My attitude toward most decisions can pretty much be summed up with the saying “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”
With pregnancy and parenting I had a basic idea of what I wanted to do; homebirth, co-sleep, exclusively breastfeed, babywear – but I had no idea if these things would work for us or how I wanted to navigate through them. The Hub had completely different ideas. Before Emilia was born, the Hub and I weren’t really on the same page. For him, babies were born in hospitals, they drink from bottles, and they sleep in their own beds. That’s what he knew and there is nothing wrong with those things. They just weren’t at all what I wanted. He slowly came onboard to all of my choices, but mostly because I didn’t give him much of a choice. That wasn’t fair to him. These things were something that I felt so strongly about that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When you’re envisioning your life, you don’t think about how you have to make decisions with someone else, how you’ll need to balance their feelings with yours to come up with solutions and decisions that work for everyone. Co-parenting was and continues to be hard for me. I am fiercely possessive of my daughter. I know what is best for her, and the best is what she will get, DAMNIT! (That’s my emotions talking.) It’s not fair though, nor is it right, but it is the truth and a struggle I face as a wife and a mother.
With bed sharing, it was no different. He urged that I put her in a co-sleeper so she was “safer”, but she refused to sleep in it so she spent her first months of life sleeping on my chest. (Exactly where I believe an infant should be.) He and my pediatrician urged I “sleep train” her into her crib at 6 weeks, then 8, then 12. I would smile and give them the same line, “We’ll see what happens.” As the weeks and months passed, the argument stopped happening between the Hub and I, and it was obvious that the arrangement just worked. Emi slept better beside us, I slept better beside her, and the Hub slept just as well through it all. Bed sharing became less foreign and eventually it was just something we did.
Around 6 months Emilia stopped sleeping well. She was up 5+ times a night. I got less than an hour of sleep and still had to get up and go to work and function like a normal person. She would wake up and want to play, I was right there and she could do fun things now, like control her hands and roll easily. So I put her in her crib. She slept so much better, I slept better, it was glorious. We didn’t have to go through a period of crying it out or getting used to the bed. She had no problem sleeping on her own. As much as I loved sleeping again, I missed her beside me. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when Emi stopped sleeping well in her crib. The same problems I had while bed sharing were staring me right back in the face. So I brought her back into bed with me. Now she’s sleeping much better, I’m sleeping better, and it’s glorious.
As a mother, I try to listen to her cues and do what I feel is best in the moment. And now, I try to balance my feelings with the Hub’s. I’m not always the best at it, but I am trying. I try not to tie myself to one way of doing anything since every day feels like a new bridge to cross. So, I’ll continue crossing those bridges when I get to them and if sometimes I have to turn around and go back to the other side, that’s ok.