Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Week Of Secrets: #2

Psssssst......I'll tell you a secret.  But only if you promise not to tell anyone.

Partner-Guy and I haven't slept in the same bed, or even in the same room, in almost 4 years. 

And when I took this picture of Holly (5.5yrs) and Julian (11 months) a few nights ago, I really knew that NOT sleeping together was probably one of the greatest gifts we could give our children.

Cosleeping has never been an issue for either Partner-Guy or me.  When our oldest daughter Anna was born 7 years ago we had a borrowed crib set up in 'her' room, but we dismantled it at her first birthday when she had never slept in it.  Around that time we put a futon on the floor of 'her' room and I would lay down with her to go to sleep for every nap and at night. 

When Holly was born (when Anna was 20 months), Anna would go to sleep in 'her' bed while Holly slept with her two parents.  But Anna would wake up every night just after midnight and her dad would get her and put her in bed beside me and then he would go back to 'Anna's' room to sleep for the rest of the night.

By the time I was pregnant with Jasmine (now 3.5yrs) we had completely given up any idea of having a kid's bedroom and an adult bedroom.  We bought a high-quality queen-size bed to put in the smaller bedroom for Partner-Guy so that me and the girls could sleep in the king-size bed in the other bedroom.  (Note that we live in a two bedroom bungalow.) 

When Jasmine was born we simply added her to the bed.  We put a guard rail on Anna's side and a Humanity Bed on Jasmine's side.  Holly and I slept in the middle.  There simply was no issue with where everyone was going to sleep.

Photo taken about 2.5 hours after Jasmine was born.

And now we have Julian and somehow we still have space for everyone to sleep.  I know that this picture doesn't look like there is any room for me in the bed, but actually I fit just fine in the very center.  It's doable.  Everyone is happy and well-rested, and really, that's the goal, isn't it? 
When I was a La Leche League Leader I used to hear the following problem over and over from mothers:  I want to keep cosleeping but my husband/partner has had enough and wants the baby/child out of the bed.  La Leche League trains its leaders to be empathetic and gentle, but everytime I heard that problem I would just want to scream If your husband doesn't want to sleep with baby, tell him to sleep somewhere else.

OK. Not so empathetic.  I know.

The problem with the scenario the way the mothers always described it was that it was all about what SHE wanted and what HE wanted without considering what the baby wanted.  Ask yourself: What is the purpose of cosleeping?  Probably you would answer:  To make it easier for the mother to meet the baby's needs during the night with the least disruption to the sleep of the mother and the baby.  So who is not included in that scenario?  The husband/partner.

See, here's the thing:  Cosleeping is not about the spouse.  Did you get that?  COSLEEPING IS NOT ABOUT THE SPOUSE.  Cosleeping is about what is good for the baby and the mother.  If the spouse can't get a good night's sleep with the baby in the bed, he should go to another bed.** 

But I've heard all the arguments.  Let me spell them out for you.  He didn't get married so he can sleep alone.  He feels it's his right to sleep beside his mate.  He says he is building a life-long relationship with ME, not with the baby who will grow up and move out.  He won't have sex with the baby beside us.  He doesn't believe he should have to be kicked out of his own room.

Yeah.  OK.  Well, it's not about him.  Does he have to get up and go to work in the morning?  YES?  Then he is entitled to a good sleep.  And he'll get a great sleep alone in his own bed.  He'll even get up in the morning without disturbing anyone.  It's a great deal for everyone.  (And perhaps you noticed that I had baby last year but I haven't slept with my partner in almost 4 years?  It really does work out!  Really!)

So that's my 2nd secret?  What do you think?

**I've used the pronoun 'he' because although I worked with many mothers who had female partners, the cosleeping issue was only presented to me by mothers with male partners.

P.S.  Yes, I know that cosleeping is not for every mother.  No, I don't think you're a bad mother if you don't cosleep.


  1. The photos of your children snuggling just melt me every time. I have my own collection that I just love.

    My husband and I bed hop, but unless all 5 of us end up in the same bed, he and I rarely sleep the entire night together. Most nights, Buddha baby and I squeeze together in the king size bed. My husband usually spreads out in the twin bed with the other two boys. Ha!

    He loves cosleeping, although his back doesn't always. We're on board with this because it works for out family and we know, one day, we'll get kicked out of their beds and it will be just us again. in the nursing home... ;)

  2. Hey;). We share the same secret. (the specifics are different) but same secret. So glad to hear there are other families who are just as considerate to what is best for mother and child;). Have a beautiful day!!!

    Blessed love,
    Tallie Allen

  3. I love this post, Patti. This reminds me a lot of our bed (though my husband still has some room in it!) Family members are always saying that we don't have enough room in our city condo for the five of us, but I think we have more than enough room! So glad to see others feel the same! -Kerry

  4. Hmmm, I think my husband needs to read this. I love the picture with all four kiddies in the bed. Question.. (assuming you don't have a rock-solid bladder) how do you sneak out of bed at night when you're pregnant without disrupting the peace to pee??