Freelancing with the Fetus

Pregnant-woman-working

Freelancing is hard enough on a normal day, but dealing with clients and style guides is seemingly impossible when you’re alternating between morning sickness and an intense craving for Sonic’s pellet ice. I don’t know what’s worse: Those first few weeks of intense exhaustion that left me dreading deadlines with no understanding of why my motivation had suddenly tanked, or the current state of knowing that leaves me plenty of internal bargaining power for things such as naps or mid-article snacking over actual work.

No matter how you slice it, being with fetus impacts the freelancing process. Pre-pregnancy, I was approached for a large assignment that paid extra well because of a tight turn around. It took two overnighters and full-steam days to get it done, but the paycheck was worth it. Today, a six-hour work day is a challenge, and while I once worked a full-time job pregnant and know women do it every day, crazy hormone changes force me to wallow occasionally in the fetus-related freelancing struggles.

I’m close to four months into the process at this point, and I’ve learned a few surprising things about writing with a fetus around. Whether you’re a blog writer or a full-time freelancing lady, here are some things you can look forward to if you end up incubating a life.

  • Morning sickness is always worse when you procrastinate and it’s an hour to deadline. It’s like the fetus knows, is a better time manager than you are, and he’s punishing you for dawdling with baby-stuff sweepstakes instead of working for sure-thing pay.
  • Food assignments, which used to be super fun, are now a trial of gladiator proportions. Food pics and recipe descriptions are not your friend, at least in the first trimester.
  • Your level of pregnancy exhaustion is in direct proportion to the amount of work available. Client orders abound, and you need a two-hour nap just to recruit the energy needed to turn on the computer.
  • Pregnant brain is a scientific thing, even if your partner thinks you were scatter brained before. Maintaining concentration on a single article for 20 minutes to an hour is impossible, especially since everyone who knows you’re pregnant bombards your social media feed with adorable pictures and tear-worthy videos that hormones demand be watched immediately.
  • As a freelancer, you suddenly become exceedingly aware that your job is awesome, but it doesn’t come with benefits like maternity leave. You have a vague plan of writing a lot once you hit the second trimester “glowing” months and banking the funds to cover your maternity leave.
  • As a freelancer, you realize plans must be made in pencil, so you secretly start checking into Wi-Fi options in the delivery room. If magazine moms can do full makeup and designer tops just after birthing, surely you can manage a few blog posts.

Since I’m pregnant, I’m hearing lots of advice and stories from other moms. Supposedly, the healthy, energy-filled part of the nine months is coming. It’ll be followed by the run up to delivery and the baby days that follow, though. And if freelancing with a fetus is this difficult, I’m afraid to even think about freelancing with a newborn or toddler. When I started this freelancing journey, my first child was already a preteen.

So, for all you moms who have gone before: If you managed to write one thing while living a fetus-, infant-, or toddler-filled day, you’re a superstar. And if you succeeded in full-time freelancing during those months and years, can you pass the secret along to the rest of us?

Sarah S received an enormous surprise in her fourth year of full-time freelancing. She, her husband, and her 13-year-old son are expecting a new arrival in May 2015.


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