I'm laying next to my sleeping toddler, looking at his beautiful face while the early-morning sun peaks through our curtains. I'm so happy and enjoying the smell of his newly-washed hair when, suddenly, he thrashes his tiny body and kicks me in the stomach while simultaneously hitting me in the nose with his tiny fist. That, in an nutshell, is co-sleeping. I'd venture to guess there are things every mom thinks about co-sleeping but doesn't say out loud, because the act itself is filled with juxtaposing emotions and situations that can make it both the best thing ever, and the freakin' absolute worst thing known to all that is motherhood.
I didn't think I would end up co-sleeping with my kid. To be honest, I was afraid of co-sleeping and had the normal, new mom, "I'm going to roll over and squish my baby" fear that isn't really necessary but still a very real, relentless fear. However, when my son had trouble regulating his body temperature directly after he was born, my doctors and nurses insisted I co-sleep with my son in the hospital. The first night of my son's life was spent sleeping next to me, skin-to-skin, and in that moment my entire mindset regarding co-sleeping changed. My body could still sustain his and I could breastfeed with ease and I didn't have to get up to check to see if he was breathing. It was the best. Until, of course, he started growing and moving and throwing his hands and feet every-which-way and taking up our entire bed. Then, you know, it was the worst.
Because there is so much controversy surrounding co-sleeping (and because mothers seems to be shamed and judged for every single decision they make these days) it's pretty understandable that the love/hate things we think about co-sleeping aren't articulated on the regular. I, however, am willing to take one for the co-sleeping team. Here are just a few things I imagine every mom thinks about co-sleeping, because it's the best worst decision (or the worst best decision) you'll ever make as a mom.
"This Is So Overrated"
All the talk about the snuggles and the baby smell and the sweet mornings where I could just look at my baby's face and be in a state of blissful wonder and admiration, is crap. Utter. Crap. I mean, OK, that did happen, but you know what also happened? My kid kicking me and my kid punching me in the face and my kid accidentally head-butting me and my kid thrashing around at all hours of the night and taking up the entire bed and leaving me with the tiny corner and no room and, well, insomnia. Co-sleeping can be so wonderful but sometimes it can be the freakin' worst.
"If My Kid Kicks Me Again I'm Sleeping On The Floor"
There are only so many roundhouse kicks to the face you can take, before you give up your bed entirely and subject yourself to the cold, hard reality that is your bedroom floor.
"Why Does Such A Little Body Need So Much Space?"
I still haven't been able to figure out why a tiny newborn (or a tiny toddler) need half a bed. Honestly, why? At first, it made sense: I was somewhat nervous about co-sleeping and wanted my newborn to have the space he needed, as to not make him uncomfortable and/or squish him (a silly fear, as newborns like being snuggled and enjoy any environment that mimics a womb). But now? Yeah, now that my kid is a toddler, I just don't get it. You're tiny, kid.
"Maybe If I Cut My Arm Off I Can Move And Not Wake My Kid Up"
I can't tell you how many times I have (far too seriously) thought of cutting off my own arm as to not wake my sleeping child. When super secret moves and odd body contortions and trying to replace my body with a pillow like I'm a character trying to steal something on Indiana Jones just don't seem to work, losing a limb seems reasonable.
"Buying That Crib Was Pointless..."
I still laugh when I think back to my pre-baby self, stressing about the crib my partner and I were going to choose. We spent way too much money on some top-of-the line crib that we barely, if ever, actually used.
"...But Maybe We Should Try Using It Again"
But, I mean, we probably should have tried to use it more often, right? I mean, maybe I would have actually slept a little more?
"OK, But Baby Cuddles Are The Best"
Then again, co-sleeping is kind of the actual best and when I look back at the early days of my co-sleeping experience, I can't tell you how convenient it was. My son was right there, by my side, so I didn't have to get out of bed to breastfeed or check if he was breathing or just stare at his unbelievably beautiful face. I cherish those moments when we were skin-to-skin and I knew that my body was helping his body regulate its temperature and, well, co-sleeping can just be incredible.
"This Is Totally Not As Scary As I Thought It Would Be"
I used to be so worried about co-sleeping but, well, co-sleeping is safe (and you can do even more things to make sure it is safe). My fears were pretty illegitimate, and unnecessary. In other words, don't believe everything you read on the internet and/or hear from a concerned family member.
"I Can't Wait For My Kid To Sleep In Their Own Bed..."
While there were some blissful moments that only co-sleeping could have facilitated, there were just as many times when I simply couldn't wait another second for my kid to have his own bed. I very much looked forward to the day I could stretch out and enjoy my partner and, you know, not have a kid in our bed.
"...OK, I Miss My Kid. They Can Come Back, Now."
And now that the day my son has his own bed has arrived, I miss him. I legit miss him, even though he is in the next room. I don't mind when he comes into bed at night after a particularly bad nightmare, or in the morning when he wants to watch Toy Story. Those snuggles did, it turns out, have an expiration date on them and well, even though space and freedom and independence are nice, co-sleeping sure was nice, too.