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Friends Helped Raise My Baby During Senior Year So I Could Graduate

During my senior year of college, my husband and I found out we were expecting a baby. The news was a complete shock to us. I had always thought that having a baby would mean the end of my life as I knew it. There was this prevailing stigma that you couldn’t continue doing what you loved once you had a child.

At that time, I was deeply involved in my classes, working part-time, and playing rugby. My team had just clinched a national title the previous year, and we were training hard to secure another one. The thought of telling my coach that I was pregnant and couldn’t play anymore was terrifying. I was also determined to graduate from college, especially with just one year left. Quitting work was not an option since we needed the money.

Determined not to give up on my dreams, I decided I would have the baby and still pursue all the things I loved. We lived in a two-bedroom house in a college town, surrounded by other students, and my brother lived just two doors down. This proximity laid the foundation for the support system we would desperately need.

During my pregnancy, friends began to offer their help, but their support truly blossomed once our daughter Hinami was born. With both of us pursuing degrees, playing rugby, and working part-time, we knew we needed all the help we could get.

Our group chat morphed into a daycare forum, with friends volunteering to take care of Hinami when my husband and I weren’t available. My days often started at 4 a.m., waking up to pump breastmilk so my husband could feed her in the morning. I’d leave for rugby practice at 5 a.m. and return by 7 a.m. From there, I would work from home while my husband went to classes. Thankfully, Hinami typically slept until 11 a.m., allowing me to work uninterrupted. By the time she arrived, I was getting my master’s degree, which allowed for more flexibility regarding class schedules. Afternoons were devoted to work while my husband took care of her.

There were plenty of moments when neither of us could watch Hinami due to our busy schedules with work, rugby, or school. Our friends often stepped in to help, sometimes passing her from one person to another like a baton. Remarkably, we’ve only had to pay for childcare a handful of times since her birth. This community of friends has not only saved us money but has also provided invaluable support in raising our daughter.

Our evenings are typically social, with friends coming over and Hinami staying up late with us, sometimes until midnight. She is often present during our sports watch parties or study sessions. Our friends even volunteer for her nighttime feedings and never fail to make her laugh. They have shown an incredible level of protectiveness over her.

One of the most heartwarming things to observe has been the way the guys in our friend group interact with Hinami. While I expected my female friends to exhibit a motherly instinct, seeing the college boys nurture and play with a baby who isn’t theirs has been unexpectedly sweet and endearing.

Perhaps it’s Hinami’s personality or the effect of being raised by college students, but she has become very adaptable to different people and environments. From birth, she’s been surrounded by a variety of people, which has made her quite resilient to change.

Raising her among people who don’t have children has been liberating. It has allowed me to become a first-time mom without the fear of judgment. We’ve all been learning what it means to care for a baby together.

Without this village of friends, raising Hinami would have been a much more daunting task. Their support has been a game-changer, allowing me to be a mom, an athlete, a student, and an employee, all while taking care of a newborn.

Source: Business Insider