Our Co-Sleeping World | Artifact Motherhood | Real Family Photography

 
 A father and a mother cosleeping in their bed with their 3 year old.

This is HUGE for me. We are about to say goodbye to our co-sleeping world and it’s been a beautiful, beautiful thing. I’ll never ever regret having our little boy in our bed for 3 years, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Waking up next to his face every day has been one of my most favourite things about motherhood. But it’s time our co-sleeping journey came to an end, and I have documented this momentous transition over the last few weeks with diary entries from the first few days and images from the last few weeks.

Day 1.

We’ve been talking about maybe doing this, fairly non-committally, for awhile. Two reasons, you are quite big now my darling boy and sometimes you kick us in the head or face in the night! Neither of us have been ready though.

We didn’t really build this up but sort of said shall we try it tonight? So we did. We very casually asked if you wanted to sleep in your own bed tonight. You didn’t say yes or no but were happy to get your PJ’s on in your room (something we usually do in our room) and you settled down for a story in your own bed really well. You loved your fairy lights twinkling and I took some photos to document this momentous night while Daddy read you Animal Railway. 

Once we finished reading I lay down next to you and put my face close to yours and held your cheek and I said ‘this is Edwards bed, your bed. Isn’t it so cool?! You’re a big boy now and you can sleep in your own bed! Night night sweetheart I love you so much’. And you didn’t protest once, you said ‘night night mummy, bed time.’ I could tell you were slightly nervous because when I went to move my hand from your cheek you held it there. I lay next to you until you fell asleep and when you did I left the room feeling quite discombobulated.

Later that evening when I walked into my room to go to bed I felt utterly bereft and guilty.

For the past few years I’ve been pushing one pillow down the gap between my bed and the bedside table so I can move my pillow along (and have a cushion underneath) to make more room for you in the middle. Tonight I didn’t move my pillow at all and instead of the probably 40cm gap between my pillow and daddy’s every night to fit your little head in, there is now about a 15cm gap. 

I haven’t slept alone in a bed with your daddy since before you were born which is 3 years ago! It’s strange to say it feels every so slightly strange that it’s just me and him. It feels terribly sad like you never happened or don’t exist- even though you’re just in the next room.

I go into you before I go to bed for one last check and a couple of kisses on your cheek. You’re fast asleep.

You woke up around midnight crying and I went in to you and cuddled you and got into your bed with you. We lay there for a bit but you weren’t settling because I think you needed a wee so I took you for a wee and then I decided to just bring you back into our bed. So much of this night was the same as it always is. We woke up next to eachother and all was well with the world.

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Day 2.

Tonight feels different and I’m surprised at how quickly this now feels normal and I feel less bereft

You had a lovely bath with your new shower jelly from Lush. Daddy put you down tonight and I took some photo’s while he read you a few stories. You went to sleep quickly tonight, very happy and content falling asleep in daddy’s arms as he lay next to you. 

You woke up at about midnight again and I got back into bed with you and then tried to come back to my own bed this time. But you woke up again about 2.30 so I just brought you in with us. 

 A father reads his son a bedtime story in his sons new bedroom at their home in bath somerset and his son is rubbing his eyes.
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Day 3.

I moved your room around and got rid of lots of furniture and junk and it’s such a lovely, bigger and calmer space now. Very zen. We made a big deal about your new room and that it was yours and this is Edwards bed and you kept saying ‘mine’. You didn’t want to have a bath tonight because you were so excited about your new bedroom, you wanted to go straight to bed! We always stay with you until you fall asleep. You woke up about midnight again and Daddy went in to you this time and brought you straight in with us.

Still loving waking up next to you.

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 A father cosleeping with his son wakes up to his sons foot in his chest at their home in bath somerset.


Day 4.

I bathed you and put you down tonight. You were so tired and went to sleep really quickly. 

I tried cutting your nails when you were asleep tonight but you somehow knew what I was doing even though you were asleep and kept pulling your hand away! It’s starting to feel less sad and weird going to bed without you in it. It’s all starting to feel quite normal. And your room is so lovely now. I even ordered you a lovely new yellow chest of drawers today and some other nice bits for your room. I want it to be a special space for you that you know is just yours. 

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 A three year old boy lies in his new bed fast asleep at his home in bath somerset.


It’s been nearly two weeks now. And the same pattern has followed. You go down really happy in your bed and then wake up around midnight every night, crying out for me saying ‘Mummy where are you!’. It’s horrible to hear you so sad so I race in, scoop you up and bring you back in with us. I’m surprised at how quickly I have adjusted to this though. So its a half and half. And I like it. I’m sure we will get there eventually but I am no hurry , waking up next to your little face is the best thing in the world.

 A father pulls pajamas over his three year old sons head as he gets him ready for bed at their home in bath somerset.
 A father reads his son a bedtime story in his sons new bedroom at their home in bath somerset.
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I suppose you could say we’ve made marginal progress. You start in your own bed and half way through the night you come in with us. I like this arrangement and am in no hurry to change it.

Its made me realise, as with everything with parenting, its all so transient. Nothing lasts for long. We phase in and out of things and like every other difficult or challenging phases we have been through, this too is just a phase. And I am no rush to hurry along the transition, my sweet little bed buddy.

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Welcome to Artifact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Through our writings and visual records we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come.

Please follow along our blog circle until you get back to here! Next up is the beautiful Anne Owen.

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jess cheetham