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Being independant and pregnant
Thread poster: Anne-Virginie Lerat

Anne-Virginie Lerat  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
Member (2003)
English to French
+ ...
Aug 21, 2006

Hello all,

I have been working as a freelance translator for three years now. As I a freelancer, I work... a lot ! I am pregnant with my first child, due at the end of November. I plan on starting working part-time after several weeks of pregnancy leave. I was wondering if I could get some advice from fellow translators and moms. How do you manage your time ?



Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:39
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
find a good nanny! Aug 21, 2006

When my son was 3 months old we hired a very good nanny who took him for walks in his stroller for up to 4 hours at a time so I could get work done.

Now that we're in the U.S. again, I've used teenage babysitters, but it's a different dynamic and I try not to rely on them too much. I also take my son to the playroom at the YMCA and sit in the lobby and work on my laptop.

I hate to say it, but cartoons can also be a lifesaver when you're short of time.

All the best to you and your baby!


Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Congratulations! Aug 21, 2006

I also hired a nanny for 8 hours a day after my triplets were born. I think at an early age they don't need you so much (unless you are breastfeeding, of course). I went back to work a month after the triplets' birth. Things got a bit more complicated when they started being more active and interacting more (age 8 months onward), but it can be done if you learn to work in segments of time, alternating childcare (and other duties) with work. But you definitely need a support system (baby sitter, grandmothers, etc.), otherwise it can be really stressful.


[Edited at 2006-08-21 07:18]


Els Hoefman  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
English to Dutch
+ ...
Daycare Aug 21, 2006

Hi Anne-Virginie,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! My son was born last November and I look after him most of the time, but he goes to daycare three mornings per week, so that I have the time to work for a few hours without being disturbed. If I have to work while he is at home, he plays in the playpen next to me, but I try to limit that time since you cannot expect a small child to sit and play in the playpen for hours on end. In the worst case I work in the evening, when he is asleep, but that has not been necessary very often. Once I made the mistake of expecting him to be good and let mommy finish a job that took longer than expected, but in the end we were both so frustrated that I promised myself (and him) to never do that again...

All in all it is perfectly possible as long as you do not accept too much work and you avoid rush jobs etc.

Good luck!


Natalya Zelikova  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
Nanny Aug 21, 2006

Hi Anne-Virginie,


We hired a nanny when my daughter was 10 months old and it was a great relief.
At the beginning it was not too difficult to look after my daughter - I even didn't have to stop working on the day she was born and could easily find the time for work few days after, since she slept too much. When she was awake, we (me and my husband) were looking after her in turns - one hour he played with her, the next hour - I did.
But after 10 months of such "work" it was a good decision to hire a nanny.
She worked full day - feeding baby, taking her for a walk, playing, cooking, shopping, etc.
Both working at home we were always able to see what and how they are doing, but still having time to work.


Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:39
Italian to English
Congratulations! Aug 21, 2006

This is a very good question, as this must be something that affects most female translators. It is something I have also been wondering about, as I'm thinking of trying for a baby in the near future. Ideally I would like to work part time for a while and do without a nanny, but I suppose a point may come when it becomes essential.
I hope everything goes well for you!


Local time: 07:39
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Welcome to the club ;o) Aug 21, 2006

When my daughter was born, I took around 2 weeks leave, but then I had to start working again in order to not lose all my customers.

In the beginning, this was really no problem, since they tend to sleep a lot, but when she was around 3 months old, she started craving more and more attention and activities, and so my work hours were limited to her nap-times.

Once, I made the grave mistake of not giving her my full attention, whenever she was awake (I was pressed for time, and I could hardly wait for her to take another nap), and this backfired! She didn't take ANY naps for 3 days!!! Talk about being stressed out.

From that age and until she could get in daycare (at 7 months), I worked whenever she was asleep and in the evenings, and we were so fortunate that our neighbour offered to play with her for an hour a couple of days a week.

I will not pretend that this is an easy time you're facing, but your love for your child and for your work will make everything work out for you.

Congratulations and best wishes for you and you baby.


Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:39
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Link to previous thread Aug 21, 2006

Hi there and congratulations.

You may find it interesting to look at this previous thread on the subject:

My mother still helps out with childcare and my daughter goes to nursery school twice a week. I worked part-time for the first two years. Basically, I had to adapt the way I work, becoming used to interruptions and working in small bits rather than for hours at a stretch. I also had to learn to work late at night (often until 2 am) when everyone is asleep and there is finally some peace and quiet. I used to work best in the mornings from 6 am, but if I get up early these days, I seem to wake up the children and end up looking after them, so I don't do this unless absolutely necessary.

Given that I am a very impatient person, learning to be more patient and adaptable has certainly been the most challenging part of being a mother!


Teresa Bento  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:39
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That is such a good question Aug 21, 2006

I've always wondered about it, being a young translator and a young woman, since I can see it coming in the future. I got to say I enjoyed reading all your stories and advice!

This is the dilemma of all women: career or family?
I guess the bottom line is: yes, it's possible for you to keep on working, but your working hours will be less and, of course, you'll need help taking care of your baby, in order to have enough time to rest and do everything you need... It will be tough to get enough time but will power is one of the strongest female traits, I'm sure. I hope you'll be able to get a nanny's help, or grandma's help, and your partner's. Remember that if you divide tasks, everything becomes easier and nobody gets all the load!
You have to realise there will be times when you can't make it on your own, even if that is your strongest wish. I've read somewhere that when a child is born, you stop being the center of your own universe, to become the center of the baby's universe and that is so right. Having a child is one of the most beautiful things that can happen to you.
I hope you'll be able to enjoy your baby's growth and evolution (because they grow up so very fast!) without harming your relationship with customers and your workflow very much.
All the best!


erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
hi anne-virginie, Aug 21, 2006

I got my son three months ago. The next day after giving birth I was already translating in the hospital. Two weeks later I had my first interpretation appointment. As far as you are only translating at home, it is not a big problem, provided the child doesnt cry all the time. It happens sometimes. If you have some appointments outside you should ask greatparents. My boyfriend also works at home. so it was not a problem, of course if you dont give a breast. I heard that there are a lot of "creche" in France. It is a big problem in Germany.
Good luck


Claire Titchmarsh (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
Italian to English
+ ...
Congratulations Aug 21, 2006

I posted a thread on this topic about a year ago and was relieved to see that I wasn't the only person with this "problem". My children are both tiny (14 and 32 months) but I work 8 hours out of every 24, thanks to a combination of fellow-translator husband, mother-in-law and working at night. I count myself really lucky that I can work from home, because I get to see them for at least 2 hours in the middle of the day, which makes the whole working-mother thing less traumatic for everybody.

Just make sure you build in a "baby allowance" when negotiating your deadlines!!!


Olga Dubeshka (X)  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:39
Russian to English
+ ...
congratulations! Aug 21, 2006

Hi Anne- Virginie,

When I was pregnant with my son people used to tell me all the time : your life is about to change. Boy, did I not expect
a change that big!

Unlike all previous posters, we do not have family close-by.
My husband worked long hours at the office and we decided early on we will not have a nanny. Daycare in US (at least where we live ) is very expensive and the quality not always good.
I guess that left me with no choice but to stay at home with Evan, my son , and try to work part-time.
I would suggest you decide if you will breastfeed or not
BEFORE the baby comes. Bear in mind , for some women easy and effortless, breastfeeding was very difficult and
very, very time-consuming for me. My son ate for at least 45 min. every 2-3 hours. Day and night ! THe first three months are really tough...Expect huge sleep deprivation ! Also, my son was a screamer - literally, screamed all the time (or so it seemed) However, I am a huge breastfeeding advocate , and any pediatrician will tell you that it is the ultimate best way to feed your infant.

When Evan was born I discovered I could still work. Yes, you work nights, weekends , whenever you can, but the challenges of motherhood can sometimes overwhelm you
as they are, and when you throw in deadlines and editors and so on , you really can get very stressed.I remember breastfeeding my son as I was typing some urgent translation... THe worst thing is when clients call
and they hear him screaming his head off !

NOw that he is 18 months, it has actually gotten more difficult - he talks, runs around and needs 24/7 supervision.
I work a lot less now. I guess we are lucky my husband`s income is sufficient ! I spend more time teaching my son to talk, both languages of course, and looking after him all day
is a job so demanding that I would say translating is a lot easier ! Also, in my case, now I do not get paid:)

I do not know what financial situation you are in, but it would be smart to try and limit your job load in the first few months (if you can). Later, even if you are breastfeeding, you can hire a babysitter for at least a few hours a day.
However, infants should be with their parents as much as possible (the bonding thing). Involve all the relatives you can to look after the baby so you could eat, take a shower
or take a nap! Do not be shy to ask for help!

Motherhood is so great, with so many wonderful things in it, but also comes with sleep deprivation, a lot of new responsibilities and exhaustion... SOmehow though you learn to deal with everything and things become easier...Just know it is OK, and every mother probably went through it! You will too.

The best of luck to you and your little one.


Susy Ordaz  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:39
Portuguese to English
+ ...
You need all the help you can get Aug 21, 2006

Congratulations, having children is one of the most incredible goals a woman can have. I have three girls, ages 9, 8 and 2. What a handful!!

In order to get my work done I rely on a nanny. She comes everyday during the afternoons. Needless to say I get nothing done in the morning. But I lock myself in my home office and work like crazy. I think it´s all about organization, patience and routine, you will get the hang of things.

Take care.



Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:39
Member (2005)
+ ...
Congrtaulations :) Aug 22, 2006

Take it easy, and just think of organizing your time. Give yourself a break of work for the first 2 weeks until you get used to your new baby routine.

When I first had my baby (Abraham), I didn't just work as a freelancer, I was a freelance translator, a part-time employed, a university student, a house wife AND a breast feeding mom.

It was hard at the beginning (especially with me having my son in the age of 20 ... but I just got used to it by time. My baby was even worse than Evan the screamer, he hardly slept or got me to sleep, and I had to change diapers at least twice an hour GRRRRRRRRRRRicon_biggrin.gif

It should all depend on your new baby and how to match his life with yours. In my case, and after two weeks of break from all around but my baby, I went for setting a to-do list. Breast feeding gets organized after two weeks, so you actually get to know how long your baby should spend on that and when. Once this basic item is set, you can arrange all your other daily activities around that and in between. Start with a paper in the first hour of the new week or the first hour of a new day, write down what you need to do, and how long is it going to take you. Decide on which comes first, and which can wait, keep that paper in your pocket, wear a hand watch, and get out of bed. You'll just have to keep looking at that paper all the time and follow it without having to spend time thinking of what and which to do next (in my case, that paper saved me A LOT OF TIME).

On studying, I had to inform all my professors in advance that attendance is no longer a choice for me before those two weeks. I collected my missing lectures from colleagues later, but I moved my sections to different times and arranged a new time table (all before having my baby actually). I had my lectures at times when my husband is back home or on his days off ... and I HAD TO ask for help on urgent events (a last min. exam I can't delay, or a sudden change in my husband working hours ... happened rarely but still there). But generally, all went fine, especially with my house being located nearby my college. I could attend an hour or two lectures and get back home in 5 mins.

My part-time job was also a translation job, and I just had to turn it into my house. My boss just sent all the work needed to my e-mail and I handled that too. My two weeks off were taken from my OWN vacation, and I had to complain about that (the office system didn't include motherhood vacations), so we had to agree on working at home (HE had to actually not meicon_biggrin.gif, but I got it in the endicon_wink.gif)

Away from the far less sleeping hours you'll get, all should be fineicon_smile.gif

My husband is the least helpful in similar matters, he knows nothing about babies (was even scared to carry his own first newborn), and know nothing about house work, so I had to handle it all on my own. I even had to set my baby's sleeping and feeding times while I'm away and he's home with his dad at any hours but those the poor kid had to spend with his fathericon_biggrin.gif

Now, I'm graduated (BA in English Literature), running my own freelance business (gave up that part time job), and sending my 4-years-old son to KG1 (yet not on summericon_biggrin.gif)

If I can survive all that, then you can do it tooicon_smile.gif

Best wishes of good luck and congratulations againicon_smile.gif


Natalie Lyssova
Local time: 08:39
English to Russian
+ ...
Congratulations and good luck to you! Aug 23, 2006

Hi Anne- Virginie,

When I had my first baby two years and 4 months ago, I was working in the office till the delivery date and returned to translations at home, mostly in the evenings, when my son was two weeks old. Of course I couldn't do much at that time, and being a work addict I could not imagine that my goals will change to such extent after the baby is born!

But having credit obligations, I had to get back to full-time work as soon as possible, and my husband has helped a lot. He has been staying with our son since the Junior was 4,5 months old, and I was out working again, while continuing breast feeding till my son was 2 years 2 months old.

Now I am pregnant again and expect to have another baby in December. I don't want to hire a nanny and am going to cope with both kids alone now, while my husband is busy constructing a new house for our family. But I have personal reasons for this. If you have an opportunity to hire a nanny or have someone else help you, accept any help you can get! However, I would say, don't overdo it if this assistance concerns your baby directly. I know that if I didn't accept my mother-in-law's assistance with the baby in the first two weeks of his life, my relations with my newborn son would be much more harmonic from the very start. I am not going to repeat the same mistake with the second baby and will accept relative visitors only after my baby is at least two or three months old. My husband and myself are going to manage our family alone, and I hope not to be out of translation job for more than two weeks this time as well.

Good luck to you!

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