Daily Camera (Boulder)

Co-worker worries about smoking while pregnant

- Contact Amy Dickinson via email, askamy@ amydickins­on.com.

DEAR AMY >> I am a waitress. One of my co-workers is six months pregnant.

Every time she takes a break, she goes out back and smokes cigarettes.

Sometimes she smokes weed.

She has been smoking ever since I started here, four months ago.

I’m a mind-your-ownbusines­s kind of person, but I have witnessed a family member suffer from asthma.

I know that smoking while pregnant increases the chance of the baby having breathing problems.

I know that my coworker goes to the doctor for prenatal care and stuff, but every time she takes a break, my heart sinks and I feel guilty.

Should I say something to her, and if so, what can I say?

— Worried

DEAR WORRIED >> Your coworker is likely under a lot of stress. She is working at a relatively low-wage, physically demanding job while pregnant.

Rihanna may make it all look easy — but for many women, pregnancy presents a myriad of extremely stressful situations.

It is common knowledge that smoking is bad for one’s health and that smoking while pregnant could negatively affect the unborn baby’s health. If your co-worker is seeing her doctor regularly for prenatal visits, then this will have been emphasized many times.

No one should smoke weed while working or while pregnant.

Marijuana affects the mother’s cognition, coordinati­on, and reaction time.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administra­tion (SAMHSA.GOV):

“No amount of marijuana has been proven safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeed­ing. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics released its first official guidelines, advising women who are pregnant or nursing to avoid marijuana use because it isn’t safe for them or their children.

“Whether smoked, eaten in food (edibles), or vaped, marijuana is stronger than ever before, which makes use during pregnancy especially risky for a developing baby’s health. Marijuana contains nearly 500 chemicals, including the mind-altering compound tetrahydro­cannabinol (THC). These chemicals can pass through a woman’s placenta to her baby during pregnancy.”

I think you could have the greatest influence on your co-worker by getting to know her and by trying to discourage her from ingesting pot. Be non-judgmental and compassion­ate toward her. She may tell you that she is using pot to treat nausea or to boost her appetite. Ask her, “Have you asked your doctor about that?”

DEAR AMY >> My older brother and I have always had a difficult relationsh­ip. One day before our 52nd wedding anniversar­y, my wife died.

I called my sister, and asked if she could inform our older brother of my wife’s death.

He has had nothing to do with me for over 15 years. I do not have his address or phone number, or even know what state he is living in.

My sister did relay the news to him.

Over the two months since my wife’s death, I have received letters and cards from friends all over the world.

There has been nothing from my brother or his family.

Was I asking too much of him to at least acknowledg­e my wife’s death?

— Devastated Brother

DEAR DEVASTATED >> I’m so sorry you have experience­d this very tough loss.

Your brother’s choice not to express his condolence­s seems to be taking up more space than the many expression­s of sympathy you’ve received from so many others.

You are not required to do anything right now, except to feel your feelings and try your hardest to keep your heart open to those who you know love and care about you.

If this continues to eat away at you, you could get your brother’s contact informatio­n from your sister and reach out to him.

You are disappoint­ed that he has kept his silence of so many years, especially through this tough period. Do you want to try to forge a path toward communicat­ion now? If so, then you should say so, plainly — expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing.

I want to add a strong caution: You cannot pull someone to the table if they don’t want to come. Your brother may not have the emotional tools to accept any bid you extend. This is another loss you may have to accept.

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