And I’ve always loved the variety of my work as a journalist, belly dancer, vlogger andfilm maker.6 reasons why being a stay at home parent is stressfulUntil I became pregnant with my first child and, the real difficulties on surviving off the gig economy and freelance work hit home.I was told in no uncertain terms by a client that I should hide my pregnancy until the last minute.’Nobody will take you on as a freelancer, if they know you’re pregnant,’ they said.So as a budding career person who needed the money, I took their advice.I continued to juggle jobs while concealing a bulging belly.I never knew where the next job would come from so I threw myself, as ever, into my work.I felt lucky to be offered any money for a “gig” to make ends meet.I dreaded the day when my belly rounded and it became too obvious to hide that I was pregnant.And finally, at eight months pregnant, I had to ‘admit’ to clients that I was pregnant.But I reassured everyone that my work would continue regardless, although I had to temporarily give up the belly dancing.So even when I went into labour, I was answering work calls, refusing to ‘give in’ to this accidental motherhood journey.I gave myself a week off to come to terms with suddenly having a human being to care for, before pitching for work I could attempt to do from home, while nursing my newborn baby and nipping out to groups.I didn’t have the luxury of maternity leave and pay, as I didn’t belong to any workforce. I just lived off job by job, pitch by pitch.It impacted my health greatly and I got postnatal depression as I hadn’t mentally prepared.Often people would say to me, ‘You’re so lucky to be able to work from home.’And while I appreciated the money when it came, the reality was very different.Freelancing from home meant working non stop while trying to manoeuvre my baby’s mouth on my lactating breast; shushing them as I desperately attempted to make professional phone calls.Sometimes I’d have to take my newborn along with me to belly dancing gigs, as she would be nursing for most of the night. A friend would hold her while I performed.Then when my baby started to move around and became a toddler, it became harder to juggle working while entertaining my child.Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a mum and going to baby groups and having coffees and cries with fellow new parents but it is tough to sort childcare at the last minute.You also don’t want to risk booking a nursery place in case you don’t get work on those days.I was supposed to be living the freelancing dream with regular work, but this was in juxtaposition to my nightmare finding childcare.I really regret those days as I was always hustling and rarely stopped to properly bond with my child.That said, it wasn’t out of choice; I hadn’t planned to live hand to mouth, but I guess that’s the world we live in now with the gig economy.There are very few rights for hard working families and the winners are certainly not us, or our children it’s the people at the top..
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