Sarah* started smoking socially when she was 13 years old and has struggled with her addiction ever since. When she became pregnant with her fourth child, she had the opportunity to enroll in the First Breath program with her prenatal provider in Milwaukee. She received help, counseling, and incentives to help motivate her to cut down and eventually quit. She enrolled in the Striving To Quit, a new program that helps moms stay quit postpartum. Sarah sat down with us to talk about her journey and involvement in our programs.
Making the decision: When did you decide to quit smoking? Why did you decide to quit?
When I was pregnant with my oldest I smoked during the pregnancy, I quit when he was born because I wanted to breastfeed. I started smoking again when he was 3 months old. When I was pregnant with twins I quit when I was 3 months pregnant because I thought I had a pulmonary embolism. I started smoking again when the twins were 3 months old, they had RSV and I think it was partially due to my smoking. With my newborn, I cut down during the pregnancy-I only smoked when I would go out on the weekends. I quit when he was born and have remained quit even though I only breastfed him until he was about 6 weeks old (breastfeeding was the biggest reason I quit)!
Making the Change: How did you quit/cut back? What kinds of things did you do?
During the last pregnancy I started by cutting back- I would only smoke on weekends. Since he was born I haven’t started again because I think of his health (he has had colds and I’m scared of RSV again). Also I want to be able to run and play with being short of breath and I want to be a good role model for my twin girls.
Challenges: What were some challenges you experienced? How did you overcome these challenges?
The kids’ dad and my sister smoking was a challenge, it was hard at first- now the smell disgusts me. Stress is a big challenge. I don’t keep cigarettes in the house so there’s no temptation.
Support: What type of support did you receive from the First Breath and/or Striving to Quit? Who/what else helped you in your quit attempt?
When I was pregnant my [First Breath Provider] talked to me a bit about risks of cold turkey and suggested cutting down. Striving To Quit definitely helps. I like having someone to talk too. Being with my kids helps- they are my biggest motivators to stay quit.
Feelings: What emotions did you experience during your quit attempt? How do you feel now that you have quit/cutdown?
I was always disappointed when I started to smoke again, like I was trying to do something good and now I’m back again. My goal moving forward is to stay quit. I’m super proud of myself now!!
Benefits: What are the most important benefits that you’ve noticed so far?
It’s easier to breath now and I’m not as tired. My baby would be much sicker if I smoked. Also I have a little more money in my pocket.
Goals: What are your goals moving forward?
Stay quit! Also, I would like to go back to school.
Advice: What advice do you have for other moms trying to quit?
Kids should be the biggest motivation; you can see them right in front of you. Everyone is different though, do what works for you.
Our programs have helped thousands of women like Sarah. For more information, please visit us www.wwhf.org and click on programs or contact Kristine Alaniz, Perinatal Health Program Manager, at email@example.com. You can also check out “First Breath Moms” a website designed for pregnant women and new moms who are working to become- and stay – smoke-free!