The moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew my relationship with my partner was going to change. I had no idea, however, just how much it would change: and in a really, really good way. Yes, we argue about really ridiculous things now (like who is the best muppet on Sesame Street) and what we consider to be "sexy" has evolved (night in with Netflix, duh), but we've also managed to cultivate a healthy relationship in the middle of all that parenting. In fact, there have been times co-sleeping has actually saved my relationship and, if I may be so bold, elevated it to the level I am currently enjoying.
Now, I'm definitely not about to position co-sleeping as the cure-all for any ailment that may befall your relationship. Romantic partnerships are work, no matter how you slice it, and require a lot more dedication than simply putting your kid in your bed. However, I will go so far as to say that if it weren't for co-sleeping, my partner and I would have been sleep-deprived disasters for the better part of our son's first year of life. Instead, we were just sleep-deprived messes, and you can deal with a mess far easier than you can deal with a disaster. Just sayin'.
So thank you, co-sleeping. Thank you for giving me a few more minutes (and sometimes hours) of sleep when I needed it. Thank you for calming my new-mom anxiety, so that I could focus on my baby and my partner. Thank you for essentially saving my relationship from sleep-deprived arguments, because no one needs that in their life. Just, well, thank you.
It Made Me Get Creative When It Came To Sex
Nothing like a child in your bed to make you re-think the whole sex thing, right? Suddenly my partner and I were in need of a location change, so we started incorporating the rest of our home into our sex-life. Kitchen? Check. Living room and our semi-uncomfortable couch? Check. Bathroom? Check (and don't you dare judge).
Honestly, it was pretty fun (and really hot).
It Gave My Partner And I Precious Parenting Moments We Could Both Enjoy
I work during the day and my partner goes to school at night. In other words, he has our son during the day and I have our son at night. With such opposite schedules, it usually means we both get to experience moments with our son. Just, you know, separately. So, co-sleeping has given us the ability to at least share nights and mornings together, as a family. We both are there to watch our sleeping cherub wake up, rub his eyes, and say he loves mama and dada. We both get good morning kisses. We both get kicked in the face.
It Gave Us Both A Lot More Sleep...
Nothing saves a relationship like sleep, especially any and all sleep that is enjoyed by new parents. Feel defeated by parenthood? Sleep. You don't think your partner agrees with a choice you've made regarding your kid? Get some sleep.
Seriously, the ability to sleep even just a little bit longer than we would if our son was in a crib or a bed in another room, has saved my relationship.
...And An Equal Amount Of Time Being Awake
It was also equally comforting to know that when I was awake, so was my partner. It's not just a misery loves company thing (although, if I have to wake up a bunch of times in the middle of the night to feed my son, my partner better freakin' wake up, too) but it's more of a solidarity thing. I always felt like we were a team, even when I was the one breastfeeding at some ungodly hour, because my partner was sitting there right along side me.
It Helped My Partner Support Me During Breastfeeding Sessions
Sure, my partner couldn't feed our kid. However, he could wake up and rub my back when I was feeding our kid. He could cheer me on, even half-asleep, because he was right next to the baby that woke us both up.
It Was Another Non-Sexual Way For My Partner And I To Connect
While I think sex is pretty important in a romantic relationship, so is other non-sexual ways of connection and intimacy. Co-sleeping gave that to my partner and I, even if there was a mini-human in between us. Sure, we couldn't really cuddle the way we used to, but we could look at one another and smile, knowing we were providing our son with the safety and security he needed and wanted.
Some of the most memorable parenting moments I have are moments in which the three of us were sharing a bed. Those moments get me through the toddler tantrums and the exhaustion of motherhood, and they are definitely the moments that come to mind when I think of parenting with my son's father.
It Gave Us Both A Lot More Sleep
Yes, it deserves a second mention. That, dear reader, is how important sleep is.