As he sleeps, face pressed against my breast, I listen to his quiet breathing. We sleep every night cuddled up to each other and when he’s hungry he gets fed and he is never lonely in a bed or a room all alone. He is safe with me.
One of his hands is tightly wound around the clothes on my chest, so if I move, he will feel it and clasp his small hand all the more tightly. If I leave him on the bed alone, he sleeps in the middle. Without pillows near and with one blanket over him, his eyes stay shut and his breaths even. Unclasping his tiny fingers from my clothing, his hands stay adrift, slowly floating around as if they search for me while he slumbers. Sometimes I cannot help but to climb right back into bed just to lay beside a miracle so perfect. Just to be near someone so pure. My heart beats joyfully beneath my breast.
When his eyes are open and he is latched onto me, often he does a little dance with one sweet hand. His fingers and palms travel across my chest and clothing, his arms wave back and forth until finally his eyes close and his hand finds a bit of me to hold onto for safety. It reminds me of myself as a child when I could not sleep, I would lay on my back with my knees up and pretend my fingers were a little person hiking up a mountain and the folds of my blanket were rocks they had to climb. I wonder what Shyre thinks when he does this; I wonder what he wonders with such little knowledge of the world. I can tell he came from among the heavens and the stars because of the twinkling light in his eyes. He must dream of the loveliest things, he must remember the Angels and his Creator, for he smiles and laughs so purely when he sleeps. We treasure sleep so much we often forget to be thankful for moments of rest. My soul is revived that I have the job of tending to my child as he sleeps. I get to be a witness.
Sharing a bed with my husband and my son is not always easy, some nights it is agonizing to be touched at all. When I should be at rest, most nights I watch memories which intrude from the dark corners of the room play out as if I were a twelve year old girl, laying there on a bed of chicken wire and rocks, blood falling out of my body. I am stolen away in these eternal moments–from my own bed, my husband and child, and from myself–taken back to those damning eyes looking through me, wondering perilously into them so to forget the sting of his knife, asking myself if he could even see me. Inside, the struggle hardens and sinks to the deep parts of myself that anchors my aching soul to the past. I must stay quiet so they can sleep, but in the dark the silence is killing me. Some nights Shyre kicks and I grit my teeth when he starts digging his little toes into my skin, creating bruises on my thighs, stomach and hips. Some nights he scratches, grabs my breasts and nipples, sometimes he bites and laughs about it. Those nights I close my eyes tight and breathe. I would not trade the love that he has for being conscious for anything. Those nights when Shyre fights to stay awake, I tell my husband I need him. I need him to hold me and help me think of anything but the past. All the violent skin-to-skin I’ve suffered, now on some nights motherhood seems ruined by then men who have taken more than a touch of my flesh. I want to scream “DO NOT TOUCH ME!” I feel like I cannot breathe, I want to get up and run away, But I have to keep my son close and stay at peace on the outside, so that at least he will find rest.
One day maybe a grab or a scratch will no longer send me back. Maybe one day, when I lay in the dark and quiet, my mind will no longer drag me to hell. For now I surrender. I have nowhere else to be and no need to run. I cherish these challenges with my son whom shows his strength best when he wants nothing more than his mother and father to stay awake and play. When the storms of my crying child have calmed and he closes his sweet eyes, I know there will never be a true reason to give up.
Since my son was born he has slept with his father and me in our bed. He is usually latched onto one of my breasts when he falls asleep and during the night I will move him to either side of me. Co-sleeping does not work for every family but for us, it has helped in many ways.
“I think it is really convenient and it helps with the comfort of the child knowing that he or she is safe and doesn’t have to ever feel alone at night.”—Troy Muir
Insuring a good breastfeeding relationship between my son and I was the most important reason that we agreed upon sharing a bed with our little babe. Getting plenty sleep after giving birth was vital for all of us, especially for me. The side lying nursing position is the best way for both babe and mom to get well rested. For more information and safety guidelines I have attached some links below if anyone is interested in co-sleeping/bed sharing.
“Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”