Thursday, March 3, 2011

deeper sleep

I have been relegated to the bed in the downstairs back room. A cough has found my chest and will not let up. It has a stronghold on the area below my neck at the top of my rib cage and it shakes fierce and wild in the night hours.

So, I’ve been banished from the family bed.

Obviously, this banishment has occurred for good reason.

I can’t keep the other members of my household up with my deep, hollow, non-productive coughing.

But I miss my dear ones.

And their absence during my dark hours makes me think a lot about how we came to this place of sharing our bed with our wee one. Before Willa came to us, I really did not read much about what to do after she was really here with us. Then she was born. This little, little being cast down to us from some star that finally decided to give up a small piece of the glitter, light, and energy that makes it a star. And, when she fell from her mama’s womb onto our dingy sheets, I knew she could be only there with us, on us, between us in our bed when we slept.

Of course, at that point, I had to consult some books and our midwife and our doula to make sure we were sleeping with her safely. But having her with us in bed and then having her with us in a sling or in our arms as we work and go about our living, well, it all seems so right and perfect.

I did not consult tons of books. The ones I did kind of made me pissy. i.e. dr. sear.s heterosexist extraordinaire. While I think he has a lot to share about a lot of things, I am not some big barreled daddy with a low voice who will accidentally roll on my daughter due to lack of hormonal connection (dr. s says for co-sleeping heterosexuals to put off having the male part of the relationship sleep closely to the infant cause he might smoosh the baby since birth-mothers have all of this hormonal and regular intuition they should be the ones to have the wee ones close by). I could accidentally roll on her, but so could k and we have set up perimeters to keep that from happening.

Willa’s been sleeping in the crook of my arm since she was 8 hours old.
Not every night. But many.

The point of this post is to say, thus far, I am very fond of our family bed. I love it. I love my daughter being close to us. I love the fact that k can side lie nurse and get better (if not still vague) sleep through the night. I love reaching out to feel my sweet willa near by. I love learning her idiosyncrasies. My child is a fidget. She squirms and twists and flails like a worm over flame.

She is also incredibly particular. There have been nights when she wants to just be flat on her back on my chest. I’ll put her next to me on the bed and she will fuss. Cause, see, she knows what she wants. Other nights we hold her tight and close and she calms her fidgeting and falls fast to sleep.

The family bed brings this kind of intense insight into our own selves and to our little one. We know more about each other as animals, as creatures, as our vulnerable selves. I know it will not last forever. It may not even last for many more months. But, this time so far has been precious and enlightening and I would not trade it for anything, not even deeper sleep.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We've had family bed for three years and I love my daughter's familiarity and entitlement about being right there with us. Nursing at night and sleeping with her helped me with our daytime separation, for a long time. Right now it's just what we do. When she's comfy and interested in her own space, we will facilitate that (she's got a room and a bed, for when the time is right). It's good stuff. (I did protect L from my big galumphing heavy sleeping partner by keeping her in the crook of my arm. Sad when she outgrew that space a bit.)