Freelancing and pregnancy: A beginner's guide
So I’m pregnant. And a freelancer. And following plenty of celebrations came the worry about how I’d balance work with house work with a baby on top. You see despite a world that proclaims to be increasingly equal in terms of what is expected from us our the previously fairer gender, I still feel decidedly under pressure. But, as recent research shows, these pressures may, at least in part, be explained by monetary demands, such as a mortgage and an ongoing pursuit of financial gain, rather than imbalanced expectations between the males and females of this world.
Freelancing and pregnancy: The worry about work
I continually worry about how much work is in the pipeline (if it seems too little I wonder how I’ll manage financially and if it seems too much it feels like I’ll never get everything done, particularly when there’s dinner to cook and washing to rush through); as well as this I now have a future that must also consider something soon to become the most precious thing in the world. So with this in mind I wanted to take a look, initially, at the ways in which I could change little things to make the difference required for my upcoming and altogether rather different life.
Tips for staying successful as a freelancer through pregnancy and beyond
1. Realise that during pregnancy some clients may just have to wait
I’ve always endeavored to reply to my client’s questions almost as soon as they hit my inbox, and throughout my freelancing career I can't recall one late project… until that positive pregnancy test that is. With raging hormones and a rather temperamental ability to focus and work for long hours, I simply couldn’t cope with the same workloads.
Whilst not every pregnant woman will be the same, and many may maintain the same work levels practically until they give birth, I’d like to say that cutting back on your work is OK, particularly as stress levels are arguably linked to everything from underweight babies right through to stillbirth (with stressed mothers actually suffering from double the risk of stillbirth). So go easy on yourself, nap when you want and try to give yourself a break from stressing just for 9 months!
2. Assess your finances
You may have read the above point and thought that cutting back on work is a far and distant fantasy, and that your financial ties just won’t allow for even an hour in reduced working time. To this end it’s essential that you give your finances a complete overhaul. Look at each of your outgoings, can you switch to cheaper providers? Do you need all of the things that you’re paying for? Or are there old direct debits there that are no longer relevant? You should also work out a budget as to what you spend, and see where savings can be made. For me this has been the cutting back in take aways and savvier shopping at a food wholesalers (as well as a £50 and £40 a month saving made by switching energy suppliers and car insurers respectively).
3. Consider your revenue streams
Have you ever considered passive income that earns without you required to do anything at all? Well websites such as this one provide an opportunity to earn passive income, although its not without plenty of initial hard work. In the most basic terms this involves you publishing writings, that can be about almost anything that you can imagine. You can share your professional expertise, or write upon topics that merely interest you. What’s more you needn’t be professionally or academically trained to write, you merely have to be able to engage, and hold reasonable spelling and grammatical skills.
4. Be prepared for baby brain
There is much debate around whether or not ‘baby brain’ exists (for those who don’t know, this is generally where expectant mothers become frequently forgetful or a little confused when multi-tasking), however, myth or not, your hormones will be running wild and with so many changes going on you’ll likely need a helping organisational hand that you didn’t require before. This can be as simple as keeping a notepad by your side, or taking to a new calendar system (I love the Google Calendar App for this… it’s a god send!).
Do you think that freelancing has more cons than pros when it comes to pregnancy?
Final thoughts on balancing pregnancy and new motherhood with freelancing
Being a working mum is never going to be easy, and is arguably made all the more stressful if you’re a self-employed freelancer without the reassurance of paid maternity leave. Whilst I’m yet to experience working with a newborn I am working towards a rebalancing of my work loads through the building of a passive income.