Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bed sharing and emotional security

Remember taking naps with your fiancé on the couch in the middle of the day and how wonderful and sweet it felt? I wonder what it is about sleeping next to someone that makes you feel so close to them. Maybe it's the vulnerability? Or the close physical contact? I'm not 100% sure but whatever it is, it feels wonderful. I've wondered if this isn't the reason the bed has become the symbol of sexuality. The vulnerability brought about by the place where people sleep coincides with the vulnerability inherent in sexual intimacy. Certainly sex doesn't have to occur in a bed (as many a co-sleeping family will testify).

Last night I was thinking about how much I love Hyrum sleeping in our bed. I know it isn't for everyone but I absolutely adore it. Those who oppose co-sleeping often argue that the baby needs to learn to sleep alone. As I was sitting in bed last in the final moments before drifting off to sleep I thought of my early days of marriage when I, too, couldn't fall asleep without my bedfellow. I won't make this a huge post about the progression of my marriage but Brennan and I just have different ways of handling stress. Mine is to talk about it and cuddle up at night and forget about it for now. Brennan likes to think things through, spend some time by himself, and at night that will translate to him going out to the couch to think, read, or whatever. Well, you can see how this would present a little bit of a conflict if the stress happens at bedtime or in the middle of the night. Brennan would simply want some alone time but I wanted cuddles! And guess what!? Immature as this sounds, I would seriously get worried if I woke up in the middle of the night and he was gone.

Quick story: Once upon a time Brennan planned this cute, romantic getaway for us after final's week. Because it was a surprise, he needed to pack the car and run to the store without my knowing. So, he decided to do it at 2am thinking I would sleep through the whole thing and he wouldn't have to explain himself. Well, I woke up and Brennan wasn't there! I tried calling his cellphone but no answer. I ran outside in the December cold and no car. In my 2:30am delirium, I called my mom. I was convinced Brennan had either 1) left me or 2) had been kidnapped (our minds in the middle of the night...sheesh!) Mom calmed me down and advised that I try to go back to sleep. Thankfully Brennan walked through the door as I was getting off the phone with her, took me in his arms and explained that he just couldn't sleep and decided to go out for a few minutes. I was so stinkin' mad at him for making me worry but boy did my anger dissipate the next day when we arrived at our cute little retreat.

Over the next year or so, I still had a hard time sleeping without Brennan in bed with me. If I found him asleep on the couch after watching a movie I would wake him up, nearly in tears, and ask him why he was on the couch. He would kindly come back to bed with me because he could see that it was something I needed right then.

Now we've been married for a few years and though I still prefer to have Brennan in bed with me, it's not a big deal if one or the other of us stays up later than the other or if he decides at 2am to make himself a glass of herbal tea because he can't sleep. There was no "coming of age" day when he simply said, "you've gotta learn to do this on your own!" It was just a natural process of time and security in our relationship.

I think the same goes for our littlest people. All of the worry about them never moving out of our beds is silly. I know Hyrum will move out when he's ready, when his security in himself and in Mommy and Daddy is strong enough that he knows we'll always be there for him when he needs us. We've just chosen not to rush that move. In the meantime, we love the snuggles and we love the closeness it affords.

1 comment:

  1. Before I got married I was so excited to get to cuddle and sleep next to my husband. I thought I would blissfully sleep in his arms ... then I got married and found I absolutely cannot fall asleep or sleep well while cuddling! So sad that this also applies to cuddling with my little Graham.