Chrisse Swan admits to smoking while pregnant

Csn of worms host Chrissie Swan made a confession on radio this morning

An emotional Chrissie Swan has broken down and tearfully confessed on Melbourne radio this morning to her ‘‘shameful secret’’ of being caught smoking by paparazzi during her third pregnancy, forcing her to come clean to her family and husband that she failed to give up the habit, despite knowing the harms of smoking while pregnant.

‘I have struggled terribly with totally giving up cigarettes since I found out I was pregnant,started a cleary emotional Swan

‘Up until about six years ago I was what you call a full-time smoker. I really gave it a nudge in my 20s, as a lot of us did. Then I met ‘the Chippie’ (husband Chris) who has never smoked and I cut back a lot. Jamie (co-host), you knew me then…then I got pregnant with Leo and I quit completely for a couple of years, which was fantastic.

‘‘Now sadly, I picked it up about a year ago and I was what I would call a ‘not really smoker’. I never smoked at home and I never smoked around my family. I’d just sneak a few here and there and I know I’m not alone in this. Mainly I would do it in the car, in fact, I would only do it in the car when I was certain that I was alone.’’

Discovering she was pregnant six months ago was ‘‘a massive surprise’’ and that she ‘‘tried to go cold turkey’’ like she had done with her son Leo.

 

‘‘And I was confident that I could do, but I couldn’t do it. I just failed and failed, time after time. I’d win for a few days then I would have a cigarette and feel terrible and racked with guilt and I would get stressed out and hid have one again. Giving up is so hard and I’ve really learned that in the last six months.’’

 

Swan was adamant she is not using excuses: ‘‘These are not excuses, there are no excuses for smoking, absolutely none. I don’t have one.’’ She said she looked online for ways to quit and learned the first step was to find the right time – but her hectic schedule was her downfall.

 

‘‘Ordinarily that would be the easiest step of all but at the time I was so busy and had so much on. I had two radio shows, Can Of Worms had just started, a new TV show, interstate travel every week, a weekly column, a relationship, a house to run – I was selling my house, I was trying to find somewhere else to live – I have a four-year-old and Kit wasn’t even one-year-old yet and there didn’t seem to be any time at all, let alone the right time, so I kept trying and falling

 

wan says she would beat herself up over her constant failure to not light up and would make deals with herself to justify the habit.

‘‘The constant disappointment and feeling of failure made me come up with a compromise with myself – so stupid – but I made a deal I would go easy on myself and smoke a few a week, only when absolutely necessary. After work. Alone in the car. And I figured it couldn’t do any damage and let me deal with properly quitting when I wasn’t so busy later on.’’

It was only after she was snapped by paparazzi mid-puff that she was confronted with being exposed.

‘‘Well, two days ago a photographer followed me in my car after work and took a photo of me having that sneaky cigarette – it was my first for the week. I begged for the photographers not to run the story because I know how bad it looks – it is bad – and I told them it was a deeply shameful secret, that no one knew I was having these five cigarettes a week. Not my mum, not my best friend, not my partner…because it’s so the secret that is the most shameful – is the hardest to ask for help about.

Holding back the tears, Swan did not hold back on her shame, saying: ‘‘Here’s the truth. Obviously I know it’s wrong I’m not an idiot, no smoker wants to smoke – especially when they are pregnant – but it is clearly an addiction and a very serious one – because it can cloud your judgment and make the unthinkable somehow okay.

‘‘As a listener to this show, you know I’m devoted to my children. I would never do anything to harm them and yet, here I am having five cigarettes and justifying it. It’s madness, I cannot explain it.

‘‘I knew it was wrong that there is so much terrible judgment that only awful people and bad parents and idiots and bogans smoke during pregnancy – and I didn’t feel like I belonged in any of those categories – so I kept it all under wraps and dealt with it how I could.

‘‘I felt there was no-one I could confess this to – no-one I could say ‘what can I do? This is hard for me’. I was able to give up so easily with the others so I self-analysed and decided that this way was the way I could get through it and keep the show on the road, in terms of work and family commitments, until the forced cold turkey of hospital.

Swan signed off with: ‘‘So here I am. I’m so embarrassed. I’ve never said that I was perfect but I’m also kind of relieved that I’ve been forced to come clean – but is it just me or is it easier to give up cigarettes?

Since the broadcast, Swan has released a statement and taken her profile off Twitter. She says she was forced to acknowledge her addiction when her secret was about to become public.

‘‘This week has been difficult and confronting on so many levels, but in many ways I am grateful I was caught in the act, it has forced me to come clean to those I love and to seek real solutions for me to kick it for good,’’ she said in the statement.

‘‘I’m horrified that even though I know that smoking whilst pregnant is bad for my child, I couldn’t stop, I’d try but I couldn’t, telling myself just one can’t be too bad, knowing that it was. When you’re in denial you can justify anything.

“It’s made me realise that addiction is very real and not just something that happens to other people. I don’t have to go through this alone and am thankful for my wonderful family and friends who are supporting me through this.”

 

sources Sydney morning herald

If You need help to quit  Quitline 131 848 is a free confidential telephone based service primarily designed to help smokers quit smoking.