New Moms Make Mistakes
Nine years ago when I became a mother I never expected to become the kind of mother I am today.
When my eldest was born everything I’d read said to sleep-train. To place my child in a crib in her own room so she could learn to sleep on her own.
She did great, and we never had a problem.
Not So New Moms Make Mistakes Too
When my son was born nearly four years ago we continued on as we always had, but this time there was more difficulty.
He displayed a need for more contact and more connection. Where my eldest slept in the bassinet beside my bed in the hospital, my son wouldn’t sleep without being in my arms.
Sadly, instead of realizing his needs and accommodating them, I stubbornly trudged ahead. I had college classes beginning three weeks after his birth and anxiety clawed at me. How would I manage the requirements of school if he insisted on being held all the time?
It took years to realize this was just another symptom of my on-going battle with anxiety.
Looking back now, I realize how the choices I made then affect our family everyday.
You Can Teach an Old Mom New Tricks
Last year, when my youngest was born, things were different.
I had drastically changed in the three years since my son was born. The Lord had softened my heart and shined light into the dark corners.
The military base house we live in only has three bedrooms, and the age range is so wide between my children I quickly realized there was no place except our bedroom to place her.
A bassinet was placed on my side of the bed, within quick reach, since we were trying to breastfeed.
After her birth I had severe postpartum anxiety, and holding her in my arms was the only thing that calmed me. Feeling her heart beat, and her breath against my cheek slowed the panic that clawed at me. Often this would lead me to fall asleep, content with holding her, and knowing she was safe in my arms.
Years ago I would have made sure she went to bed in that bassinet and slept in that through the night. I would have loved her, snuggled and fed her, and then put her back to bed.
Like I mentioned, I’m no longer that mother.
Returning her to her bassinet started happening less and less frequently.
One night as I snuggled her beside me, and buried my nose in her downy soft hair, I realized I’d been missing out on something amazing. I had been so concerned about suffocating my babies while I slept, that I had denied us both the love and connection we needed.
I had become a co-sleeping, bed-sharing parent, by accident–or by His design. Something I never would have considered before.
My prayer that night was one of wonder and thanksgiving. The Lord had blessed me with another little girl, and in doing so, had opened my heart to something new.
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
As she has gotten older she has slept in her crib off and on. Each night after she falls asleep between us, we’ll transfer her to her bed. Most nights she will still end up in bed with us again.
Now that she is bigger and takes up quite a bit more space, because she sleeps like I do, our snuggles in bed aren’t always as comfortable or relaxing.
What those nights lack in comfort, they more than make up for by filling my heart with happiness, peace, and the knowledge that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
God has once again changed me. I may be continually sleep deprived, but I’ve got a different kind of connection with my youngest than I ever imagined possible. She is just as independent as her older siblings, but she is happy snuggled against me as she drifts off to sleep.
I’m not sure how things will be as she gets older, but I know this is the path Our Heavenly Father has placed me on.
I will walk it in faith.
Did you co-sleep with your children? What is a memory you enjoy from that time?