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If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a little while, you’ll remember that in the autumn I shared my IVF journey with you in a rather emotional post about how I was feeling. We started the process of IVF for our second child last spring – as soon as hospitals and fertility centres were allowed to open again after the first wave of Covid-19.
By the autumn, we’d had two attempts. The first had ended in miscarriage and the second was just unsuccessful which was really, really hard. I had to attend most of my appointments, including the scan that confirmed I had miscarried, on my own and it really was a lot to say the least. When I decided to share that with you all, just after my 36th birthday, I was feeling really low and pretty exhausted by it all. For any of you that have been through the process yourselves, you’ll know how emotionally and physically exhausting fertility treatment and miscarriage can be, not to mention all the complicated feelings that come with it.
A month later we decided - after some reassurance by our amazing doctor at King’s Hospital in London - to try again. This time with what’s called a Modified Natural Cycle which means more appointments and scans but less hormones. I was offered this option as I was struggling to continue on with the treatment plan I was on. The high level of artificial hormones were making me feel so nauseous and unwell – cruelly mimicking all the first signs of early pregnancy. I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but it was a much better option for me in every way and thankfully it was successful.
I’m so happy to tell you that I’m now nearly 21 weeks’ pregnant. It’s been a rough old ride and I was incredibly nauseous and exhausted for the first four months, but I’m now feeling a little less like the walking dead and able to lead a fairly normal life again. (Well, as normal as life in lockdown can be).
We found out last week that we’re having another boy so it’s all starting to feel a lot more real now. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how I’ll manage my freelance business this time around. Last time, I saved enough money so that I could have a whole 12 months off, but I found that I had started writing again by about month four. Not full time obviously, but it was important to me to keep my hand in. And if I’m honest, I felt a bit lost by not working at all.
I’m so grateful that I have a job that I can do while the baby sleeps, and can take on the projects that I feel I can cope with while still enjoying all of that lovely baby snuggling time at home. (I remember the first time around having some of my best pitching ideas during a 3am feed. The problem was I often too tired to remember to write them down, or if I did, they didn’t make much sense).
Over the last year and a half, I’ve found some really lovely regular clients that I’m keen not to lose, so I’ve already started speaking to them about what my plans are and how we can continue what we’re doing – as long as it works in reality when the baby arrives. Let’s face it, you never do know how you’re going to feel or what your recovery is going to be like. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how it’s all going anyway, and if you’re also preparing for a second baby, I’d love to hear about your plans too.
In other newsletter-related news, my virtual assistant Jess and I have been working on some really interesting upcoming newsletters. The first will be about to returning to work after taking maternity and paternity leave with insight from other freelance parents, and the second will focus on the ways a number of specialist freelancers have found success by creating a really strong niche for themselves. It’s designed to offer an alternative to diversifying your income which I wrote about a few weeks ago.
But until then, I wish you all a happy and prosperous working week with plenty of sleep and minimal tantrums.
News and articles
Written and compiled by Rebecca Redford
As a pregnant woman, I feel anxious and confused about lockdown easing
In Cat’s latest piece for Grazia, she shares how it feels to be pregnant in a pandemic and her fears for lockdown relaxing. Joeli Brearley of Pregnant Then Screwed also offers some eye-opening insight into how pregnant women are still not being protected by their employers and forced into dangerous working conditions. Read it here.
Self-employed warning: Rishi Sunak set to 'slash incomes' with IR35 move
After one of the most difficult years for the self-employed, is it really the right time for Rishi Sunak to be ‘slashing incomes’ by going ahead with the IR35 changes? Either way it’s happening, so make sure you’ve checked whether it will affect you or not on the HMRC website.
The Reality of Pandemic Fatigue for Working Mums
In this article by Real Business, the founders of The Positive Planners open up about the struggles of last year. They discuss how women have taken on twice as much homeschooling as men and how a working mum’s role is undervalued within society. An insightful and honest read.
Nine ways to maternity proof your freelance business
In this helpful Underpinned article, writer Katie Byrne suggests 9 ways to maternity proof your freelance business - whether you’re planning on taking a set amount of time off, or are hoping to keep a few things ticking over while you enjoy some quality baby bonding.