CARBONDALE — Brittany Adams will be celebrating twice this weekend.
On Saturday, she will receive her master’s degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in social work. On Sunday, she will celebrate her first Mother’s Day with her 9-month-old daughter, Rowan.
Adams found out she was pregnant with her daughter just before the end of the school year — in fact it was during finals about two years ago.
“(This is) the only test I passed,” she said, laughing, remembering her thought to herself then.
She freaked out.
“I took eight tests because I wanted one of them to be negative,” Adams recalled. She said even during her pregnancy she was in a bit of disbelief. But it all clicked when Rowan was put in her arms.
The last nine months have been hard, but not unmanageable, Adams said.
“I wish more things were kid-friendly on campus,” Adams said admitting that some of the biggest challenges were finding bathrooms with changing stations or lactation rooms where she could feed or pump breast milk in private.
In a way, though, she said being a student made this first year easier. Adams said were she working she could have lost her job when the babysitter cancelled and there’s not way she could have spent as much time with Rowan in these first few months.
Adams said her graduate assistantship was easy to work with when she had to call off last minute and she would often take Rowan to class with her.
“They all love her,” she said of her professors.
This was a blessing — she said in the first five months of Rowan’s life, she would only miss about 10 hours a week with her.
The work was no joke, though. For her degree she said she had to maintain a full course load as well as complete a more than 600 hour internship — all this while balancing being a single, new mother.
When asked if she planned on putting all that on future resume, Adams laughed.
“I feel like I should,” she said. She remembered often typing or working with one hand while holding a bottle with the other.
“I remember being tired a lot,” she said of this first year.
Rowan was unexpected. But, as she decorated her cap Friday and a matching cap for Rowan — they would be wearing matching outfits Saturday — Adams said she feels good about her little family.
“I don’t regret her,” she said.
Things aren’t the same with Rowan, but she’s OK with that.
“It’s a good different.”