Navigating Maternity Leave as a Business Owner
I’ve been going deep lately trying to navigate how to take maternity as a business owner with a team and a presence on social media. One of the amazing things about running your own business is the freedom that comes with it. But any business owner or self employed person knows that with it comes responsibilities and stresses that are difficult to comprehend until you’ve done it. From managing a team to being ‘out there’ in this ‘always on’ world in such rapidly changing times.
Last pregnancy I tried to plan everything I could to honour my postpartum, knowing that I was not going to be able to take a huge window of time off. I invested not in a nursery, but in the 4th trimester recovery to bond with the baby and physically recover. As someone who has navigated a chronic health condition for many years, my intuition told me how important this was. Having just moved to a new area we also organised accommodation for family to visit and support us.
Little did I know that in my first few months postpartum, the world be turned upside down, fires raged, the streets would be filled with righteous protests, borders would shut (which meant zero family support) and like many business owners and people in general, all of the business plans laid were thrown out the window as we all needed to work out how to pivot or navigate in a changing world.
I also ended up in hospital with blood poisoning from mastitis and struggled, like a lot of new mothers do, with postpartum depression. I felt so wide open after the birth with my hormones all over the shop at a time when it felt like the whole world was hurting. The lack of sleep and cluster feeding triggered a trauma from childhood and in this period I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was a really difficult period – of course with blessings and beautiful moments woven through it all.
With enough distance now as I look back on this period I can see deep wisdom and hard earned healing cultivated throughout it at a highly initiatory time for the Earth. I know I wasn’t alone in navigating a lot during this time. I do feel stronger now and more myself than ever, and it has also been the hardest period I have navigated.
As the countdown shifts from trimesters to months, and soon to weeks, before I will be doing it all over again, the question I have been living into for some time now has been:
How can I honour my calling as a mother with a soul mission? How can I run my business with a team and serve my community, while also having a maternity leave?
I hired a coach to help me figure this out and put into place changes which honestly I have wanted to make for some time now but either didn’t know how to or didn’t think I could.
I’ve flip flopped from switching everything off and going radio silent for a year to scheduling everything out in advance, and have landed somewhere in between. It’s meant that I have had to release control and increase my willingness to be supported.
In the coming weeks I’ll let you know a bit more about what you can expect from me here over the next few months.
I’ve got a plan in place now, and I’m curious if there are other people out there who managed to run a business and also take a proper maternity leave? How did you do it?