How women entrepreneurs can successfully run a business while getting pregnant and having a newborn? My story!
My life changed completely after having my son. I am sure it is that way for any parent.
After having a kid, your life, your thoughts and your family are never the same as before, right?
Not only in the “nice” sense. But also the other way.
Sleep is something I totally missed for the first few months after my son was born. And it is the same with my daughter.
As I am writing this post I have a cute little bundle of joy sleeping “like a baby” in the crib, just next to my chair. She’s 6 weeks old (at the time of writing this post).
Having a baby and running a business can go hand in hand – but it is not that easy, unless you prep yourself!
Women entrepreneurs have to go through this challenge if they plan to expand their family while also running a business.
The entrepreneurial clock and biological clock often interfere at inappropriate times – but you have to keep it going as a woman if you want to get the best of both worlds.
Having said that, I must indicate here that you don’t “have to” keep it going if you are struggling with anything. It is not a must and you should not let the pressure build up.
However, having a child (or getting pregnant) doesn’t mean you should let your business fade away. You can still get the best of both worlds.
It just needs some planning, discipline, determination and smart work (read that as being “super woman”).
Let me share the exact steps that worked for me!
Plan well ahead
As soon as I knew I was pregnant (which was a complete surprise, by the way), I started to think about my business.
While you are pregnant, you have three stages – three trimesters – each have different climate! But you should also include your fourth trimester into consideration – the first few months after childbirth.
And most women entrepreneurs forget to think about the fourth trimester. It is the most challenging parts of all, I tell you.
Anyway, it is never the same as before (you got pregnant). So you will have to plan accordingly well in advance.
In my case, the first thing I did was to plan out my editorial calendar. I didn’t want my sites to go abandoned while I am busily taking care of my baby.
So I first sat down and brainstormed content ideas for days throughout my pregnancy and as well as for 4 months after my estimated delivery date.
I then started creating that content. I just worked when I can (more about this in the next point) and created as much content as I can in advance.
I use Asana for my editorial calendar. I put up the posts in the calendar for my VA to work on the images, formatting and links. All the posts were scheduled for publishing well in advance!
I wrote the content for my main sites myself (as usual) and outsourced content for my other sites also in advance.
I cut down on certain one-on-one services by letting my clients know in advance.
I also planned my finances so I had reserves even if there is a dip in income during my off time (stress is definitely not acceptable).
So you need to basically think about anything and everything related to business and sort things out.
Remember, you won’t be able to take care of everything once you get pregnant and have a baby, as you were doing before that.
So sort things out – either do things in advance, or outsource so you don’t have to worry about yourself, your baby and your business all at the same time.
Take advantage of your energy times
I did this and I am pretty sure that this helped me with my sorting things out in advance.
With pregnancy, the first and the third trimesters are challenging. The second trimester is the easiest of the three.
Nevertheless, during the entire course of your pregnancy, you will have up and down times. That’s totally normal.
On some days I would feel as if I can conquer the world – full of energy and enthusiasm. On some days I would feel as if hit by a truck and would be in bed all day.
Initially I would get frustrated on days when I’m tired and unable to do any work according to my schedule.
But then I realised that it is not about sticking to the schedule but getting things done – even if I do stuff out of schedule!
So I let my pregnancy body and hormones take the lead while pregnant, and the baby take the lead once I delivered her.
This means, no more strict working hours. I worked when I had the energy. I just chilled when I was tired, fatigued or felt sick.
I worked when the baby took a nap. I just spent time with her when she needed me.
I just had to take things easily and accept the fact that this is how I can make things work.
Although, I should admit that the first 30 days after delivery were quite hectic (my recovery, the cranky and confused baby who wanted to be fed all the time, my hormones, sleepless nights and what not!).
However once I crossed the 30d mark, things began to get to shape and I had to make my schedule flexible to make things work.
The key is to work smart. Don’t be too rigid with your schedule.
Let life take the lead – and when you have the time, work on the most important tasks in an efficient manner.
Let me tell you this – no matter how much of a super woman you are, you cannot do everything by yourself. First you have to accept that fact.
Once you have accepted that, it is time to think about how to fill that gap where your input will reduce.
Solution? Get help!
Again, a simple solution.
I am sure you will be surprised to know how people will happily help you if you just ask. Start from your family and friends.
Ideally, having your mom by the side will be a lot of help. If that’s not possible, your mother in-law or a bestie can be of great help. Just ask.
Let someone help you with cooking and the dishes. You might want to outsource cleaning too.
If friends are visiting you, don’t hesitate to ask them to bring some food if possible.
On the business side, I opened up guest posts on my blog and got help from my blogging pals (special thanks to Ryan and Fabrizio for taking the lead) – so I got some content to fill my calendar especially during the first month after my delivery.
I also got extra help than usual from my VA (and let him know that it will be so for the next couple of months).
In addition, I just let other members of the family take in charge of paying the bills which is usually my thing.
Let your employees and clients know
This is very important. If you skip this step you will create unwanted chaos and misunderstandings that will lead to stress.
And not to mention, you will certainly ruin your reputation when you leave your clients wondering what happened and why you are not responding to their support tickets and emails!
I sent out a mass email to all my clients notifying them of my pregnancy and my estimated delivery date (though, my girl arrived as a surprise 1 week earlier).
I also explained them about my limited presence for the next four weeks after my delivery.
I told my website maintenance clients about what support queries we will be able to attend (like site down emergency queries) and what queries will be put on hold while I’m busy with my girl.
And I was really surprised with the support and love I got from my clients. They were so understanding and cooperative!
Enjoy every moment you come across
Getting pregnant and having a baby is not going to happen everyday in your life. It is a rare moment – and occurs once, twice or three times (or more :)) in your life.
It is not an everyday thing.
So enjoy this time as much as you can.
While your business is very important, enjoying the time with your baby and giving your baby your full attention is also very crucial.
And that is not going to last forever.
Soon you will not have a baby in your arms, and you will not get a chance to stare into those eyes while feeding, or to count those cute little fingers.
Your business will be there for you to take care even after this “phase” has passed. But your baby will grow up very soon, will become a toddler, a teen and then to a very grown up man or a woman.
So do not deny the time with your newborn for spending time on your business.
Work for limited hours efficiently and then proceed to give your full to your baby. It is all about getting the preferences right.
Stay positive (really important)
Staying positive not only helps with business, but also helps with parenting (especially to cope with the initial blues and the hormonal roller coaster) and your personal self.
And your personal self is far more important than anything else (more on this below).
You will have to cope with the stress that occurs due to the inability to work on your business, because you will be spending most of your time with the baby.
You will be spending most of the time feeding the baby, changing diapers, rocking the baby to sleep and things like that – while, at the same time, thinking about all the stuff you could have accomplished for your business.
That would be mentally tiring and will cause stress. Which is why you should equip yourself with positive thoughts.
And you should surround yourself with people who can surround yourself with positive vibes. Keep negativity off the fence and you will be just fine.
Take good care of yourself (more important than anything else)
Having a newborn around means you will have very less time to take care of yourself.
The baby will take up a lot of your time – as I just said, feeding, changing diapers, rocking the baby to sleep, and things like this – will take up most of your day and night.
Sleep will be something you will begin to long for. I envy my hubby and son as they are having a sound sleep at night while I walk across the bedroom rocking my baby to sleep or sit alone breastfeeding her!
Things can be tough – but you must remember they won’t last long.
Since you are so occupied, you might not have time even to take a shower or to tie your hair. But taking care of yourself is really important – and I mean it.
You must find time to take your supplements, take a shower, rest, sleep (as they say, while the baby sleeps – but I know how challenging that can be), eat a nutritious food, stay active, stay hydrated and pretty much anything you need to do to keep your body and mind healthy.
It is because, having a healthy body and a healthy mind is not only important for your well being, but also very important to keep your business running during these tough times.
There you go – here are the tips that helped me to carry on with my business while being pregnant and also while having my baby girl.
The initial times are pretty hectic – but they pass too soon. Mine are yet to pass 🙂 (at the time of writing this post).
I won’t deny the fact that the thought of quitting my business temporarily for a couple of years or more until I can send her to a play school did cross my mind.
But I dismissed the thought as much as I can and held on to continuing with my business. I kept telling to myself that this is just a “phase” and that it will pass – which is the truth anyway.
Just enjoy the time with your baby, and work efficiently. But remember, in order to work efficiently you will need to have a plan at hand.
I made that plan while I was pregnant and having the time and energy on my own – do not wait until the baby arrives!
Once the baby arrives, things will not be under your control.
But if you have a plan, it is quite easy to stick to it and run a business pretty successfully while enjoying motherhood.
Let me know your thoughts.
By the way if you are interested in knowing how I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight in less than 3 weeks, check out this post!