Mr Ayak's cousin, Derya, and her husband, who visited us on Saturday, are expecting their first baby in November. They have been married for just over a year, and are very happy and excited about the baby.
She's a very intelligent young woman, well educated and very westernised in her outlook on life. After they had been here for 5 minutes or so, she lit up a cigarette. And she continued to smoke throughout the afternoon.
I was very shocked, and it's been on my mind ever since. Of course I didn't comment on it at the time. What would be the point? She must know the risks, and it's her choice.
But it did get me wondering about when we started to find this practise shocking...obscene even?
I've been a smoker most of my life, but I gave up when I was pregnant with my first child some 30 years ago. In fact I didn't smoke again for 9 years, which saw me through the birth of my second child, and through the formative years of both of my children. I don't think I'd have taken up the weeds again if it hadn't been for the stress of a messy divorce.
If we go back to my parents' generation, things were very different. My mother was a heavy smoker, and she continued to smoke through all three of her pregnancies, but she produced three large very healthy babies. We were brought up in an environment of cigarette smoke. No-one ever considered that passive smoking could be harmful. And it would seem that it didn't actually harm any of us.
Most of my daughter's generation are obsessed with avoiding absolutely anything that can harm their unborn child. When my daughter was pregnant with Billy, anyone who smoked would not be allowed within a 100 yards of her. And through information so freely available these days, she knew all the foods that should be avoided, and all the risks that should not be taken.
I am still one of those people who is yet to be convinced that passive smoking is really harmful. I believe there is so much pollution in the atmosphere anyway, from traffic etc, that smoking makes up a very small part of that. But having said that, I have always respected others' beliefs, and would never just light up a cigarette in the company of non-smokers without their permission.
I wonder then why I almost had this feeling of disgust at seeing Derya smoking? Have we been brainwashed in recent years to believe that smoking is more harmful than anything else? And that the sight of a pregnant woman smoking is obscene? It seems that way to me.
What do you think?