One married Bay Area couple has decided to co-parent with a friend, so that their baby has not two legal parents — but three.
Zeke Hausfather and Avary Kent, who are married, and their friend David Jay decided to become co-parents of their daughter, Octavia. But why? Avary told WBUR it’s because she and Zeke wanted to create a bigger family together:
Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of family here in the Bay Area, and we knew as entrepreneurs and people who value our careers and multifaceted parts of our lives, that when we decided to have a child, that we would want support, and we would want to be part of a larger community in that effort … and exposure to lots of different points of view and lots of really incredible people that we know. And so the process started many years ago with David, in talking about how we may come together as a family. It didn’t start with this idea of being co-parents.
Meanwhile, for David, it was the perfect opportunity for someone who identifies as asexual. For him, having a child on his own would prove to be more difficult because of that:
For me as an asexual person, I’ve kind of always known I wanted kids, but felt that it was pretty unlikely that I was gonna have kids in a traditional way. And I’ve always formed really close, committed relationships with my friends, including friends that are couples. And so even when I was in my 20s and thinking about what might kids look like to me, the possibility that I might form a committed relationship with a couple and help them raise one or more children was really appealing to me.
And then I met my partner in 2011, and it became pretty clear early on that she didn’t want kids, and I really did. And so what I said to her was, ‘Look, I am gonna find a way to have kids in my life. If our relationship can be flexible, if we can each have the room to do what we need to do, then I’ll find a way to have kids in my life and you can make your own decision about whether or not you wanna have kids.’
And what we wound up realizing was, it makes a lot of sense for me to be a co-parent, and for her to be a person in the child’s life, but not to be primarily, you know, bottle-feeding at 4 a.m.
When it comes to the division of labor and financial commitments, the trio have figured out a workable system. Zeke explained:
Ever since week three or so, since we’ve been able to bottle-feed her with store-pressed milk, D.J.’s been able to help out for half the night. So we now divide the night into two shifts: Avary and I take one shift, he takes the other — either late or early — and then his shift, the baby is in his room sleeping in a little bassinet there, and he bottle-feeds her when she wakes up, changes her diaper, et cetera. So we get a lot better rested and we also get to spend a lot more time together as a couple. You know, in some ways I think it’s really good for our relationship.
You can listen to them talk more about it here.