The anticipation and joy that comes with starting a business is memorable. It marks one of the most significant changes in your professional life. You have built a sustainable and successful startup with a clear revenue model and growth outlook. Perhaps along the way you’ve even managed to build a great relationship, and are thinking of starting a family in the future.
For some people, life is not quite complete without children. Meanwhile, having children also marks one of the most significant changes in our personal lives. And in today’s world, added challenges and uncertainties make careful planning essential.
So, if you aim to keep your successful business going and ‘balance’ (a.k.a., juggle) the process of starting a family, there are a few things to consider. There are additional stressors that add a level of complexity to beginning a family while you are managing a startup or existing business. It will undoubtedly be a joyful and stressful time.
You want to be the best business owner and best parent you can be, so plan ahead as much as possible to ensure you’re up to the task. Many people balance the needs of business and family with their partners and you can too. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Consider all of your fertility options
There is nothing worse than wanting a baby and then counting pregnant women wherever you are. (I’m not kidding, it’s a thing!) The conversations that accompany parenthood come with lots of questions, which includes the possibility that you may not be able to get pregnant naturally. Or you might have to wait months or years for the blessed event?
“Approximately 10 percent of women in the United States have a difficult time getting and staying pregnant.”
Approximately 10 percent of women in the United States have a difficult time getting and staying pregnant. About half of those women suffer from something called unexplained infertility, which is stressful because there’s no known cause or cure.
The stress of regularly take a pregnancy test each month, only to discover that you’re not pregnant can take a huge emotional toll on women and their partners. Feelings of hopelessness can easily set in, but having a plan will help to reduce the emotional stress significantly.
If you’ve been unsuccessful at achieving pregnancy after a length of time, it’s wise to test for female and male infertility immediately. Since male factors account for approximately 50% of all infertility cases, it is important to examine both partners for potential infertility issues.
Also, have an open and honest discussion with your partner concerning fertility options such as in-vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, fertility treatments, adoption, foster care, or surrogacy. It can also be helpful to discuss your options with a professional agency who can help you decide the best course of action for your unique situation.
Plan for potential ‘anytime’ sickness
For women, the inevitable sickness that accompanies pregnancy is a huge concern. The term ‘anytime’ sickness is much more appropriate than morning sickness because many women feel fine in the mornings and feel sick later in the day.
In fact, only two percent of women feel sick exclusively in the morning. Far more women begin feeling sick in the afternoon or the evening when the day takes its toll. Luckily, only one percent of women experience vomiting every day, but nausea can be extremely difficult to manage.
Feeling sick at the drop of a dime can make running your business even more challenging. Talk to your doctor and research natural nausea remedies to help you regain control of your days.
If you prefer to forgo conventional medicine for nausea relief, there are also natural remedies that are probably in your kitchen already. For example, Ginger, vitamin B6, chamomile tea and lemon, peppermint essential oil can help you get rid of nausea the natural way. And don’t forget to consult your doctor.
Prioritize what’s important
Once you have your sweet baby in your arms, you’ll suddenly have a lot more to do and a lot less time. This will be a wonderful transition for you, and you’ll likely celebrate the rewards of parenthood, but the challenge is learning to prioritize the important things.
Sometimes, it will mean missing a meeting to nurture a sick child. Other times, you may miss a soccer game to finish a client project. The reality is you’re only going to be able to give 100 percent to one thing at a time, so when you’re in the office, give your best and when you’re at home, give your best to your family.
There’s no such thing as balance, but there is prioritization. Try to work smarter, not harder. Look for ways to be more efficient with projects and dedicate quality time with your family. It will take trial and error, but you’ll soon figure out a scenario that fulfills you personally and professionally.
Care for your mental and physical health
Speaking of priorities, your mental and physical health should be top among them.
For many women, postpartum depression (PPD) is a reality. The National Institute of Mental Health defines PPD as “a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion.”
Couple PPD with the needs of your family and business and you’ll soon learn that you’re giving a lot! There’s a tremendous amount of sacrifice that occurs for new parents with new (or established) businesses. Your sanity can easily get caught in the crosshairs.
Take a regular and honest evaluation of your mental and physical health on a weekly basis. Are you working late into the night and compromising essential sleep? Do you have time to plan healthy meals, exercise, and perform tasks around the home? Are you so stressed that you’re unable to relax when you’re at home?
Your physical health is just as important. It’s hard to care for your family when you’re consistently fatigued and combatting brain fog. Eat healthier, get sufficient sleep (as much as humanly possible), and squeeze in some exercise into your early morning or lunch hours. For your mental health, talk things out with your spouse or a counselor. Sometimes talking is all you need.
Ultimately, building a business sheds light on many lessons that are useful when we’re raising children. This makes business owners uniquely qualified to become great parents. If you’re ready to start a family, start with these tips and considerations, and put your new family on the road to a happy, healthy, and rich future ahead.