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Entrepreneur and mother on going back to work a week after having a baby

For most women in Australia, when they give birth, a maternity leave period of nine months is standard.

However, what do you do if you’re a first-time entrepreneur or have your own very new business?

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The founder of the online retailer, Black Swallow, Catherine Wong, was in the middle of setting up her business when she gave birth to her son, Lucas – meaning she felt she had to return to work within a week of having her baby.

‘It was a difficult decision which I didn’t take lightly,’ Catherine, 29, told FEMAIL. ‘But I don’t regret my decision at all.’

The founder of the online retailer, Black Swallow, Catherine Wong, was in the middle of setting up her business when she gave birth to her son, Lucas (both pictured)

Because her business was in its infancy, Catherine (pictured with her partner), felt as though she had to return to work within a week of giving birth

Because her business was in its infancy, Catherine (pictured with her partner), felt as though she had to return to work within a week of giving birth

At the time she became pregnant, Catherine, from Sydney, was setting up Black Swallow from her garage:

‘I was still working as a nurse, when I became pregnant, in order to help pay the bills,’ she recalled.

‘I worked both jobs throughout my pregnancy up until around eight months, when I quit nursing to focus on Black Swallow full-time, transitioning from my garage to a warehouse.’ 

Even though she no longer had two jobs to juggle, the 29-year-old admitted that it was hard:

‘I worked right up until my due date and was back in the office within one week of giving birth,’ Catherine said.

‘Within a week, I was back at my desk nursing a newborn and delegating tasks to my team, who were very supportive.’ 

Before she gave birth, Catherine (pictured with her family) was working as a nurse as well as setting up her business - she gave this up at eight months pregnant to focus on Black Swallow

Before she gave birth, Catherine (pictured with her family) was working as a nurse as well as setting up her business – she gave this up at eight months pregnant to focus on Black Swallow

'Within a week, I was back at my desk nursing a newborn and delegating tasks to my team, who were very supportive,' the mother-of-one (pictured with Lucas) said

‘Within a week, I was back at my desk nursing a newborn and delegating tasks to my team, who were very supportive,’ the mother-of-one (pictured with Lucas) said

Catherine’s decision to return to work after giving birth wasn’t purely financial, though money did have an impact:

‘Quitting nursing meant that I had to pay my own maternity leave through self-employment,’ she said. 

‘I didn’t have a choice at the time because I was responsible for staff that I had hired and the business was still new and needed me full-time.’

Mothering and working also fully took its toll on the first-time mum, who confessed she was 'always tired' and 'came close to many breakdowns' - she said she felt bad for missing things with Lucas (pictured)

Mothering and working also fully took its toll on the first-time mum, who confessed she was 'always tired' and 'came close to many breakdowns' - she said she felt bad for missing things with Lucas (pictured)

Mothering and working also fully took its toll on the first-time mum, who confessed she was ‘always tired’ and ‘came close to many breakdowns’ – she said she felt bad for missing things with Lucas (pictured)

'There were times when I wondered if I'd made the right decision to run my own business rather than continue to work as a nurse, which would allow me to have proper time off to simply be a mother,' Catherine (pictured) admitted to FEMAIL

‘There were times when I wondered if I’d made the right decision to run my own business rather than continue to work as a nurse, which would allow me to have proper time off to simply be a mother,’ Catherine (pictured) admitted to FEMAIL

Mothering and working also took its toll on the first-time mum, who confessed she was ‘always tired’ and ‘came close to many breakdowns’:

‘There were times when I wondered if I’d made the right decision to run my own business rather than continue to work as a nurse, which would allow me to have proper time off to simply be a mother.’

It didn’t help that at the time that Catherine was recovering from a traumatic birth – after she was induced at 38 weeks due to her baby being bigger than 95 per cent of other babies. 

‘Looking back now, I was so sleep deprived, drained and often sad,’ she admitted.

‘I probably had undiagnosed post-natal depression which I didn’t seek help for. I had a few breakdowns and lost a lot of bonding time with my son, which I won’t get back.’

While the mother-of-one said she still occasionally feels ‘guilty’, Catherine also said she feels ‘proud’:

‘I am due in two weeks with our second baby and the business is now at a point where I am able to take the proper time off to be the mother I wanted to be first time around,’ Catherine said.

'I probably had undiagnosed post-natal depression which I didn't seek help for. I had a few breakdowns and lost a lot of bonding time with my son, which I won't get back,' Catherine said

‘I probably had undiagnosed post-natal depression which I didn’t seek help for. I had a few breakdowns and lost a lot of bonding time with my son, which I won’t get back,’ Catherine said

Now, Catherine (pictured) is pregnant with her second child - and she told Daily Mail Australia that she plans to do things a little differently

Now, Catherine (pictured) is pregnant with her second child – and she told Daily Mail Australia that she plans to do things a little differently

Despite everything she’s been through and the stresses and struggles, Catherine said she has no regrets:

‘It was challenging, but I don’t regret it,’ she said.

‘I worked hard each and every day for a year and hired an amazing team who continue to contribute to business growth. 

‘The great thing is I don’t need to work full-time in the office anymore. I am able to work from home while the kids nap.’



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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