Shared sleep

You are there to greet me when I crawl into bed, willing the covers to be silent as I pull them over us. Your moth breath, your long lashes on cream cheeks, hands curled into soft chubby fists. My heart is still… and pounding at the same time with love, with gratitude for this magic. Almost every night for six years I have come to bed to this sight, I have woken to this sight…different little people, same sight, and I will never tire of it.

Your body snuggles close into mine when you discover that I am here, we complete each other. You whimper, turning your head towards me, mouth like a fish. Your eyelids flicking open. You connect to my breast, the look of pure ecstasy flutters them closed again. You suck contentedly to sleep, to dreams I will never know behind your spider eyes. We will continue this dance all night – coming together, pulling apart. I remember when first I did this with your brother, I struggled with the endless, hourly, half hourly imposition on my right to sleep, now I drift in and out, a seasoned pro. The waves of slumber never far from my shores, I bob in semi consciousness all night, and wake half refreshed. At times you writhe and moan and need more than I can give. I feel sucked dry, no liquid gold left to give. And so I place you on my chest, ear to my heart. You nuzzle into me. We are complete once more.

I could not imagine you in a crib, cold and alone. This is where my babies need to be. Where I need them. Snuggled up warm and close. It is a primal need. The bonds of love cannot stretch through to another room. They are too short still. But one day they will lengthen and the need for sleep will finally override the need for togetherness. We will both feel able to stretch the cord further.

How can people worry about this intimacy? I am no more likely to make love to you than to a cat or dog. Yet people share their beds with those pets. I will caress your chubby thighs, marvel at your lashes, breathe in your sweet breath. But nothing more. I am your mama, you are safe with me. nor will I roll over you or smother you – you are not a doll, even on your first day of life you and I knew each other. We talked cell to cell, eye to eye, skin to skin, heart to heart. Aware of the others’ presence or absence with every fibre of our beings.

We share our cocoon of love as the morning wears on and the sun gets higher. Into this warm den come older babies for their dose of snuggle love. It is this which makes them grow. And this which soothes my soul. My precious snuggly babies. I feel the sand slipping though my fingers. Our shared sleeping nights are numbered, their preciousness disappearing with your puppy fat and baby curls, my mother heart aches for them already – I hold you a little closer and wish.

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  1. Kelly

    What a sweet post. 🙂

    Nothing melts my heart more than coming up to see baby snuggled up next to daddy (they both go to bed before I do!). They have exactly the same expressions when they sleep.

    I never planned on co-sleeping, but now, of course, I can’t imagine anything else. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – and pictures!

  2. Heather in Oregon
    Heather in Oregon06-09-2011

    When my daughter was born we thought that she would sleep in a co-sleeper attached to our bed. That plan lasted about 12hrs. After the first time I had to sit up, pick her up out of the co-sleeper, and get her latched on, I realized how much easier it had been when we were in the hospital after she was born and slept in the bed with me. Within days I couldn’t imagine her sleeping anywhere else. I felt like she was so much safer there with my arm tucked around her while she slept. The idea of her ever sleeping in another room was simply unimaginable. With my son there was never any question. He was born at a midwifery waterbirth center and they didn’t even provide a separate place for the baby to sleep as it was fully expected that we would co-sleep. My daughter left our bed at two and rarely ventures back in but my son, at three, still sleeps an hour or two with me most nights. He’s my last “baby” and along with breastfeeding, co-sleeping with an infant is one of the things that I miss most about having a new little one.

  3. melissa

    This is beautiful, Lucy! A perfect thing to read before I curl up to sleep with my little love. Goodnight! 🙂

  4. amynaturally

    Beautiful Lucy. Again you have made me cry at my loss. I missed so much of that new baby bonding, snuggling, smelling and feeding. At 3 weeks Annie left ICU and went to a ward and I was amazed that they let me bring her into my bed (well more like a camp bed that pulled out from the wall). At nearly 2 1/2 I sometimes still lift her in with me when she is sleeping and she always wakes in morning and beams to see me. Funny though, my 3 boys are a nightmare to sleep with…. so fidgety!!

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