Pregnant Professionals: How to run a Business with a Bun in the Oven
When I was pregnant with my first child, I would come home from work at the end of each day, sit down in my favorite chair, and think to myself “how am I going to do this?”
It took a while to find an answer, not all my ideas paid off as well as I’d hoped, but with my first child playing with her toys by my feet while my second child incubates inside me, I think it’s safe to say I’ve gotten it figured out.
The key to balancing your professional life alongside your pregnancy is simple: admit you need help.
I know that sounds a little defeatist, but try to think of it more like delegating. A smart manager knows better than to take on all assignments alone, just as a smart mother knows to build up a network of friends and family she can turn to for help. Running a business is stressful enough, doing so while carrying or caring for a baby only amplifies the exhaustion. If you try and bear so many burdens by yourself, it’s sure to have a negative effect on your work performance, your physical and mental health, and even the wellbeing of your child.
This is particularly true during the first three to four months of pregnancy, when all your body wants to do is snuggle up beneath a warm blanket and rest. When you’re already so nauseous that even the scent of your coworker’s lunch in the breakroom makes you ready to vomit, the last thing you want to do is go into the office, but you know as well as I do that it’s still got to get done.
You didn’t make it this far by giving up, but you’re not going to get ahead by pushing yourself to the brink either, so try to find a sustainable balance. Prioritize your responsibilities and arrange your calendar so that you leave yourself spaces for pregnancy pains, make room for your morning sickness, and schedule some time to sleep in here or there.
Now, as I was saying before, it’s very important you identify people you can trust to help you when you need it. Be they family, friends, or even close colleagues, you’d be surprised to see how many people are eager to assist you if you only ask.
But let me be clear: Do not, I repeat, do NOT just go crying and begging to anyone who will listen.
There will be low moments, there will be times of desperation, that’s guaranteed, but no one can help you unless you’re ready to help yourself. That’s why it’s imperative you plan out routines and instructions beforehand, so that even when things are at their worst, you and your supporters will be as ready as can be for whatever may happen.
Take it from me, this is a lesson I had to learn the hard way during my first pregnancy.
I thought I was adept at prioritizing, but I failed to set up the necessary assistance aspect because I kept holding myself to the same standards I’d been maintaining before. I wanted to work like a superhero, but as those movie franchises show us, even superheroes work better when they have help.
With that in mind, and with my second child on the way, I’ve taken a new approach to my priorities. Now I arrange my tasks into categories of what I can do on my own and what I can trust in the hands of others like my husband, my personal assistant, and other such people. Rather than trying to rearrange these things on a screen or spread sheet, I find it helps to simply sit down with a pen and paper first, jotting down your ideas first and adding them to the computer only after you’ve figured out who will handle what and when.
Taking your eyes off the screen can really help you see things differently, and once you’re done letting all that weight off your shoulders, you’ll be able to focus on what matter most: spending some quality time with the newest member of your family.