When I was pregnant, I tried to binge as much content as possible about maternity leaves for entrepreneurs.
I’m pretty sure I finished in a single afternoon because there was so little of it.
When you are an entrepreneur ready to take maternity leave, you don’t get to just let your boss know you’ll be out for x amount of weeks. There is a TON of planning and a million details to take care of.
Before my maternity leave, I shared my plan on the podcast with the caveat that I hadn’t carried it out yet. Well, now I have and this week on the Scaling to Freedom podcast I share a recap of how it went, insights, things I would do the same and things I would do differently.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to have children in the future or are pregnant now, this one is for you 💕
Here’s a closer look at what I discuss in this episode:
- What it was like running a business while on maternity leave
- Insights in my business
- Advice I would share to female entrepreneurs going through/wanting to go through the same thing
- What I would do the same… and also differently if I were to do it again
You are listening to the Scaling of Freedom Podcast. And if you are an online coach or course creator, you are in the right place. I’m your host Christina Bernhard. I’m an ads agency owner that gets an inside look every day on what’s working and what doesn’t. In the online coaching space. I’m here to share with you what we see works in our agency as well as what we see happening and changing in the industry. Stay tuned to up-level your coaching business to have the freedom you want. Let’s get started.
Welcome to episode 163. Today I am chatting about my maternity leave and doing a recap. So, um, if you missed the episode where I went over my maternity leave, um, I did do an episode whenever I was still pregnant about what my plans were gonna be, um, and what I was doing to prepare for maternity leave as an entrepreneur who needed a maternity leave, cuz it’s not so simple where you just tell your boss, I’m pregnant and I’m gonna be gone for this many weeks, um, or months if you are in other countries, um, you know, it’s not that simple. So you have to do a lot of planning and preparing, especially in client services. So I have had, um, clients who are, all my clients are coaches. So they have done, you know, maternity leaves or had, um, specific, you know, like certain amount of weeks off for whatever reason.
Um, and with them they were able to kind of, uh, just plan out their launches in a different way. Um, and their programs that they’re supporting, they could have cohorts and then, and they can literally just be off and not have any clients during that time period and things like that. Well, with us, we have an agency, so there’s no, you know, time where we aren’t serving people where we’re not, you know, we don’t have services for our clients, so it’s a little bit different. You do have to, you can’t just plan things around, um, you know, and make it where you have this like, empty space of the year. It’s always continuing on. So, um, it was really important that I got all of the details. There’s just so many details that happened in an agency. It’s like insane. Um, and to make sure every single detail is taken care of a while so that you can like, be away for a little bit, um, is kind of crazy.
Um, so I’m gonna do a recap of how it all worked out. Um, any insights that I have and how I would do it differently. So if you are pregnant or maybe you’re just considering, you know, if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re considering, you know, maybe you, um, do wanna start a family and you’re curious about how that would work, um, if it’s even possible to just like, you know, not be super in your business during that time, um, I’ll, I hope that this is helpful for you. So to go back to my goals form attorney leave and I, um, talked about this in the, um, episode where I went over my maternity leave. Um, so I’m just gonna go back to those. So, um, the first one was making sure that my clients did not feel my absence. So this was really, really important to me.
Um, I didn’t want my clients to have to like, um, suffer or in any way, um, at all. Um, so we didn’t do anything where we like, you know, tried to pre-build campaigns or anything like that, um, where we would have more work from the clients. So, um, we just kept things going as they were. Um, my other goal was to make sure that I did have time and space to like heal and enjoy my little girl. Um, and then the other one was the flexibility to pivot. So I wanted to be very prepared and plan out multiple options so we could kind of just switch back and forth as needed. Because I know every baby is different, every birth is different, every postpartum experience is different. So I knew that I could only prepare so much, um, but I did want to be very prepared so that I’m not, you know, trying to juggle all of these different things while dealing with the craziness of postpartum.
So I did meet my goals for the most part. Um, I definitely don’t think that my clients felt my absence much because honestly I wasn’t really absent to be completely honest. Um, I wasn’t on the calls. Um, and my clients were very supportive of that. And I know specifically like some specifically wanted only me on the calls, but I was prepared to lose, honestly, lose any clients that didn’t, didn’t support me taking maternity leave. Um, I’m actually gonna do a whole podcast on that, um, a woman Supporting Women co podcast because that is what the, the mission of a lot of my clients are. And taking a maternity leave is kind of where you, you know, see how supportive people really are. Um, and so I’m gonna do a whole podcast on that, but, uh, my clients were fantastic and, um, I, but I was in Slack and my email every day.
Um, I don’t know if this is best, honestly, I don’t know, but we’ll get to that. Um, but that is what happened. Um, I did have a lot of time with my baby girl for sure because I didn’t have calls, I didn’t have these time obligations other than the thousands of appointments that she needed. Um, I didn’t have to worry about that. Um, and also I was able to pivot if needed. And, uh, even at the end of when I was supposed to start taking over calls, I even had my team still take over a couple of calls, um, that weren’t initially planned, um, before I transitioned back because of childcare issues and had a nanny back out and like all this stuff. So, um, but we got through that. So there was some, uh, flexibility there, um, and I was able to pass certain things off to my team whenever I was like, I literally cannot .
So, um, you know, we did have that flexibility and all that was in place. So a recap of the plan if you did not miss, or if you did not listen to that episode or if you listened to it months ago, whenever it happened. Um, the recap was, um, basically I was taking full weeks completely off, um, and I had to, or I was gonna do about, uh, like a half to a full day per week after that. So after those, um, two weeks. Um, and then I was definitely gonna have, my daily contact was definitely gonna be with my team for sure, and with my clients, I was gonna kind of play it by ear and just see how things went. Um, what I actually did end up doing was staying in full contact with my clients. And those initial two weeks off, I don’t think I actually took them off.
Um, actually now I’m remembering I did not take them off. So I still did, um, quite a few things, but there were no calls for that week, so that was helpful. Whenever we don’t have client calls, that means that I’m not doing any monthly strategies and that usually means that, um, whenever we do have a client call, there’s usually like an influx of new campaign builds to be, um, done. So usually that, um, week or the following week of those calls, we’ll have a lot of strategies that have dpr. So, um, you know, not having calls did make that, those two weeks very light, but I did definitely like stay in contact with my, um, my clients and things like that. I wouldn’t say every day, there were probably days where I did not open Slack, but there probably weren’t many, like maybe two. Um, so I was, uh, the plan was to, you know, after that, uh, time period, um, or after the two weeks of no calls, my team was gonna take the calls for four weeks.
So that’s six weeks of no calls for me. And then I was going to slowly come back a little bit more and more over time and just play by ear. Um, all of our content was batch, so I did all of that while I was pregnant. And I think I did about two months of content. Um, and, um, we did like all the podcasts and Instagram, all that stuff was all batched, um, and planned ahead of time. I did during maternity leave, do a couple of reels and like a couple things and some stories and stuff like that. Um, and then any new projects that we had were definitely on hold, hiring processes. Uh, we absolutely were not hiring during this time, but I did have the processes in place in case something happened. If one of our team members, um, had to go or something, um, I was able to have already have, like, we had job descriptions, we had like, um, everything that we needed.
Um, their training, their onboarding, all that stuff was already pre-prepared because I did not want to like, have to worry about that. And I was just trying to find anything that would cause a lot of stress in that time and just be prepared, you know, if if something like that um, happened. Luckily it did not. Um, like, you know, my team is still here and, uh, everyone, uh, did fantastic. Um, we, we didn’t have to do any hiring during the time, but I did want to just make sure that all of that was in place, um, just in case, because as long as I have what I know that I need and the training that I want them to go through, once they are onboarded, I can have my team take over the hiring, uh, part of it. Um, so some things that I would do the same if I did it again, um, is I would definitely still have the team take the calls.
Um, that was absolutely necessary. There’s no freaking way , there’s absolutely no way that I could have taken any calls during that time. Matter of fact, at the six week part, I would say that it was very difficult to get back on calls at that time, but I’ll, I’ll chat about that in a minute. Um, and then I would also still have all the same systems and processes that we had. Like I feel like we did a fantastic job at that. Um, everything ran really smoothly and there was no point where my team didn’t have the resources that they needed to if I needed to take something off my plate. Um, all of those SOPs were already done, um, even for things that I didn’t necessarily plan for them to do, but I had those systems in place just in case. Like if there was a task that I had and that day was just, I don’t know, a crazy day or something like that, um, I could just hand it off and they already had the step-by-step how to, um, complete the task.
So I would definitely do that again. Um, content batching, I would absolutely do that again. Um, I only did, again, I only did a couple of reels and I think I recorded one podcast. Um, but that was it. So that was really, really helpful. And then also the tapering of coming back, I would absolutely do that again as well, um, because that was also really helpful because at that six week part, I mean my, um, you know, maternity leave, you know, the main part of it was mostly six weeks. So at that six weeks part, I wasn’t really ready to like full force comeback. Um, I know everyone is different, but that time period for me, I’m gonna talk a little bit more about it. Um, but that was not a time where I was like energized and ready to go. So some things that I would change.
So those are things that I would not change. Those worked out so, so well and I’m so grateful that I put in the work ahead of time to make sure all of that prepared. So things that I would change. Um, so one thing that I did not do, and this is kind of not necessarily related to business specifically, this is more of like for my personal life, but one thing I did not do before was hire support ahead of time. And I really should have . So, um, if you don’t already know, um, and if I didn’t already mention it, I’m a single mother, so I’m a single mom by choice and my family lives far away, so I wanted to, I knew I was gonna need support. There’s no way you can do it by yourself, but I wanted to see what I needed once I was kind of in it.
And that was a horrible idea, horrible idea. Um, because again, there was no one around. Um, honestly, most of my friends didn’t even like text to check in. Um, I had one friend come for an evening around three months, or wait, sorry, uh, three weeks postpartum. And she just came for that one evening and that was it. And I think that was the only friend that came by until I asked a friend to help for pay. Um, so I had pretty much no support and I mean, it’s on me because I didn’t hire it. And again, I wanted to, it just made sense to me at like having never gone through postpartum whenever I was pregnant to just that I would just see how it went, um, and higher as I needed. And again, that was just a terrible idea because one thing I did not prepare for and didn’t even know what was gonna happen, honestly, was that my brain did not work the same, um, .
So I did have some mental capacity of course, but I used all of it to work, all of it, like literally every like ounce of mental capacity that I had, um, and any kind of energy that I had left over, I used it to work. So I basically drowned . And so while it’s not directly related to like business prep, personally, I wish I had help lined up, um, specifically paid help just because with, well, everyone’s village is different and everyone’s like family lives, you know, in a different proximity to them or whatever the case is. But for me personally, I don’t have, um, people like around me that’s particularly reliable. So I would prefer to have paid help just knowing that they will show up and, you know, they will help, um, in the way that I need them to. So, um, if I went back and, you know, thought like knowing what I know now, if I went back and, uh, tried to figure out what to hire, I would’ve hired probably a postpartum doula to come over maybe in the mornings just so that I could like sleep in because it was just, it, it was really, really difficult with the sleep deprivation.
And one thing about, you know, when you’re a single mom is that even when you really, really need a nap, like there’s, there are times when you really need a nap, you just can’t have one. Like, it’s just not an option unless you have support. Um, and there were many times where, you know, I think one of the hardest parts is that there are times where you just, you need to tap out and you just need a moment. And you can’t get that when you’re by yourself. There’s no tapping out, there’s no, like, even when you’re at your breaking point, you have to keep going. And that’s a, that was really, really difficult because you’re also still healing. You have your hormones going, um, you are on crazy sleep deprivation. Um, there were times where I was like, I don’t, I don’t think that I should drive.
Like, it was just very, very difficult. And, um, with, uh, you know, maybe if you, like, if I had someone that would come in the mornings just so I could sleep in a little bit, um, that would’ve been really helpful. Another thing that made it a little bit difficult was, you know, every, like I said before, every baby is different. Um, so like my sister had a baby a year prior and he was much easier than my daughter. Um, like, you know, obviously he was still difficult cuz he was still a newborn and like, you know, reliant on, um, everyone else for everything of course. But, um, my daughter had a really bad colic and reflux in the first, luckily did not last three to four months. Like my pediatrician said it could last, it did not. Um, it actually, uh, resolved itself probably around the eight week point, but around six weeks it was getting better.
Um, so she would just scream for hours and hours and, um, when she’s screaming, she’s not sleeping and neither are you. So that was really, really difficult. Um, so that’s one thing that I would definitely change, uh, personally, is to have had someone in place already, like a postpartum doula or someone to come, um, really like for the sleep, because if I have good sleep, I can, you know, my capacity is is pretty good, but I, I just, the sleep was, and I, I function really well off a little sleep, so I did function well, but it was just very difficult. Um, and then also, um, for the business side, what I would change is I think I would take off from calls longer. I don’t know that my clients would’ve really liked this honestly, but, um, six weeks was actually a time when things were a bit harder, which is, um, crazy because that’s actually when her colleagues started to get better.
But at the six week point, that’s when things started to really build. So sleep, the sleep deprivation and challenges and like the trauma of the colic. And I’m very serious when I say the word trauma. Um, uh, if you’ve ever had a colicky baby, it’s like I got so much bad advice, honestly. Like if you’ve never had a colicky baby, um, any advice that you give someone that does is probably honestly not great advice. Like when a baby ha is colicky, like you can’t just go outside and, or like go for a drive or like, and those things don’t work when the baby is ca has colic. It’s just, and my, um, baby specifically had it because of, um, really bad reflux and I mean, it’s normal for babies to like spit up and stuff like that, but hers was like very severe, um, but not to the point where she wasn’t gaining weight.
So that’s good at least, but it was, it was really bad and there’s, there’s nothing really you can do. So we did chiropractor and probiotics and all this stuff and that actually helped so much. Um, I think that is honestly why it didn’t go to that three and four month mark. Um, it just made it to about the two month mark, thank God. Um, but I really do think that the chiropractor and probiotics were the two things. We did other things too, but I think those were the two things that really helped. Um, so thank God we helped that, but really until you can like fix or figure out what the issue was, ours, um, the issue was very, very, um, clear that it was her reflux. Um, but, and we were almost going to medicate her, but we resolved it. So, um, but at that point, um, you know, the six week point is when, you know, it just starts to build, um, to the point where every time she even like fussed, I like, I just had the most overwhelming anxiety that would just fill my body, like becau and she was just fussing like a normal baby at this point.
But I just, before the fuss was what would start off the colic and it was just, oh, it was terrible. And so at six weeks I was just like, way more sleep deprived and stuff like that because in the beginning, in the very beginning, like I feel like most babies are pretty sleepy. Um, mine was not very sleepy, but it was still like, even though she was really sleepy and even the beginning of the colleague, like I was kind of fresh, you know, and I had a lot of adrenaline and like the sleep deprivation didn’t really bother me. Um, so it was past that point. Um, so the six week mark was just a difficult one for me. So I would at least have, um, I would probably have it where I didn’t have calls for a little bit longer, but then if I felt good, cuz some people feel great at six weeks.
Um, so if I felt good then I could just take them back over of course. But just planning for that to be a time period where maybe some sleep def deprivation would build. And, but maybe in the future for my second baby, um, if I hire support ahead of time, maybe I won’t have so much like built because I never got a single break, um, until I think we hired a nanny at seven or eight weeks and just to cover my calls. Um, and that was the first like actual break that I had . So, um, that I would definitely do differently. Um, I would take my content batch and I would spread it out further and post less each week. So I would really do the same amount of content because I spent a lot of time creating that content. And, um, but I would probably have spread it out a little bit more because I think my content was about eight weeks.
And again, like I said, the six week mark was very difficult for me. And then eight weeks was obviously it was just still like very built up. So, um, I did, I wasn’t really feeling better. So my content, I definitely posted less. Um, we didn’t have the pod podcast, so that was a little bit helpful. Um, but that’s what I would do next time. Um, but really that’s it. I, I think I would just, you know, from the business side, I mean I kind of went on a rant on my personal side, but from the business standpoint, um, I would’ve just, you know, taken off from calls a little bit longer and then also spread out my content batch. But everything else, like all the systems and processes, what I did, um, was, uh, you know, definitely all ran very, very smoothly and I would, I would do it again.
Um, I will say, um, just as another thing to add to this, if you are, um, an entrepreneur and you are looking to, um, prepare your maternity leave, um, I will say that it, it was kind of difficult to not be completely off. So that is another thing that like, maybe I would look into being a little bit more off because I’m, I’m still very, you know, if I wasn’t involved, um, or I wasn’t in client services and played a big role in the service, this would be a little bit more doable if I was, you know, to be completely off. Um, but I, I can’t really do that for the way that my business is set up. So, um, and I don’t actually at this time want to change how my business is set up. Um, I play a huge role in my client services.
So I do all of the strategy, I do all of the calls, um, I build a relationship with my clients. Um, we do have the team too, and they also talk to the clients and, and take care of a lot of the details for us. And, um, I have a team to support me and like campaign builds and, um, we have a creative team and all that. Um, so I’m not, I’m by no means doing everything, but I’m doing, um, a lot of like front facing things. Um, and so I’m very involved and I wanna keep it that way. Um, but you know, it is something to consider in the future, um, to take a step back if, you know, if I wanted to have that, uh, look differently for maternity because I didn’t really, like I said, I didn’t really like take off, um, very much.
I was definitely in Slack. Um, I responded to every client’s message and you know, that’s like, it’s up to you if you think that’s like good or bad, but if I went back to this one, I would still do that again, honestly. Um, just because I felt like I was able to, um, but I would just have had more support personally. Um, and then, you know, even though I wasn’t completely off, like maybe someone with a job would be where they would be like completely off or, I mean, six weeks is not, not enough time at all. It’s a joke of maternity leave, like that’s a whole nother thing about this country. But at those six weeks though, or eight weeks or three months or whatever, the maternity leave them being completely off, um, I, I feel like I would’ve really benefited from that. Um, but I will say, you know, having your own business, this is a huge upside.
There’s a huge upside. Um, so I mean, while I couldn’t take maternity leave completely off, I now get to have so much time with my baby girl and I like, oh my God, I could not be more grateful. Um, so right now she’s in part-time daycare and um, it’s a amazing school, um, here in Westlake in Austin, and I feel really, really great about the place, but I only have her in there for part-time, so she only goes three days a week. And so I have two days that I get to just be with her all day, which is amazing. Um, I still work a little bit on those days, but not much. Um, I’m mostly, my work is pretty much down to three days a week and, uh, again, I’m always in like slack and email and stuff for the other days, but, um, I’m not really like doing work unless it’s there, you know, something comes up or whatever.
So that is a huge upside and honestly it’s, it’s worth the like, kind of hell that I I went through. And again, um, you know, my maternity leave would not have been so difficult if I had hired personal support or had more of a village, um, to help me. Um, and maybe it also wouldn’t have been as difficult if I had a supportive partner too. So, um, I was just felt like I was on an island and, um, that was totally my bad because my, my plan again was to figure out what I needed and just hire as I went. And boy was that a terrible idea because all of my mental capacity went to work. So I had no idea what I needed. If you asked me like, what do you need from me? I’d be like, I, I, I don’t even know. I’m just drowning.
I don’t know. Um, there’s 1000 things to do, just pick something . Um, so yeah, that is my maternity leave recap though. Um, again, things that I would do again, I would definitely have still taken off those calls, um, just probably a little bit longer. Um, all of the systems and, and processes, every task that I did that my team doesn’t normally do and I wasn’t planning on having them do during maternity leave, I, um, had all of those processes laid out just in case. So there were, there was no task that I do in my business that doesn’t have a system or a process in place that’s all like written out, um, with training videos and everything as well, if that’s necessary and that I would definitely do it. Again. I don’t think I used most of those, but it was always there. So I knew that like if I, if there was something that I could not do, um, I could hand it off.
So that was huge. So I would highly, highly recommend that. Um, take some, uh, make some plans to make sure that you don’t have any timed obligations like calls and things like that. Um, and then also this is an extra thing, but, um, having those hiring processes in place made me feel a lot better about, uh, having, you know, like if any like fires happened or you know, a team member, um, needed to leave, um, or we had to let someone go, we had that in place so that my team could take that over as well. Cuz that would really not be ideal to be hiring someone during a maternity leave. But, you know, I mean, things happen, it’s business, um, things definitely do not go how, um, you plan them most of the time. Um, so I would do all of those again. Um, but yeah, I hope that you found this helpful.
Um, and I hope that if you are pregnant, congratulations and uh, I hope that you had some sort of takeaway from this. Um, I think the biggest thing is that just every postpartum is just so different. And I mean like even birth is just so different. I was very grateful that I had a very straightforward birth. Um, it was amazing. I would, I loved it so much. Um, my healing was actually very, very good. Um, and it is fairly like easy dare I say. I mean it was not like, it’s not fun to heal from birth, but it wasn’t too bad at all. Um, and so, and then my baby was healthy, thank god. I mean she did have colleague, which was a nightmare for a few weeks, but, um, it was, you know, overall though she was very, very healthy and thriving. She’s actually in the 98th percentile for, um, height and I think she’s in like 96th for weight.
So she is like, she’s a big girl . Um, so, you know, she was always healthy. So there were a lot of things I did not have like, um, postpartum anxiety and things like that. So, um, but sometimes you do. So being prepared for those things and, um, I highly recommend having support in place ahead of time. At least someone to come by once or twice a week, um, would be really helpful if, especially, especially if you are a single mother and you have no partner and because that means you have zero break, zero, there are no naps, there are no tapping out, there’s no like breaks, there’s no moments, there’s no nothing. There’s none of that. So having that support is gonna be huge. Um, but yeah, I hope that you found this helpful if you are pregnant, congratulations. And, um, if you missed the last episode of the detail of a little bit more of the details of how I planned out the maternity leave, go ahead and check that out cuz I, I would honestly plan it just like I did.
I just probably would’ve done a little bit longer for the calls and I would have, um, done it a little bit longer for the content batching, but not necessarily creating more content but spreading it out more. But yeah, that’s what I have for you this week. I will see you guys next week. Thank you for listening to this Scaling to Freedom podcast. If you are a seven figure coach looking for ads management with an agency that partners with you to get your work out into the world and amplify your impact, see if we are a good fit by applying for a spot in our firstname.lastname@example.org/apply. Find the link in our show notes.