For me, co-sleeping was less of a choice and more of a necessity. A few hours after my son was born, he struggled to properly regulate his body temperature. Doctors and nurses advised that we co-sleep, so my body could help my son do what his body was having difficult doing. We slept skin-to-skin that first night in the hospital, and co-slept until he was a year old. Then, all of a sudden, my son was sleeping in his own bed and I was sending the texts every co-sleeping mom sends the first time her kid sleeps alone, usually to my poor partner and mother and friends and anyone that would let me simultaneously celebrate and lament.
I had become so used to sharing my bed with a tiny little baby-turned-toddler, that the first night he slept alone I was both excited and nervous. I was checking in on him all the time but spreading out and enjoying all the space and the fact that I wasn't, you know, getting kicked in the face at all hours of the night. Like parenthood in general, that first night my kid slept alone was a mix of good and bad. I was so happy and ready to give my son more freedom (and have some of my own) but I was sad that my tiny mini-heater was no longer cuddling with me.
In the end, the best way for me to express my happiness and sadness was through text messages, because it's 2016 and, um, how else are you supposed to communicate? I'd like to assume I wasn't the only co-sleeping mom to send the following texts to friends and family:
You Won't Believe It's Actually Happening...
My partner and I experienced a lot of "false alarms" when our son started showing an interest in sleeping in his own bed. The first night it actually happened, I could hardly believe it. Like, is this real life?!
...But, Yes, It's Actually Happening
The moment you realize that this is no false alarm, but your kid is actually going to sleep through the night in their own bed, by themselves, you're elated. Like, it's Christmas morning, you guys. You've won the sleep-lottery and you feel like you have so much freedom you don't even know what to do with yourself.
You're No Longer In Physical Danger...
No more kicking or slapping or, um, more kicking. The ability to sleep without fear of physical trauma is, well, priceless.
...But You'll Need Some Extra Blankets, Though
My kid is a walking, talking, tantrum-throwing human furnace. It's unbelievable how much heat can be created by such a tiny body. It's unbelievable, and super helpful in the winter, and definitely something you'll inevitably miss.
Your Go-To Scapegoat Is Gone
It's not like I can blame it on the cat. Or the dog. Or my partner.
Phantom Cries Are Real
You have the ability to sleep without getting kicked in the face, but that doesn't mean you'll actually sleep. I thought I heard my son every 10 or so minutes the first night he slept in a bed by himself so, honestly, I slept better when the kid was next to me.
You'll Probably Check On Them Once Or Twice (Or All The Time)
Even if you don't hear a few phantom cries (you will), you'll still get up multiple times a night and check in on them. I knew my son was breathing when he was sleeping next to me; I had to keep check on him (i.e. staring at his chest) to make sure he was breathing when he was sleeping in his own bed.
You'll Start To Miss Them...
The grass isn't always greener on the other side of co-sleeping, my friends.
...Like, Really Miss Them
Just like it took some time to transition your babe into their own bed, it will take some time for you to learn how to sleep in your bed without them.