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Self-employed and pregnant

(31 Posts)
coppergrey Mon 04-Apr-16 18:20:16

Hello! I thought I'd start a thread for anyone who is self-employed and pregnant. I'm 6+3 with my first - I've been running my business for nearly 5 years, pretty much non-stop so I'm very nervous about taking time off and what will happen to my clients/ongoing projects/bank account! shock

I'm also struggling with productivity and keeping myself motivated to actually DO stuff when I'm feeling so tired and nauseous. The temptation to sit on the sofa all day is very strong right now!

Anyone else in the same boat?

zoomtothespoon Mon 04-Apr-16 18:26:18

Oh god yes!

I only started in November but had clients instantly and enough work for 21 hours per week. I have a 6 year old and an 11 month old.

It was all going to well then BAM exhaustion got me like a tonne of bricks! I'm 8 weeks.

Very nervous trying to decide how to work going forward, at the moment I fancy just throwing in the towel!

Artioo2 Mon 04-Apr-16 19:01:38

I found that after my last pregnancy, picking up clients again wasn't a problem. I lost a few who went elsewhere, but soon replaced them, and quite a few were just happy I was working again when I came back. If you're good (and you must be if you're busy!) you'll still be in demand when you go back.

almondbutter Mon 04-Apr-16 19:51:59

Thanks for setting up the group, copper.

I am 8+5 with my first and feeling less than fabulous; so unproductive my working hours have pretty much halved.

I am a freelance journalist and researcher focusing on financial crime and business, though I do lifestyle stuff too (I have a morning sickness piece good to go once I am passed 12w). I work from home in London.

What are you all planning to do about maternity leave? We'd be just about OK if I took a couple of months, but honestly the fear usually wins out with me -- I'm scared my usual editors and contacts would give up on me if I disappeared even for a bit.

Melt90 Mon 04-Apr-16 19:53:30

I'm a hairdresser and run my own business, I'm looking at it like if clients go rather than changing to a stylist in salon then it's there loss lol recently clients have been moaning about me going on maternity a WEEK before I'm due if I can last that long but going part time and can't live off governments maternity pay! Xx

namaste30 Mon 04-Apr-16 20:18:10

Yep- im due next week and worked my ass off today, will be cracking 39 weeks and praying for labour to start just after my last patient- make the most of time off - I am already part time but this is number 3 and has hit me hard. Maternity allowance... Ha!

coppergrey Mon 04-Apr-16 20:35:55

Thank you all for your thoughts! Really good to hear about everyone's situations.

My main worry (work-wise!) for when baby is born is that I'll have Fear Of Missing Out and try to work when I should just be enjoying those early moments. I'm a terrible control freak and will HATE handing my regular contracts over to someone else.

I would like to have a decent amount of time off but I'm worried about switching off for that length of time. I also have a studio space that I'll probably have to give up... I suppose it's the acceptance of letting go of the business I spent 5 years building up, at least for 6 months or so! confused

Melt90 Mon 04-Apr-16 20:49:36

I'm going back to work two full days a week so get best of both worlds, its hard because you want to earn and run the business but be a good mum I think it's gonna be hard work xx

coppergrey Mon 04-Apr-16 20:53:47

I think that's a good plan Melt, I hadn't really considered part time but I think I could make that work - that way I could keep a toe in the business but not miss out on all the baby stuff! It'll definitely be hard work though, you're right!

INeedNewShoes Mon 04-Apr-16 21:02:50

I'm 6.1 (although things aren't going smoothly at the moment) and although I do have a part time employed job, I've spent the past year building up my freelance business so that I can leave my employed job once a baby turns up and do the freelance work around my child.

I've built up a good workload over the past few months so it's just a case of holding onto it somehow when my priorities change!

I won't be able to afford to live on SMP so I think I'll have to start working again after about three months, which seems mad but if needs must then that's just how it has to be.

chelle792 Mon 04-Apr-16 21:07:48

Ah it's scary. I'm able to work evenings so am hopefully going to work soonish an hour or so a night when dh is home. This is all theoretical at the moment though as we will be ttc in June.

Last time I was pregnant I was so sick that I basically took eight weeks off and then another three after I lost the baby. I was actually pretty pleased to be self employed!

museumum Mon 04-Apr-16 21:08:41

My ds is 2.5 now but what I did was have 3mo totally off. Then 3mo where I did a few hours (only about 4 per week) at weekends and evenings with dh doing childcare.
Then I started back with 3x 6hr days. Eventually working back up to 4x8hrs I do now.
I absolutely LOVED the gradual return to work. I never had that huge scary moment of "going back" that my baby friends did.

When pregnant I allowed myself an hour siesta after lunch when working from home grin

zoomtothespoon Mon 04-Apr-16 21:10:56

I'm not planning on taking much time off at all, probably 2 weeks max but am considering dropping a client so my hours will reduce dramatically sad

ninecoronas Mon 04-Apr-16 22:31:00

Hi all! Great to hear what everyone's plans are. I'm 16 wks and my current contract runs til June...after that I'm not sure I'll be able to get another one before I'm due as my work can be physical and there ain't no hiding the fact I'm pregnant, even now. I'm a Ltd Co. so do apparently get mat pay to pay to myself, but I've also been saving up over the last few years because contracts can be hard to come by at the best of times.

I'm hoping I can get my company non-trading status while I'm not working...and I don't know how long that'll be for yet. Like almondbutter I get "the fear" of being out of the loop and forgotten by clients if I'm away too long. But I feel quite strongly that predominantly freelance industries should be supportive of working parents, so I really want to make it work...I'm just not sure quite how yet!

AnUtterIdiot Mon 04-Apr-16 22:59:39

Me! 5 weeks exactly here. I feel like I've been run over by a steamroller. Chest infection hit me like a ton of bricks the week before last and although it has improved with antibiotics I am just so bloody weak. I am usually quite a big walker, love being out with my dog but DH has to do all the walking as at the moment I can barely stand for five minutes without wilting. Cabs to take me the quarter mile to the station because I can't walk it without having to rest 3 times. I am thrilled to bits to be pregnant but my job involves a lot of travel and stress and I just want to lie under a blanket on the sofa...

AnUtterIdiot Mon 04-Apr-16 23:00:46

I'm not going to be able to take more than 4 months off but I should be able to work from home more as should DH.

PS am dreading nausea joining the death warmed over party.

coppergrey Tue 05-Apr-16 09:56:26

nine, I'm also a Ltd Co and just googled maternity pay... confused!! I'm baffled. Think I'll just throw myself at the feet of my accountant on that one!

zoomtothespoon Tue 05-Apr-16 17:06:47

How are you all coping with the exhaustion/ lack of motivation? I get my 11mo down for a nap and when I should be working I end up laying in the bath blush

ninecoronas Tue 05-Apr-16 17:29:54

copper, yep, I was baffled too! I thought I wasn't eligible. But accountant says I am, my company will get a lump sum from the govt and I will have to pay myself at the right rate (which she is working out). I love my accountant! I did have to get her my Matb1 form pretty early though so she could get things sorted, I had to get it from my doctor rather than waiting for the midwife to do it at 20wk scan.

zoom...badly! Have an hour left to do today but putting it off til 7pm as I really really want to sleep!

almondbutter Tue 05-Apr-16 17:46:03

I'm shifting my work schedule to allow myself to work when I have a bit of energy and to rest when I'm most tired. I usually work a decent 9-5 at home but am now starting a little earlier and having a (ahem much) longer lunch break.
All this said, today has been a bit of write off; the only useful thing I've done is a write a piece (not yet pitched or sold) about what it's like going from being food obsessed and greedy to not even being able to read the word beef without gagging.
Socially and professionally am really clamping down on meetings and only making appointments when it's important or someone who'll excuse me being terrible company/cancelling at the last minute. I am bored of my sofa but also unable to leave it.

coppergrey Tue 05-Apr-16 22:01:19

almond and zoom, I'm feeling your pain! I have done the absolute bare minimum today. I feel so guilty for not working but I physically couldn't bring myself to do anything, just couldn't concentrate! Gonna attempt the gym (??!!!!! WHY) tomorrow morning in the hope that it'll spur me into action and away from the sofa for at least a few hours.

almondbutter Thu 07-Apr-16 07:48:39

Heading out to first breakfast meeting of two on the trot. Woke up at 6 and munched a load of Ginger Nuts to try and head off a rather unprofessional run to the loo mid-meeting. Wish me luck, hope you're all having good days x

Suzietwo Thu 07-Apr-16 08:03:49

I've been s/e for 3 of my pregnancies. Have always had a dip in productivity until around week 11 then it ramps up again. By the end I'm so physically useless that I may as well sit at my desk and work rather than do anything else! Those last few months are usually really profitable (if completely exhausting) and make up for dip earlier in pregnancy. I'm currently 29 weeks and totally knackered by long hours but it's fine.

I totally understand the fear of working when baby is small and 'missing out'. I am the same and will not turn away work. So I tend to work a few hours a day from around 2 weeks and up to full ish time (around feeds) from a few months. I have alternative child care.

What I tell myself is that I would far rather have less time with a new born but more time overall with my kids during their childhood spread out. And that's why I work the way I work. It's a head fuck when the hormones are flooding but I know it's right. I almost end up feeling sorry for those who have an intense 6 months with baby then only see the kids on a weekend.

Maternity pay is useless.

almondbutter Thu 07-Apr-16 10:01:41

Thanks for this Suzie, it's good to know my lost productivity will hopefully return soonish (am 9+1). I haven't worked out what to do about work/leave etc (I'm a freelance journalist) but your post is really constructive and such a positive, realistic way of looking at things -- much appreciated.

zoomtothespoon Thu 07-Apr-16 12:44:53

Suzie brilliant post! I have to remind myself that I'm thinking long term and that by the time they're all at school I'll be in a position to only work school hours and hopefully massively reduced half term hours which keeps me going.

I had a massive wobble earlier on this week but I seem to have overcome this slump. My son has been on Easter holidays so I've had them both at home, I've been exhausted and at the same time trying to give up coffee- this all combined has made me take my eye off the ball and make a few mistakes this week (with bookkeeping it is entirely unacceptable!). I felt so stupid and worthless but now I'm feeling better I managed to rectify everything and am going to organise a schedule of what is done on what day of the week. Hopefully this will help me concentrate better.

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