The title of this post may be a bit dramatic to some, but hear me out.
I know I can’t be alone when I say motherhood has been so much different than I ever imagined. For some reason I thought I knew exactly what kind of mom I’d be. All the things I would do and wouldn’t do. And let me just say, in my mind, I had it together much more than I do in real life. I thought I’d have so many friends in the same stage of life as me (I do!), I thought they’d live close by (they didn’t!).
I never realized how overwhelmed I would be as a mom. Whether I was working in an office full time, working from home full time or working from home part time, they’re each a different type of overwhelmed.
For me, we co-slept (your child sleeps in your room) from the beginning. I started bed-sharing with Blaire when she was around 6 weeks old. She was a Frank Breech baby, which resulted in one of her hips not fusing correctly. So she had to wear a Pavlic harness, starting at 6 weeks old, 23 hours a day, for 8 weeks. She couldn’t be swaddled and she only slept well if I was holding her. Once we started bed-sharing, I realized how much easier it was to feed her over night. Before this, I had been exclusively pumping. I would wake up overnight twice to pump and would make her a bottle each time. I was suddenly getting wayyy more sleep than I had since she had been born and it was freaking magical.
Going back to work the day Blaire turned 12 weeks old was one of the hardest days of my life. It was a Tuesday and every Tuesday since the day she was born I would remind myself the day I would have to leave her with someone else for 11 hours a day (Monday through Friday) was coming. So, while Blaire was done wearing her harness at 12 weeks old, we kept bed-sharing. After 6 weeks of it she had gotten used to sleeping next to me. And it honestly was something I looked forward to every night. I missed her so much while I was at work. Snuggling her was quality time for my mama heart and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I still love it.
I have been open with my anxiety battles. Having Blaire in our room, whether it was sleeping next to me in bed or sleeping in her pack and play, was the only way I could calm my mind. We finally moved Blaire into her crib in her own room when she was 11 months old. She still likes to sneak in our bed around 4AM every night and we don’t mind it one bit. Both of us love that chance to snuggle her.
I thought maybe I’d be better about moving Ben to his own room sooner, but I wasn’t. We moved him around 13 months. He still wakes up around 3:30AM and comes into our room. Sometimes he goes into his pack and play and sometimes he comes straight into our bed.
Honestly there is nothing more comforting to me than laying in bed, in the dark, knowing my entire family is safe and sound in our comfy bed. Listening to the breathing of the three people I love most in this world is so comforting to me. These moments are the times I sleep the best. They are the time my mind is calm and when I feel safe.
Co-sleeping saved me. It saved my sanity. It saved me from the mom guilt I had when I was working. It saved me from my anxiety. It saved me from nights of laying away for hours staring at the baby monitor. It saved me. Mentally and physically.
If you are co-sleeping or bed-sharing, you aren’t failing. Even if you told yourself you never would, you are allowed to change your mind! You deserve sleep. You deserve to feel safe. You deserve to do what feels right for you.