My parents got divorced when I was 15. My mom, sister, and I moved to the east coast from California, and I started smoking a couple of months after that.
My mom didn’t know I smoked for about 4 years.
My dad didn’t find out I smoked for almost 6 years. And when he did he wasn’t at all happy about it.
My parents are not the best of friends, but they’re not enemies either, they treat each other with respect and don’t usually talk crap about each other to my sister and I.
But after my dad found out I smoked he said it didn’t surprise him, but that he had always hoped it would never happen. He blamed my mother for smoking in front of us all these years (not right next to us, but I remember we could see her smoking in the yard or out in public), and he said I had probably been inflicted by the addiction even before I was born …
Because, he said, my mother smoked while she was pregnant with me.
Wow. Ok. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that at first.
My dad must’ve noticed my expression because he then softened up and said my mom hadn’t smoked that much while pregnant, but enough to worry him.
He said my mom just couldn’t quit, and then he lecture me a bit about smoking.
Of course … I knew that was coming.
I’m not at all in favor of introducing smoking to kids or babies. My gut instinct is to not smoke while pregnant (though I don’t know that I could completely quit either, I guess I’ll worry about that later), but my dad is a doctor so I asked him if I had been born with any problems, underweight or whatever, since that’s the kind of stuff I heard happened when pregnant women smoked.
He said that I was born just fine, but still, he believes I became a smoker because my mom smoked while pregnant and that might’ve caused neurological changes which probably made me predisposed to smoking. He also said (and I had heard this complaint before) that she used to smoke around us too much back then since we were very little and impressionable.
So was I just lucky to be born just fine while my mother smoked pregnant?
Or is there some kind of exaggeration being spread out there about the possible effects of smoking while pregnant?
I read that this professor and researcher in 1999 was asked to analyze the data of pregnant women with respect to smoking for a major health insurance company. They were running a campaign to get pregnant women to stop smoking and they expected to find interesting data to support their case.
He found that there was no risk from reduced term for smoking mothers and there was no indication of a health risk from smoking based on weight.
He said smoking women tend to light up when under stress. This is less harmful to the baby than over-eating. For this reason smoking mothers tended to have better outcomes for baby and mother.
He also said the company never released this research.
I don’t know and I’m not about to argue about this since I’m no expert, I just feel smoking may not be as bad as people say. I want to write a post on this blog about this article I read saying exactly that, but I’ll do that later.
For now I’ll just say that my mother smoking while pregnant, even though it looks like she didn’t smoke that much, didn’t affect me negatively at all from what I can tell.
And if the only “bad” effect from my mother smoking was that I eventually started smoking myself …
Well then I guess I have to thank her for that because I LOVE smoking and it makes me feels good, and in life I think people have the right to feel good as long as they’re not harming other people or animals.
What do you think?
5 thoughts on “Smoking Pregnant”
You have mentioned you have a sister. You have never mentioned that your sister smokes, so I’m assuming she doesn’t. I’m assuming your mom also smoked when she was pregnant with your sister. If your mom smoking while she was pregnant with you predisposed you to smoke then why doesn’t your sister smoke too?
Your dad is blaming your mom for all this. They are divorced. He is probably just lashing out some. Divorced people do that to each other.
You said you started smoking right after your parents got divorced. Divorce hits kids hard. Maybe your parents getting divorced is part of the reason you started to smoke.
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My sister smokes rarely, a couple of cigarettes a month or something like that. I don’t know how she does it, when I first started I didn’t want to stop! She just says she doesn’t want to be a smoker. She also puffs on the cigarette, she doesn’t really inhale. I’ve teased her a couple of times in the past about doing that, but I don’t push her. It’s her choice and I respect that. If she wanted to smoke it would be different, but she doesn’t so I don’t bother her about it. And I didn’t think of that but you’re right, my mom probably smoked when she was pregnant with my sister too, so I don’t know. I love both my parents, I guess divorced people do that, I just don’t like seeing my parents do it.
First, it is never easy to recall or relive a divorce you experienced as a teenager or child, so I am really sorry you and your sister had to endure that It isn’t surprising that many teens whose parents divorce turn to smoking. Sometimes it’s worse and they turn to premature drinking or worse substance abuse. At the time you’re looking for ways to experience something OTHER than the chaos you are enduring at home.
I can tell that you love both of your parents, and you are really close to your mother, and THAT is very cool. Very admirable. And she seems like a lovely human being.
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This is my first time reading or responding to your blog but I really like what I’ve seen on first observation. I don’t approach this topic with any degree of medical credibility, but I’ve heard from numerous pregnant smokers that their doctors advised them to simply try to cut back rather than quit entirely, because the nicotine withdrawal will have a greater effect on the mother and the fetus than the nicotine intake will. I’ve heard this from enough women that I suspect it’s the consensus medical opinion on the issue, and if true, renders the breathless hyperbole by anti-smokers about the consequences of smoking during pregnancy to be questionable.
I’d like to see figures that indicate how much more likely it is for babies to be born prematurely and/or with low birth weight among smoking mothers than nonsmoking. If it’s only 5% more likely, that seems negligible by a statistical standpoint. If it’s 25% more likely, then I guess it’s definitely a “proceed at your own risk” equation. It definitely does seem more likely that exposure to copious amounts of smoke in the womb greatly enhances the likelihood of predisposing one to take up smoking and become hooked on it later in life….and the exposure to secondhand smoke in the home likely enhances the risk of children getting asthma. Ultimately though, the current generation of middle-aged and older adults was ground zero for being exposed to secondhand smoke and being born to smoking mothers….yet somehow they’re not dropping like flies. On the contrary, life expectancy metrics are increasing to unprecedented levels….among the very people whose mothers smoked like mad when they were children. On balance, the histrionics about pregnant smoking, as with most things related to smoking, don’t seem to match the actual health statistics…..or even come close.
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Wow, thanks for that response!