Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 13-04-2012
Tags: bed sharing, co-sleeping, family bed, Pia Crosby, sharing
I just wiggled out of bed. As I write this, I am in my bedroom listening to my two-and-a-half-year-old son, Ry, snoring away and my soon-to-be six month old daughter, Sophia, sound asleep.
I must first disclose that I am the product of a family who shared their space, and I continue to share my space with my husband and children. The reason for the disclosure is a personal choice which I must say is not talked about as much as I believe it should be. I wish there was a way to just openly say, “We all sleep in the same room, share our bed with our kids, and would not have it any other way.”
I share this because I want to be the voice that tells other mommies and daddies out there to be proud of sharing your bed with your kids, sharing the intimate moments of silence together and to relish the beauty of the bonds made while the family sleeps. I am not here to judge, or to shove suggestions on how to share your space. I definitely respect and admire the personal decisions parents make for their children and themselves, but I am simply writing about the decision my husband and I have made to share our space and our experience.
Within the past ten years, I have studied and put into practice some of the psychological theories I learned through the Master’s Clinical Psychology/Marital Family Therapy program I completed at Notre Dame de Namur University, and as a Therapist in private practice. I will be the first to say that until giving birth to Ry, I didn’t know exactly where he would sleep or how I would approach this controversial subject. And now, after witnessing how our son has developed, emotionally and mentally, and noting how much we have grown as a family, we decided to continue to share our space with Sophia when she was born. All the opposing theories and suggestions from medical journals or statistics mentioning the risks of sleeping with your children cannot sway me to do anything else but what feels right for my family, and continue to share my space with them.
I remember my son bonding with Sophia in my belly because he slept next to me, because he was part of the process, and because he watched her grow. He would sing her songs while she was in my belly and it was the most amazing “first meeting” of siblings I have ever witnessed. I have to share that the only time Ry has not slept within my reach was when I went into the hospital to deliver Sophia. He slept over my parent’s house for the first time the night Sophia was born and another night after, while we were still at the hospital. He came to the hospital the morning she was born and was immediately proud to be a Big Brother, introducing her to other family members, and really sharing his most prized possessions, his parents, with his new sister.
I believe it is because we shared our space and made him part of the process that he absolutely loves his sister and wants to be there for her as he did when she was in my belly. I know that there will be times in their lives, as siblings, where they will argue and quarrel, but I do hope they look back and remember the great moments they shared with each other snuggled up in our bed – late at night, and early mornings being particularly sweet. Of course, I will have pictures to remind them! At times, I would step out of the room to use the restroom or to grab a drink of water, and come back and Ry would be holding Sophia’s hand, both asleep, just wanting the closeness.
I cannot ignore the positive and most memorable moments thus far, that sharing my space has brought to me, my children and my husband. There are times when Ry and his Daddy will talk in their sleep, like a mini conversation through rhythmic snoring and the occasional laugh followed by another mini laugh.
It may appear that sharing my space came naturally, but I had to learn how to share my space. And while some may judge me through the filters given to them either by culture or by our society, try not to judge my character or my children. I am only doing what we are taught to do living with others, especially those we love, and that is to share our lives with them.
One thing is for certain, this is only my experience and our family’s choice to share our space, and I only hope that this opens up a dialogue to share the amazing possibilities and/or memories that have come about by sharing your space with your children. Thinking about it, people often share their bed and rooms with their pets; why not allow our children the same security and opportunity? If by any chance you are able to share your space with your children, even if it is camping out in your living room, sleeping together on the couch after a movie or even just camping out in their room, with their permission of course, those are priceless moments no words can begin to describe.
I write this as a proud daughter, wife, mommy and friend who has learned the true meaning of sharing.