Ten months ago if you’d asked me about co-sleeping, I’d have told you a baby belongs in her crib.

Now, as I write this piece it’s 8:00 a.m. and Amelia (“Meebs”) is just beginning to stir beside me. I love the slow, mischievous smile she flashes me once her beautiful blue eyes have adjusted to the morning light.

Everything I thought I knew about being a parent changed when I became a mother. Parenting, I think, is about reinforcing values, teaching p’s and q’s, and running alongside your child as she learns to ride a bike. Mothering is wiping tears (and bums—but not with the same cloth), exchanging sleep for snuggles at 2:00 a.m., and maintaining a smile while nursing a cheese grater (Meebs is teething).

I love being a mom, and I’d like to believe I’m a good one. Yet sometimes I feel judged, for one reason in particular: our sleeping arrangement. Co-sleeping wasn’t in my plan, but it was exactly what was needed when just two weeks after Meebs was born my dad passed away.

Our family was grief-stricken and in the emotional turmoil no one was sleeping. With the notion of a good night’s sleep a distant memory, our doctor suggested that Meebs sleep with us. For the first time in weeks we all slept and it was heavenly.

At first I was embarrassed about co-sleeping, a shameful admittance of my failure as a mother to teach my daughter to sleep on her own. In truth I didn’t know much about it, the benefits and prevalence. It wasn’t until I started researching and talking to other moms that I felt reassured in my own abilities. Even so, I occasionally still doubt myself. Why? Because I’m a new mom and basically making it all up as I go.

So, after three blissful months we contemplated ‘sleep training’. Unfortunately, the “fit hit the shan”…again! Our youngest beloved Jack Russell Terrier, Casey, fell critically ill and after an impossible uphill battle, we lost her. Our family was once again devastated.

Meanwhile, as winter approached Meebs developed eczema on her cheeks. We treated it as best we could and in all the right ways, but there is no cure and she rubbed her stricken cheeks until they wept. Luckily she was sleeping with me and I could ‘play defense’. So, for the last six months I’ve been sleeping with one eye open, jolting awake when I feel her slightest movement and if need be gently pulling her hands away from her face.

Today, Meebs’ cheeks are a little rosy but otherwise healed. I suppose it’ll soon be time to transition her into her crib. Truth? I don’t want to. I cherish watching her smile while she dreams, feeling her chubby hand reaching for me in her sleep. I’m not ready to give that up.

Does that make me selfish? A bad mother? I can’t help but wonder by whose standards we measure this. I don’t know if I’m a good mom, but I do know I’m a mom with good intentions. I do know that my daughter is now nine months old and healthy, affectionate, sociable and full of giggles.

Maybe that’s enough.

*Also published at www.yummymummy.com, click here to go directly to my article!