ASK CHRISSY/ Does my Pregnancy Put my Career at Risk?
ASK CHRISSY – Does my Pregnancy Put my Career at Risk?
Question: Hi Chrissy. I have always wanted to have a successful career and I’ve been doing really well and decided that this year I would leave my job and start my own business. It took quite a bit of courage to decide to leave the comfort and security of a job to start a business. But I’ve also been so excited and feel that this is something that I need to do because it’s always been my dream to have my own business and be independent. However, the problem is that I have found out that I’m pregnant with my first child. I feel bad using the word “problem”, because although I wasn’t planning to have a baby just yet – and this has come as a complete surprise – I am so happy about the news. But what happens now? What about my plans? I can’t help thinking that my dream of having a business is out of my reach. Any advice would be much appreciated. Lisa
Answer: Hi Lisa. Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy.
I can understand why you might have mixed feelings about what has happened. After all, unexpected news often throws us all a bit, doesn’t it? In your case, you’ve geared yourself up and taken a big step to leave work and start working towards a dream you’ve always had and now it seems that things have completely changed for you. But change doesn’t necessarily mean a problem. See it as a challenge instead.
Becoming pregnant doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your business dream or that your dream is now becoming out of reach. There are plenty of women who have started a business while pregnant. But you have to be prepared for the sacrifice. You will need to plan things carefully and also know that there will be unexpected situations that will arise that you’ll need to deal with and seeing this is your first child, you might not be able to foresee those situations.
Now, I’m not a mum myself. Nevertheless, seeing friends that have been pregnant, there’s sometimes morning sickness they have to deal with, check-ups at the doctor, getting the house ready for their baby and so on. There are lots of things to think about. However, if you’re determined that you can deal with a pregnancy and a new human being in your life, plus starting a business, then it’s totally possible and you will make a way.
You don’t mention what type of business you wanted to start but that might be the first thing that you need to rethink. For example, if the business involves being out and about, you can still do this while pregnant but it will be much harder with a new-born. Make provisions for that where perhaps when you have your baby, someone else can help you with that side of the business. Or perhaps you will need to consider starting something online until you get used to your new life. You may need to start your business on a lower scale than what you’d originally planned. Perhaps you will need to ask for some help from your partner or a family member who can help out at home or take care of the child while you dedicate some time to your business. Some women hire help if they don’t have anyone else to help them.
You will also need to consider that when you first have your baby you’ll need some time off to recover and then make time to attend some appointments and to breast feed, etc.
Yes, there are many things to think about and it’s not going to be easy, but planning as much as you can will help immensely. Since this is your first child, consider speaking to other parents to find out what works for them that you can apply, especially those who have a career or business.
But also remember that there are lots of positive things that can come out of having a child and a business. Becoming a parent will inevitably teach you new skills that perhaps you didn’t have before that you can use to enhance your business. You may also see that you will get better in the way that you deal with people.
And perhaps mixing business and babies will help your business grow. You will end up connecting with new people you wouldn’t have come across before, for example parents from local playgroups. You may even find your future employees amongst these circles.
One thing I would say, however, is that you should also be ready for the possibility that when your little bundle of joy arrives, your priorities may completely change. When you hold your baby in your arms and look at that cute little face, you may very well decide to postpone your plans to start a business and dedicate yourself completely for a while to bring up your child. Keep this in mind, because what you feel now may not be what you feel later when your child is born. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You’ll not be giving up, you’ll just be saying: “not right now, but soon.”
So do go ahead and plan as much as you can to start your business, get lots of advice from people who were/are in a similar situation, and see how it goes. I really wish you all the best for your future.