Parenting in the Dark: A Co-sleeping Story

My legs feel heavy like they are immersed in thick mud and can’t move.  My head has that floating feeling that accompanies the land between sleep and awake.  As I open my eyes the room is bathed in the soft green light of the cool-mist humidifier at the foot of the bed.  Next to me, curled on her side facing me is my daughter.  We aren’t touching but she’s close enough to me to feel her breath on my face.  Beyond her is the steady breathing of my husband.  He is also on his side facing me – like guardian parenthesis standing sentinel around our baby.  I can smell the faint scent of lavender from Aellyn’s shampoo.

She twists her head a little and squirms.  She lets out a deep sigh.  She is still sleeping – I can see the dark crescents of her eyelashes on her cheeks.  She needs to nurse.  Of course, she’s too asleep to know it herself yet.  But I know.  Is she hungry?  In need of comfort?  Did my waking wake her or did I wake *knowing* she was about to need me?  Lots of questions – none of them matter to me.  She is my baby and it is her job to take and mine to give.  I give with joy.

I pull her closer and help her latch on.  She does it effortlessly – this is a dance we’ve done before – not even waking as she begins to suckle eagerly.  I feel the soft blanket of contentment that always envelopes me when I nurse her.  There is an overwhelming sense of oneness and contentment.  I smile in the darkness.  Her suck is already becoming slower as she drifts into a deeper sleep.  I can feel sleep pulling me down too.  The whole moment was so brief but so powerful.  Precious.

I fall asleep with that smile on my face as my breathing settles in to match the rest of my slumbering family.

This essay, in an abridged form, won the Co-Sleeping Essay Contest hosted by the Great Co-sleeping Survey and will be published in the book Are You Co-sleeping? Me Too!  I will link the final version when it goes up on the Co-sleeping Survey site.  For a list of fellow winners please see Hobo Mama’s round up post.

Read more articles about co-sleeping:

The Worst Onesie Ever!

Five for Friday: Co-sleeping


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6 thoughts on “Parenting in the Dark: A Co-sleeping Story

  1. Yes, i like the article (question @ the bottom). Makes me rather wistful, but for today, for now, i’m ok with being childless. May be different in 10 minutes. 🙂

    Thank you for letting me share your experiences if rather vicariously.


  2. That’s beautiful! we love co-sleeping too, I couldn’t imagine walking up to anything but a whole bunches of kiddos next to me. I have my whole life to walk up to to my hubby! lol


  3. This is so beautiful.

    I also love to wake and see my boy curled up between my husband and I snoozing. I also love the early morning, cuddling, slowly waking up and saying hello. It’s such a private beautiful bonding time for the family.



  4. aww so glad i found your site! i am not a natural organic living kind of person by nature but after having my son, i just sort of became a natural mother because i followed my instincts. i didn’t read a lot of books about parenting and babies. i just did what felt right and the biggest thing that i insisted on was sleeping with my baby. i didn’t understand how so many people can leave a crying baby in another room all alone in the dark. i have slept with my son from day one and it just makes the whole experience much more fulfilling and beautiful!


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