When 23-year-old Natasha became pregnant with her third child, she knew she had to quit smoking for the health of her baby. After getting expert help from specialist stop smoking advisors, she has now been enjoying a smoke-free life with her two young children and newborn daughter for a year.
“I started smoking when I was 18. I’d smoked for five years, but when I found out I was pregnant with my third daughter, Alexia, I knew I would have to stop smoking for good. I’d tried to quit before throughout my other pregnancies, but as I didn’t have any support, I ended up starting again.
Being pregnant became my motivation to stop smoking. I gradually cut down my cigarettes, then a few weeks later I just quit. I’d had enough. But I knew I would need more support as I was experiencing a lot of stress and didn’t want to start smoking again like before, so I got in touch with the stop smoking service.
The help I received from the stop smoking service was really good. I didn’t have much support around me from my family, but the stop smoking service advisors were so helpful. I struggled with feeling like I wanted to smoke when I was pregnant because it’s stressful and emotional, but I could call or text the service whenever I needed – they were so supportive.
A few days after I quit was the hardest. I didn’t realise that you have to change your routine to change your habit – I was doing everything the same and there were just gaps when I would usually be having a cigarette and I didn’t know what to do with myself. The stop smoking service told me to change my routine and it really worked.
Before, on a morning, I would get up and see to my daughters – Lydia and Sophia – then have a cigarette. Changing my routine made it a lot easier – I started to swap around the things I would do for my girls on a morning so that it would pass the time after when I’d usually have a cigarette. Keeping busy with my daughters meant I didn’t even realise I’d missed my usual morning smoke.
The stop smoking service offered me nicotine replacement treatment to help with cravings, but I found that it wasn’t for me, so I dealt with my cravings by playing with my kids! I’d play games with them and go out to places with them and it took my mind off wanting to smoke. I used to spend over £80 on cigarettes a week, but now I have quit I can use the money to spend on my kids.
My advice to someone wanting to quit smoking is to make sure you have the support there first. When I tried to quit for the first time I found it hard as I didn’t have anyone around me for support – but this time I had the stop smoking service there with me.
One of the best things about quitting smoking is that when I breastfeed Alexia, the smoke isn’t on my breath. Smoking also reduces your milk supply when you are breastfeeding so I know I am doing the best for her now. She is doing really well which makes me want to never go back to smoking. I don’t like it when someone has been smoking and wants to hold Alexia – I am really protective of her health.
I feel positive about not smoking – I eat more than I used to, I have more energy and I feel healthier. I walk through town and I don’t want to smoke, I like the fresh air. Instead of thinking “I need a cig”, I look at my daughters and they keep me going. I’m doing it for my girls.”