Having a baby is a big motivator for change. That tiny bundle can have a profound impact on the home dynamics, not to mention your sleep quality, finances and relationships. While a baby brings huge quantities of love and affection into the household, he or she can also trigger a lot of disruption.
The good news is, learning how to set up and maintain a freelance writing business can unburden you of some of these more challenging issues. For example, if you’re unsure whether or not you want to go back to work, trying your hand at freelance writing can help to give you more options.
One thing you may not know is that I (the founder of Learn Freelance Writing) began my career after my first son was born and I’ve recently had a second baby which means I’ve now twice the number of home responsibilities as before. My sleep is all over the place again, I am up to my elbows in dirty nappies and feeding around the clock. It’s tiring, it’s noisy but it’s absolutely wonderful and I don’t want to miss a second of it.
For those of you who are a bit baby-mad, here’s my birth story:
I was actually due in September, but we decided on an early delivery by elective c-section. This decision was made very early on in pregnancy – my previous child was born via c-section and I’ve had a rather complicated obstetric history which made the decision to have a c-section very easy. The pregnancy itself was a breeze this time around. Apart from suffering quite badly in the heatwave and eating a large bag of ice cubes every day (yep, an entire bag), I had a great time. No morning sickness, no drastic weight gain, no complications. I was able to maintain my freelance writing career with most of my clients having no clue I was pregnant. In fact, one only found out the day after I gave birth!
Towards the end of the pregnancy I got a bit anxious and visited the hospital a couple of times for reassurance. The picture above is me in the hospital bathroom after being hooked up to a monitoring machine, two days before birth. In the lead-up to the c-section I had to have some steroid injections which hurt like hell and kept me awake for a few nights in a row. Then, the morning of the c-section arrived and I drank one of those terrible tasting pre-op drinks before rocking up to the hospital with enough luggage to last me a week. I knew my Consultant well, as we have a lot of history together, and she eased us into the process.
If you’ve never had a c-section before, you might be surprised to know that there’s a good 10 people in the operating room with you, including nurses, two or more doctors, anaesthetists (they’re the BEST), healthcare assistants and midwives. It’s a bit awkward when you’re laid there, almost-naked on a table wearing only a thin gown, with half a football team fiddling about with god-knows-what, but considering they do 3 of these per day, there’s nothing they haven’t seen a million times before.
The epidural went in and I laid down, slightly tilted to the side, while my Consultant got to work. That point right before entry, where I can’t QUITE be sure if I’m completely numb or not, is a little intimidating. But, luckily, the drugs did their job and I felt nothing. Ten minutes in, the screen came down and I saw my little boy, covered in crap, weeing all over everybody, screaming the hospital down. He was awesome and within a few minutes he was bundled up and on my chest as they closed me up.
We were wheeled through to recovery and I spent the next 6 hours vomiting. Yep, nothing was staying down. I was hungry and thirsty but the tea and marmite on toast was a horrendous idea. The worst moment was when the porters were wheeling me up to the ward and I had to quickly pass the baby to the closest person to me so I could throw up everywhere. But, two doses of anti-sickness medication later, I was ok and could properly enjoy the new baby.
I spent two nights in hospital and pigged out on hospital puddings – they reminded me of the puddings I used to have in school, like jam sponge and custard and apple pie with ice cream. Within 24 hours I was up walking around and the following day I went home.
Getting back to normal wasn’t hard. I gave myself some time off to relax and recover. But before I knew it, I was back at my laptop – not because I had to be, but because I wanted to be. Writing makes me happy and is a big part of who I am.
Now, my baby is a month old and we’re thriving!
So, now that I’ve shared my birth story, I thought you’d also be interested in my top tips for maintaining a career while pregnant or post-birth.
- Become an expert planner. Know what you are doing every single day of the month, from practical jobs like school pickups to writing-specific activity.
- Get into a routine. Create a schedule and stick to it so that your day becomes predictable. This will help you plan and stay on top of your work.
- Do the housework LAST. There are some tasks you can do when surrounded by kids, and some tasks that require total child-free focus. Housework can be done at any time. It does not need to be attempted during those precious moments when you could be writing.
- Ask for help. Get some outside help from family. This allows for time to recuperate, relax and finish up anything you need to work on for your clients.
- Use a content schedule. A content schedule is a schedule that shows you when pieces of content are due for each client. We have an example content schedule template in our exclusive Learn Freelance Writing Group.
There are many, many reasons why freelance writing is the perfect choice for new parents, even those who are fresh out of the delivery suite and eager to make a pound note from home.
- Freelance writing can be done from ANYWHERE, even your bed!
- You can make a lot of money with freelance writing, giving you the extra funds needed to cater for the growing family!
- You can take a break whenever you want and don’t need to ask your boss.
- You can fit your writing work around childcare duties, school pickups, play dates and doctor’s appointments.
- Freelance writing is free to get into. No startup fees, no expensive software packages, no travel expenses. Cool huh?
So, if you’ve just had a baby, let’s become baby-buddies! Send me an email on email@example.com and share with me your hopes for the future so that we can figure out how freelance writing can help get you there.