My greatest challenge which I navigated successfully was making it through a high-risk pregnancy during lockdown, writes Olivia Jenkins, mum of three under three and founder of Olivia Jenkins Consulting.
Once my baby arrived, she had to receive extra care and oxygen. My pregnancy with my daughter, Charlotte, was affected by a condition called a subchorionic hematoma. This meant juggling motherhood, managing life in lockdown, running a business, and staying calm enough to sustain a troubled pregnancy.
As it is, pregnancy is difficult because you’re more tired, heavier, and absent-minded but a high-risk pregnancy is even more difficult while still trying to grow and maintain a business.
Add to this COVID and lockdown measures, but I managed the implications of this for all of my clients’ businesses as well as my own. It was challenging when Charlotte arrived on the busiest day in the eCommerce sphere – she was born on Black Friday.
This is the day my clients needed me most. I planned ahead, anticipating the possibility of this happening. As the delivery was about to take place, I was still sending out my last emails and trying to wrap up my to-do list before focusing on the task at hand – navigating a new life into this world. Once Charlotte arrived, they discovered she had an airway defect and required oxygen and then specialist care, overnight stays in hospitals and rushed visits to emergency rooms.
This required a great many appointments with specialists and extra care as sleep apnoea is the biggest risk.
In order to get through this, I:
Enlisted the support of a coach to help me optimise my health and mental wellbeing: This coach helped me to put into place self-care techniques so I could run at a sustainable pace and still care for me. The techniques include increasing the support around me, finding ways to get healthy meals into my system regularly, and breathwork/meditation to ease stress and anxiety.
Moved to an official office: A game-changer move, so it was easier to wear different hats – a mum and a professional service provider. The office is at an external location enabling me to focus better on the hat I’m wearing at the time – whether I’m at home with the kids (and work is shelved) or in the office and focused on clients (while the kids are safely cared for by the nanny).
Increased the support I get at home by getting the help of a cleaner twice per week.
With three children under 3, I increased the number of hours of help from a nanny. For large portions of my pregnancy, I was unable to leave bed and couldn’t lift my 2-year-old and 3-year-old children because it would put the pregnancy at risk, having a nanny helped me through that difficult time.
What I wish I would have known earlier:
Learning to prioritise self-care. Putting structures in place to make the pace of forward motion more sustainable and less prone to burnout. I wish I’d taken steps earlier to help me show up as a healthy, happy mum with a thriving business. But I have learnt that now – by asking for help and putting support in place, I am able to be a happy mum with three little ones and run a business that is growing at a fast rate.
Advice for Mums wanting to start a business:
Aim for progress over perfection. Be very clear about your “why” in your vision and your values because that is what keeps you going when times are difficult and you start to question what you’re doing. The biggest thing in business is consistency. To do a little bit every day rather than doing a huge amount and then needing recovery time and losing traction. Form good habits in business that are growth orientated. Operational aspects are important but the most important thing that drives the business forward is to formulate the small daily action that constantly moves you forward.
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