By Megan Smiley, Nov 25 2019 04:17PM

There are many pros and cons of being self employed. Being my own boss, therefore I can do what I believe is right and I don't have to get approval from the powers that be is a big draw. Also the flexibility, in theory, that it provides. I say in theory because as most small business owners know, the boundaries between work and life do get pushed at times as you are so passionate and involved in the business. But probably the biggest pro for me is that I've been able to make a business and career out of doing something I think is really important and that I love, developing my business over the years to a place I want it to be.

On the other side, the cons. Well the fact you don't get holiday pay, sick pay or all the other benefits you might get from working for someone else. But apart from missing that 'oh doesn't this feel amazing being on holiday and getting paid for it', the biggest con for me would be not having colleagues. I work from my own studio and massage room and it's just me. So there aren't people to ask opinions about work issues, seek support when you need it, make a cup of tea for and maybe most importantly, to cover for you.

So on the first day of over four months maternity leave, I feel I've deserted my post with no-one to cover. I have of course made plans for my clients so they'll continue with their health and fitness journeys and I've found replacement people/activities but I can't help feeling like I'm abandoning them a little.

It is quite hard to plan for the future when it's baby orientated. When to finish? How long to take off? I mean who knows when he'll actually turn up or how he'll turn up! I've been optimistic/thinking very wishfully that he won't be too early/late or problematic arriving! But it is a very much unknown event, and an unknown time. Some women change their perspective of life after having a baby and don't want to rush back to work if going back at all, some decide to change careers, others carry on (as much as you can) as they were before. My plan is somewhere in-between, starting working one day a week relatively quickly and then upping to two days when it feels right, with full-time hours somewhere in the distant future.

As a person who likes to have everything planned meticulously and doesn't really do well with spontaneity and going with the flow these coming months, who am I kidding, years, might be somewhat of a change and challenge for me! There has never been such a massive life-changing event (as everyone keeps telling us – life will never be the same again once you've had a child!) that I've had so little control over. But in a weird way I'm actually looking forward to the uncertainty of how the next chapter will pan out. It's exciting, daunting and uncharted territory!

By Megan Smiley, Jul 23 2019 08:41AM

If you've read some of my blog posts before you'll have heard me going on about how amazing I think the body is. From the way we can physically train and develop it, to the power of our minds and the way it can heal and rebuild itself. Well, I'm in a new state of awe with the human, or should I say, the female body as I am now 20 weeks pregnant.

I find it both amazingly mind boggling and also the most naturally instinctive thing my body has ever done. Now I'm not saying I'm naturally amazing at being pregnant. There have been very few perfect pregnancy moments or moments worthy of Instagram posts over the past few months. And anyone who knew and asked me how I was in the first trimester would know that was the case. I very much did not enjoy that stage and the only way I could deal with the constant nausea was to constantly eat. In a normal situation, constantly eating but with a valid reason sounds right up my street. However in this situation it was a necessity and not a pleasure, and possibly for the first time in my life I stopped enjoying food.

What I'm talking about by being instinctive is the anatomical and physiological changes your body makes, and these are absolutely fascinating and remarkable. From the heightened sense of smell to help you avoid gone off/bad food, to the production of a hormone called relaxin that loosens your ligaments and joints in preparation for labour, to the expansion of the ribcage to accommodate the growing baby taking up space in the abdomen. There are so many more too: changes affecting the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine systems, so basically everything! A lot of these changes are subtle and gradual, and some people might experience or notice some more than others. But the bottom line is the body is such a clever bit of kit!

There are also psychological changes. I'm in full nesting mood with most weeks a bag of bits going down to the charity shop and a new bag of baby bits coming in, thanks to the donations from friends who are “definitely not having another one”! The joys of being a geriatric mother – not my words but the words of the medical world what with the fact that I'm over 35 - are that lots of my friends have done the baby thing already and got lots of stuff to pass on. Also, I'm trying to finish any on-going house projects, doing any house maintenance required and sorting the (still over-grown) garden.

Someone recently told me that once the baby arrives life will never be the same. They didn't say it in either a positive or negative way, just matter of factly. But for me the changes have already been happening for the past five months, and they might in many ways be less impactful changes than we have ahead of us. All the same I am very aware how my body and mind have been processing and adapting for the impending arrival.