I've always been fascinated by stories of mothers doing heroic things for their children; mothers falling down stairs holding their newborns and somehow instinctively protecting them so the baby is just fine, mothers carrying their children insane distances to get medical care, mothers boiling squash and turning the water into a sweet syrup to make gingerbread for her kids on Christmas morning...
This explains my love for all things Harry Potter, but also, maybe a subconscious reason why we co-sleep?
The reason adults don't fall out of bed every night is because their body is subconsciously aware of the bed and the body's position in it (It's called Proprioception). You can toss and turn all night but you won't fall out because your unconscious knows how far you are from the edge. While doing research on the kind of parent I wanted to be, I read that when mothers co-sleep with their children, the mother's subconscious becomes aware of the child in the same way. You won't smother the child the same way you don't fall out of bed. But here is the amazing part: I even read about mothers being so aware of their babies that their hand reached out caught the baby right before the baby fell out of bed while the mother was asleep. The mother's subconscious wasn't just keeping tabs on the mother's position relative to the baby and to the bed, it was keeping tabs on the baby's position to the bed. Amazing, no? I call that a super-power.
Anyway, to play it safe we never got into a situation where Ash would ever fall out of bed. The same was true with Alexa until a night a few months ago when I fell asleep on Drek's side of the bed and Alexa was asleep between me and the edge of the bed. In the middle of the night I suddenly awoke to my hand grabbing Alexa's foot as Alexa's head went over the edge of the bed. Now conscious, I gently pulled her back beside me and rolled her over the top of me so I was between her and the edge of the bed. She never even woke up. I was so excited I couldn't go back to sleep. Those stories were true! My subconscious is a hero! Way to go, mothering instincts!
The same thing happened a few nights ago: once again I was sleeping on Drek's side of the bed, and once again Alexa was between me and the edge of the bed. Once again I awoke to my hand grabbing Alexa's food and once again I moved her to safety without ever waking her up. The second time it wasn't so amazing. Meh, yeah, I know I have superpowers. I'm going back to sleep. I didn't even fully wake up that time.
Today I was taking Alexa to the bathtub when I slipped on the wet floor of our bathroom. In that split second I was terrified that in my fall I would band Alexa's head on the side of the tub, but somehow my motherly instincts took over and I moved in such a way that my knee banged into the bathtub , my elbow banged into the toilet and Alexa was safe and sound in my arms wondering what in the world that was all about. I may have nasty bruises all over my body, but they are a small price to pay for keeping my baby safe. And for knowing that my mothering instincts are perfectly honed. Maybe I should learn to trust them more often.