Cosleeping is a hotly debated topic in the world of Mommies. Well, I’ve never actually heard real world Mommies talking about it much. So I guess it would be more accurate to say in the world of internet Mommies. Funny how the internet can conjure up all sorts of otherwise ignored topics. Anyway, cosleeping is defined by Wikipedia (the experts on everything, I know) as “a practice in which babies and young children sleep in close proximity to one or both parents, as opposed to a separate room.” Bed-sharing is a subcategory of cosleeping that involves having the baby or child actually in the bed with the parent(s). Those in favor of cosleeping cite the practices of other countries as their irrefutable evidence that cosleeping is the way to go. Apparently, if people in India do it, so should we. They also say that it promotes bonding, encourages breastfeeding, and ensures that your child will go to Harvard. (Ok, maybe the jury is still out on that last one.)
Personally, I am not a cosleeper. I can barely tolerate bedsharing with my husband. When it is time to sleep I want no part of him touching any part of me. Maybe that’s weird, but I am what I am. When Emmalee was a newborn, I did have her sleep in a pack n play next to my bed. Which was, in a word, awful. Every time she moved even slightly, I woke up. As soon as Emma slept a good nine hour stretch at about two months old, I kicked her right out and into her crib in her own room.
This topic is on my mind because when I got home last night I discovered that my air conditioning wasn’t working. My house was an unbearable 82 degrees. There was no way that Emma and I, who are used to sleeping in temperatures at least ten degrees cooler, would be able to suffer the heat through the night. So, we packed up our things and headed to Grammy’s house. The downside to this arrangement was that we had to resort to cosleeping. I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of bedsharing. I didn’t think it would be safe, given the circumstances. Emmalee could have fallen off the bed. Or I would have woken up with stiff limbs because if she is sleeping next to me I can’t move at all for fear of waking her. So she slept in a pack n play next to the bed, a la her newborn days, and it was just as awful. Every single time Emma rustled the blankets I was wide awake. Inevitably, upon waking I would feel either the urge to pee or simply uncomfortable in my current position. But, terrified as I am of hearing Emma cry in the night thanks to all the sleeping battles we’ve had, I wasn’t able to move. I had to lay awake, barely allowing myself to breath, until I was sure that Emma’s breathing had become steady and rhythmic again. Then, millimeter by slow and silent millimeter, I would adjust so that I was once again comfortable. And getting up to pee was completely out of the question. That arrangement was better than if she had actually been in the bed with me, but not by much.
Needless to say, I did not get a good night’s sleep. As I sat at work today, feeling quite zombie like, I began to wonder what this says about me. I not only can’t stand to sleep in the same bed as my child, I can’t even stand to sleep in the same room as her. Am I a terrible mother? Was I born without the cosleeping gene? Maybe I just don’t love my child enough. Maybe I’m not a nurturer. Is there something wrong with me? Can I possibly be an awesome mom if this is truly how I feel?
I am happy to report that the air conditioner was fixed today and Emma is sound asleep in her crib, in her room, all the way on the other side of the house. What can I say, I need my space. At least I have a sound monitor on. Maybe I’ll lose a few points on the awesome scale. Maybe Emma won’t go to Harvard. But I will be sleeping soundly tonight, and that has to count for something, right? I am much more awesome when I’m well rested.(She looks cozy, right?)