5 Lessons Learned From a Pregnant Entrepreneur During the Pandemic
“I never thought I would be living through a pandemic, pregnant, renovating a new home and running a business all at once."
When I found out I was pregnant in early December 2019, my partner and I were over the moon. We have both always wanted children and at our ages, seemed like the ideal time to bring a baby into the world. Of course, this was well before the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also before we decided to purchase a home that needed a ton of renovations. To top it off, we are both small business owners, so the uncertainty of how the virus would affect our businesses was stressful. Suddenly, I was worried about my business, not only because of the pandemic, but for future planning and how I was going to handle my potential maternity leave. Fast-track to today, I am six months pregnant and I have learned a TON over the past few months. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned:
1. Do what’s best for you
At the beginning of my pregnancy until about 13 weeks in, I was very sick. I had heard about morning sickness before, but did not expect this! I was throwing up everyday, exhausted and struggling to keep moving. It was challenging enough trying to keep up with my demanding workload at the time as a solopreneur and even more challenging knowing I had events planned for clients outside of Nova Scotia. After careful consideration, I made the difficult decision to take a step back from some of my responsibilities for a client event and I am so glad I did. It took a tremendous amount of pressure off me that allowed me to focus on my health. Never compare yourself to other women in business who are pregnant. So what if you worked with someone 35 weeks pregnant who was still running around the office. We are all different and you have to do what’s best for you. As entrepreneurs we are always making decisions, sometimes tough ones. In this case, I put my baby and my health before my work and it has paid off – both mentally and physically.
2. Invest in yourself
You spend time investing in your home, business, family, etc., but how often do you invest in yourself? During your pregnancy as a busy business woman, it’s all work and baby – right? Oh, and don’t forget about your partner. He can’t be neglected. This was the case for me at first. Then, I quickly realized that I was no good to anyone until I was good to myself. Take a course, hire a coach, read, journal, exercise - whatever works for you. Setting aside this time for yourself is so valuable. Once the virus hit and we were forced into self-isolation, this time was especially important to me as my stress levels began to rise. I have now started making time daily to get out for a walk, do yoga, take a lot of breaks, cook healthy meals, etc. It has made me happy and I am able to get through each day knowing I am taking care of myself, baby and my clients with a clear focus and fresh mindset.
3. Lean on others for support
I have always been an independent person. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to go into business for myself and work from home. I am proud of what I have accomplished over the past few years and have always tried to solve problems and manage tasks the best I could on my own. This quickly changed when I became pregnant, especially during the first trimester. My family and friends were a great support system for me – from helping with the chores, bringing me meals, offering help with my business and taking some things off my plate. Depending on the task, it can be hard to delegate, but in the end, you will thank yourself. If others are offering their support, take it!
4. Know your limits
I am a hard worker and I like to think it shows. In fact, it caused issues in previous relationships for me when I was up late working or working on the weekend. I used to not know when to stop and if you are an entrepreneur yourself, I am sure you can relate. It’s often required to kick start your business and keep it running successfully. I love working, but I have also learned my limits, especially now being pregnant during a pandemic. Long hours sitting at your desk in front of a screen is not good for anyone and if you are pregnant, this is really not healthy for you or the baby. To top it off, self-isolating can easily cause us to want to work even more as we are stuck at home with the office just a few steps away. I have decided during the pandemic to work half days as much as I can and take advantage of getting adequate exercise, spending time with my partner, renovating our home, getting ready for baby, etc. I am now a lot more productive, able to focus and less overwhelmed when I go back to my desk.
5. Embrace change
I used to have a challenge with change. I am a spontaneous person when it comes to certain things, a risk-taker (i.e. starting a business from scratch), but I do appreciate routine. I love working from home and for the past couple of years have developed a routine for myself that I really enjoy. Yet, no one could prepare for me the changes that would occur in my mind and body during pregnancy and how it would also impact my work-life. As my pregnancy progressed, I found my memory foggy at times, losing focus, uncomfortable sitting at my desk and easily frustrated. Add on the pandemic and I felt even more different sensations. Change can be hard, especially when it is unexpected and takes us out of our comfort zone. I have decided to embrace change and just take things day by day. By shifting my mindset, I am able to think more positively and as a result, my home and work life feels a lot better. I am enjoying being in my new home with my partner, getting ready for the baby, working on our house, cooking together, etc. I am also growing a tiny human and it’s SO COOL. She now moves frequently and I’m having a blast setting up her nursery. I am unsure what the future will hold due to the pandemic, but I am continuing to embrace this ongoing change as much as possible.