There will be vice as long as there are men.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

When friends whom I've not seen for a long time found out that I was pregnant, usually the first thing they ask (after they recover from their initial shock) is:

"So did you stop drinking and smoking when you were pregnant?"

Ok... so I have my vices, and these two were top of the list. I had my share of fun in my teens and 20s, and undoubtedly, I hung out with like minded friends who enjoyed the nightly tipple (if you can call it that!) and between all of us, we would make the Marlboro man extremely happy.

Once upon a time, being in the industry that I have chosen - our only avenue for entertainment was to catch up with friends after work. At 11.00pm, earliest and after midnight... there were really not that many options. We clubbed and played pool, knew everybody by name, and there were no scheduled meet ups or gatherings. We just had to turn up nightly at our usual hangout, and we would be in for a couple of hours of letting our hair down, crazy fun and laughter.

I drank and danced... but I drew the line on drugs. We had good clean fun, most of it in an alcohol induced haze. We went to work diligently the next day, sometimes making a mental note to *never* drink again - only to have the cycle repeat all over again that very same night. We made friends, we made enemies, we laughed, cried, and laughed some more. We did crazy things on a dare, and we did stupid things just because we can.

Now I'm extremely particular about still maintaining decorum at all times, especially when alcohol is involved, and inhibitions can sometimes be shed without preamble. I think it's important for a woman (not being sexist or anything!) to know her limits, because there's really nothing more atrocious than having to be dragged out / carried out in an unconscious state out of a club. It is simply unnecessary, not to mention does wonders to the reputation. Bear in mind that this was long before the age of social media, camera phones and Youtube... needless to say, it is even more essential now if we want to at least maintain a semblance of dignity while we laugh too loudly at non-silly jokes, or dance crazily to a jungle beat.

Those crazy days!

Then I grew old.
I realised that I couldn't hold the drinks as well as I could previously, so I decided to do the extreme thing and cut down drastically.

I went out only once a month, at the most... and the again, drank only a few glasses instead of guzzling down the brandy bottle. I still smoked, but once we stopped actively participating in the nightlife, we are apt to actually cut down a whole lot of sticks.

When I got pregnant, as I mentioned here, the first thing the hubs did was to remind me that I should stop smoking. Not that I needed the reminder... I automatically did. I thought it would be hard to go cold turkey, but surprisingly, there simply was no urge to smoke at all. During the first few days after we found out, the husband actually offered for me to light his cigarette so as to 'ease' the stoppage, but I found that after the 2nd time I did that - the little taste of tobacco on my tongue actually made me sick. I steered clear of cigarette smoke after that, not only for baby, but because I couldn't take the smell. In a show of support, the husband also stopped smoking at home, and when he occasionally wants to, he will do it out of the house.

I was blessed with an easy pregnancy, and was fortunate not to have to experience the horrors of morning sickness or fatigue. The only three things which made me instantly want to puke my guts out were cigarette smoke, bak kwa (pork jerky) and sardines.

For health reasons, smoking is a major cause of destruction even for adults, imagine the effects it would have on a growing foetus and a newborn - especially in the form of 2nd hand smoke. Of course, I have friends who smoked and drank heavily their entire pregnancy, and baby still came out fine... but seriously though - why risk it? Having said that, I believe that every woman should be free to handle her pregnancy and baby in the way that she's most comfortable with.

I am the least judgemental person ever - at least I try not to be, preferring to think that different people have different reasons for choosing their lifestyle or for doing the things they opt to do. We aren't really the best judges of right and wrong according to someone whose life we are not privy to, and as much as I hate people judging me, I am very insistent on practising what I preach. However, I really don't know what to think when I see parents smoking with kids in tow, either at a restaurant or while out and about.

The hubs and I will think - why can't they take turns to smoke? Is it very necessary for them to have to smoke together with the kids around them? We gather that chances are they smoke at home as well... so smoking in front of the kids (and exposing them to 2nd hand smoke) is nothing out of the ordinary, but I still don't get it.

We were in the cab queue at IMM a few months back, and there was this young mother who was carrying her baby in a harness. She stood near the big bin (where there were others smoking as well) and started puffing away. I was flabbergasted... and I daresay - so were the 10 odd people who were in the queue with me. I then saw the people who were smoking around the bin actually move away, with a couple stubbing out their newly-lit cigarette before walking off.

Maybe I take this issue way too seriously than I should, but even though the hubs and I smoke, I would like to delay the exposure to the BabyMoo as long as I can. I would not like to practise double standards and totally insist that he lay off the cigarettes and threaten all manner of craziness should I perchance find out that he's been smoking on the sly in the future, but I do hope that he will make an informed decision regarding contributing more to the Government coffers.

As for me - yes, the urge came back with a vengeance after I gave birth, especially during the crazy nights when I was so tired and needed some relaxation therapy. However, the hubs and I don't smoke at home any more, neither do we smoke when we're out with BabyMoo. I've cut down drastically from a pack a day habit to perhaps the odd cigarette or two during the day... and more when there's good company to keep. I've totally ditched the alcohol, and I realised that there is totally no desire to go dancing till ungodly hours when there is a much better reason for me to stay home. In fact, there is no question as to where I'd rather be, than home with the baby.

I think I've had my share of fun back in those days, enough to make me realise that it gets old. The same faces at the same old place, drinking the same drinks and dancing to the same tunes. Been there, done that.

The sun rises, the night falls... and the beat goes on for a lot of other people, just not for me.
I can be doing nothing and everything, but whatever is the case, I am happy and contented, in the warmth of my family's embrace.


  1. Thanks for sharing an upfront post! :) I still maintain I am very innocent. Honestly. No vices... except, I played a lot of mahjong for fun when I was preggie... does that count?

    1. MJ is NOT considered a vice! :D

      I desperately want to learn... but never could get the hang of it. I had a headache trying to memorise all the characters and counting bamboo!

  2. Nice one, Regina! I also don't understand when I see mums pushing their kids in stroller and having a ciggie between their fingers. Why why why!

    1. I suppose they think since they smoke at home... so there isn;t a difference when it's done outdoors? In fact, healthier cos of the 'open space'?

      I don't know. I tried hard to create excuses for them - but there is simply no valid reason to!

  3. Good for you for kicking the habit. Think the motherly instinct in you naturally came out when you found out you were pregnant. What's important is to set an example for your son now too.

  4. Susan, it's weird how the body actually responds to pregnancy, ya? I'm actually convinced that it psyches itself up to protect the baby even from the womb itself... and our mind actually follows suit.

    Either ways, it's a truly amazing thing.

  5. It's amazing what motherhood can do :) Keep it up! It's important to kick some of these bad habits that may affect our kids' health. In the past few months, I keep getting cigarette smell coming into my home, it has never happened in all these years I've stayed here. It drives me crazy - especially when I know that it can affect our health, esp that of my son. If I know who is doing it, I'm gonna give him some damn good advice against smoking!

  6. I like the new "Help Him Quit!" ads now... most people don't realise that as much as they like to endanger their own health, other people wouldn't be keen to!

    Yes - motherhood has been nothing short of a life changing experience, in more ways than one.

  7. Not easy I know cas I also stopped smoking the minute I learnt I was pregnant with Aden. Before I was pregnant with Jadelyn, Max and I would (once in a blue moon) go out and have dinner and smoke and drink to out hearts' content. Just for that one night when Aden was with his Por Por. But we both admit that the cigarettes and alcohol simply do not taste as good as they once did, and staying out till wee hours partying and drinking, well, like you said, simply cannot compete with staying in with the kid(s). :)

    1. Kids change us, D... and admittedly for the better, in more ways than one!



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