The first six weeks of your sweet life I cannot with certainty say that I slept. I would feed you, change you, breathe you in, stare in awe at your sweet chest rising and falling and take in every inch of the perfect lines of your face. If I managed to attempt sleep I would toss and turn repeatedly waking in fright to check you were breathing.
On the nights when you were more demanding you would sleep between daddy and I. These are my most cherished moments. I would hold your tiny fist in mine with our chests pressed tightly against each other and my lips against the peach fuzz of your forehead. My heart had never felt more full and the world never felt more perfectly balanced than when we co-slept.
Once you became less new you slept like a godsend, waking once or twice a night for a feed and then back to sleep like clock work. I was well rested and reading far too many books centred on the importance of baby sleep. I poured over these words and took them as gospel. I immediately stopped co-sleeping and began initiating a routine believing that doing anything else (as the books advised) would negatively effect your development.
But in the back of my mind more than anything, I knew I ached to sleep with you again. To hold you again in my arms as we both drifted peacefully off to sleep. There was a you shaped hole in my bed that was cold and uninviting but my resolve did not waver and we continued to dream apart.
Late one night you were deep in your slumber but I was unable to follow suit, my heart felt especially heavy in my chest and my need to hold you was overwhelming. I scrolled distractedly through my feed to pass time when I stumbled across a post that took my breath away:
“They are only this little for the most fleeting of moments. One day they won’t want to sleep with you anymore, they won’t need you to hold their hand or tuck them in. You won’t know it but you will pick them up one day and without realising you will never pick them up again. Love them now and love them hard.”
The tears streamed from my eyes as I looked at your tiny face in the moonlight of our bedroom. I picked you up and without hesitation immediately placed you gently in bed with daddy and I.
I had wasted so many weeks forcing myself to seperate us for your “benefit” and had not once considered my own. Selfishly I knew I needed you, I needed you close, I needed your touch, your skin against mine and your breathe on my face.
Not once since that night have I hesitated again about sharing my space with you. The sleep books are gathering dust in my bookcase and you and my motherly intuition are our only guides these days.
However sadly as the story goes, you are older now. More independent. We no longer share a room and you sleep best in your own cot without the interference of me or daddy. On the nights when you cry out for me I spring out of bed and when inconsolable I quickly and quietly slip you under our covers. Your face may have lost its fuzz and your hands are no longer so tiny in mine but more than ever now I cherish these times as they are few and far between.
My heart pains for the months that I kept you ill-advisedly at arms length and moreover at the thought that one night soon may be the last night we share a bed. But for now I will continue to cherish the times I carry you, bleary eyed in the early hours of the morning to my bedroom. I will continue, as I lay next to you in the light of the moon, to lovingly trace the outline of your features with my finger and thank my lucky stars for you.
“.. love them now and love them hard.”