next week so I will ask them about it. Now that I have come clean here I think it will be easier.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sun 17-Aug-08 19:36:27

If you are hiding these smokes and feeling ashamed I don't think you are even enjoying them...but I totally understand why you haven't given them up. Part of you isn't investing in this pregnancy and the smoking is a strange sort of defiance. I made myself take up smoking again after my miscarriage - not because I particularly wanted to but I felt a bit self-destructive and 'fuck you' to the world.

None of it is very logical but it's very understandable. don't beat yourself up about it. Did you have grief counselling? It might be worth trying to get some before the baby is born as it's a very weird state to be in - especially if your loss was recent.

You are doing brilliantly, and congratulations of the pregnancy xxxx

LackaDAISYcal Sun 17-Aug-08 19:38:51

does your OH smoke as well? If so is it something that you can do together?

remember as well that the will to stop is half the battle.

I know of at least one other MNer who is pregnant again after losing a baby at term. I'm sure if you were to start a thread about it in pregnancy you would have lots of support and wise words and a few women to hold hands with through your pregnancy.

good luck and keep us posted about how you are getting on smile

Anglepoise Sun 17-Aug-08 19:39:56

Try reading the Allen Carr - you have nothing to lose and he actively encourages you to keep smoking while you read it! It doesn't work for everyone but was fantastic for me (three years + without a cigarette now, and best of all I don't want one). Good luck

lauraloola Sun 17-Aug-08 20:01:39

I gave myself one day of smoking and then that was it (It was 2 days after I found out I was expecting). I was smoking 20 a day and loved it - I still miss it. I took up playing solitare on the computer - Sounds weird but I played it for hours and it took my mind off wanting cigerettes. Maybe you could try a hobby or something that will take your mind off of it - Good luck x

AnnVan Mon 18-Aug-08 06:02:29

I have quit smoking as am pg. My mw mentioned at my booking in that they only consider smoking a risk if you're smoking more than five a day! (obviously I am not encouraging you not to quit, just saying that i you have the occasional smoke, it's unlikely to be the end of the world)

chutneymary Mon 18-Aug-08 07:37:10

HI Raph

I am so very sorry to hear about your baby. You must be so very sad.

I think you are brilliant for thinking about stopping. I have used Allan Carr (though not in such sad circumstances) and it was great. I've now been a non smoker for 9 years! I also understand a little about not wanting to give up the last 3. You have done so well to get this far though.

Not very articulate this morning, but just wanted to offer support and wish you well. Your MW will be able to help further.

Wishing you the very best for your pg. Keep posting and let us know how you get on.

Kezza7779 Mon 18-Aug-08 14:51:02

stop killing yourself over it, youve been through enough and if you feel you want those cigs - have them. i know smoking isnt ideal in pregnancy but neither is stress. it sounds to me like your stressing over it and really its just not worth it. when the times right youll stop, clearly that time is not now. its 3 fags a day not 30!!!!

(i too am a smoker and 40 wks preg and have cut right down, also would never smoke in public)

goodluck with everything and stop beating yourself up!!!!!

MrsMattie Mon 18-Aug-08 15:52:49

Raph, what you have been through is devestating. You need help and support to give up - or to get to a place where you feel strong enough to think about giving up. I hope you can get the support you need. xx

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