As a foster parent, I sometimes feel like I've traded money for the right to make parenting decisions.
not generally true; most of the time we're expected to use our
judgement and knowledge of the child in our care to do what's best for
that child. But one of the big things we're flatly not allowed to do is
share our bed with the infant we're currently caring for. It's not the
big-brother "you're not related" reasoning I originally assumed; it's
because bed-sharing is associated with higher rates of SIDS. Because
because babies in care tend to have more risk factors (prenatal exposure
to drugs and alcohol, maternal smoking, low birth weight), we have to
control the risk factors we can. So, sharing a bed is out, but sharing a
room is encouraged.
That's why from the tender age of
two days, our baby has slept in a proper crib at the foot of our bed.
It's a pretty bare-looking crib, too, with no blankets or bumper pads;
just a plain white sheet. He doesn't seem to mind, though. He has
learned to sleep well and will even put himself to sleep at bedtime and
during the night. When my friends talk about how easy it is to feed in
the night, or more likely complain about getting a foot in the face at
3am, I just keep quiet, because I don't get to share those experiences.
his three-month checkup on Friday, the Children's Aid clinic doctor,
after a long conversation with my husband and I about the baby's
situation, recommended that we move his crib into his own room. Friday
night he slept through the night for the first time, from 10pm to 7am,
so it seemed like a good omen. Yesterday afternoon we moved the crib,
and at 8:30pm I put him down to sleep. He squirmed in, yawned, and fell
asleep just like normal.
When I slept I dreamt that he
was crying, and when I went in to him the room was cold, with a storm
blowing outside and the window open. I couldn't get the window closed,
and when I turned to call my husband to help, I saw another window in
the opposite wall, with the glass all broken and the rain pounding in. I
don't need a therapist to tell me what that dream means - obviously I
feel I've abandoned him to the big, bad world and the elements by moving
him to his own room!
At 5am he woke up for a feeding,
with no more fuss than usual. If he'd had to cry more to wake me up, it
wasn't obvious. I got him a bottle and fed him, and put him back
down. Back in my own bed I could hear him cooing to himself, then
sucking his fists, then gradually getting quieter. It was fainter than
usual, but I've been listening to it several times a night for three
months, and I could fill in what I couldn't hear.
fuss from him; no tears from him. I was the one who cried, as quietly
as I could, so I wouldn't wake up my husband and have to explain the mix
of guilt and sadness I felt.