You did it right. You quit smoking through your pregnancy. It was a no-brainer to protect your baby's health. But now that the baby's here and you find yourself stressed and exhausted, cigarettes are slowly sneaking their way back into your life. Guess what? You're not alone. In fact, new research shows that about a third of moms who quit smoking during pregnancy find themselves picking up smoking again after the baby is born.
It makes perfect sense. Now that you've delivered the baby your body's job is done. After nine long months, you're ready to go back to who you were before the sleepless nights. You remember hanging out with your friends in your skinny jeans, talking trash and smoking. And that sounds downright glamorous compared to your lonely days spent with Caillou and a screaming baby. And sometimes sneaking a cigarette is a quick way to revisit that life. Not that you're unhappy. But being a new mom is hard and stressful, and according to research, smoking is a really common way for women to cope with those emotions.
More from The Stir: Smoking Cigarettes While Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?
And let's keep it real. Smoking helps you lose weight, and dropping baby pounds is also on the minds of most new moms.
We'll skip the standard bit about how terrible smoking is for you and how you want to live long enough to raise your baby, because you already know that. But it's easy for mothers -- particularly new, tired moms -- to abandon all concern for themselves and their own well-being because they're putting it all into keeping that little baby alive. But try to remember to take care of yourself. And ditching the smokes is the best place to start.
But if you happen to find yourself in the bathroom sneaking a cigarette, just know you're not alone. There are plenty of women who turn to their tried-and-true emotional crutches during the first few months of motherhood, and smoking is a powerful addiction. Ask for help. Ask for support.
For the non-smoking moms out there, let's try and be a little less judgmental of our fellow mamas who turn to nicotine in tough times. Whether your go-to is Chardonnay, brownies, Xanax, or the treadmill, we're all doing the very best we can for our kids. Let's take it easy on each other and show a little kindness for our fellow moms in the trenches -- whether they crave a cigarette to cope or not.
Image via © VOISIN/PHANIE/phanie/Phanie Sarl/Corbis