Pregnant daughter, smoking gun

Generation gap: The daughter; The mother
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Indy Lifestyle Online
The daughter

`My baby's kicking because it's healthy'

My great-grandma smoked stronger fags than I do - black Sobranies - and more than me. She lived to be 91 and everyone says I'm just like her. If you're going to die, you're going to die. I started smoking ages ago, when I was 13, and I smoked at home. I used to stick my clothes along the crack at the bottom of my bedroom door and smoke out of the window.

You're not meant to smoke when you're pregnant, but people do and have bright children. It doesn't damage the children's lungs - they just manage with a bit less oxygen. The doctors just say the birthweight will a be a bit lighter. I know someone who had an 8lb baby who smoked all the way through to her second pregnancy; that baby was only 2oz lighter. My friend smoked all the time and her three kids are really bright.

My mum is hypocritical. She used to smoke; she let the builders smoke in her house, and they dropped ash on the carpets. Every time she tells me not to, I want to smoke more. She makes me conscious of it. If she wasn't here, I wouldn't be smoking. I'd be watching telly.

We won't smoke in front of the baby once its born; we'll go into another room. We'll smoke in the kitchen or dining room when the baby's awake, and at night, it will have its door shut. We'll have a baby alarm.

If you're going to get cancer, you'll get it anyway. Lots of our family died of cancer. Roy Castle died of cancer and he never smoked. I think passive smoking is more dangerous. That way, the smoke reaching the baby isn't filtered, but my cigarettes are filtered. My lungs are healthy. I don't get out of breath going up and down stairs or doing aerobics. I did that smoking test where you blow into a bag, and my lungs are really healthy. My baby is kicking because it's healthy.

I'd give up just like that, but Mick can't; his job's too stressful. What's the point of me giving up if I'll be doing passive smoking from his? I could be worse - I could be taking drugs, but I don't because it makes me feel funny. And what makes me feel funny will make me baby feel funny. And I don't drink, because drinking makes you feel bad about yourself, and that will make the baby feel bad. But all cigarettes do is calm me down, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, and I might as well die unstressed.

The mother

`Her baby is fighting for its breath'

Martine's grandparents both died very young of smoke-related illnesses - throat cancer and lung cancer - and so my children never knew those grandparents.

You're given a beautiful child that you love and nurture for however many years, then she does this to herself. Her eyes are dull, her hair loses its sheen, her skin grows sallow. The smell is repulsive - her clothes reek. She daren't tell her grandma or her brother that she smokes. They'd be so angry. She's frightened to admit it.

I stopped 25 years ago when I was pregnant with Jose. Norman was a heavy smoker but he gave up completely before Martine was born because I made him do it.

Lots of parents smoke and tell their children not to. We tried to set a good example. We never let anyone smoke at home when they were little. If I took them anywhere and people started smoking, I'd rush out.

But Martine has never seen anyone die - someone with bronchitis, then emphysema, like her uncle. He can't breathe without a nebuliser. She's never seen anyone die because they couldn't breathe at all.

She was so health-conscious when she was younger. She wrote a poem about not testing cosmetics on rabbits and here she is harming her own baby. I thought she'd have more sense. Also, cigarettes are an appetite suppressant and she wants to stay looking like a stick insect while she's pregnant.

I'm worried about the baby. She knows that if she smokes, there is more likelihood of a cot death, or the baby being stillborn. If it's born alive, it'll weigh less, have more chest infections and be less intelligent. If it's any less intelligent than Martine, it will probably start smoking itself. Her baby is kicking because it's fighting for breathn

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