Give Me My Nightly Rest
My baby won’t sleep and it’s unraveling my faith.
It’s 1:37 in the morning. Since 11:30 the night before, I’ve had about an hour of sleep—snatches caught here and there between my nine-month-old’s erratic sleep patterns. The last time I had an uninterrupted six-hour stretch of sleep was months ago.
Once he wakens sometimes it takes ten minutes to resettle him. Sometimes forty-five long minutes of feeding and rocking before he’s limp enough to sleep through a transfer back to his crib.
Most times, I simply fall asleep in the nursing chair with him in my arms.
A book on motherhood gently reminds me to draw close to God while mothering at night, promising that God shapes me into his image in these quiet hours. So I fill these times with prayer and Scripture, interspersed with web surfing and book reading on my phone. Blue light filtered, of course.
It’s 2:05 a.m. My son’s breathing is even, his sleep seemingly deep. I rise and lay him down swiftly, softly in his crib. As I remove my hand from his back, I begin to beg, Pleasepleaseplease. For a moment he is still. Then he wildly rubs his face into the flannel sheet, one hand flailing about as his body senses separation from me.
I don’t move. Eventually, he needs to learn to self-soothe, as the sleep experts call it.
After two minutes of escalating wails, I scoop him up, unwilling to allow his crisis to precipitate a domino effect of waking my other two children and husband. My infant’s wails cease as we resettle in the nursing chair. No one else stirs as I resume my vigil. Not even God.
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The past nine months have been laden with grief. Repairs to a new-to-us minivan have equaled the amount we paid for it. My nearly three-year-old slipped through an accidentally unlatched backyard gate resulting in a CPS visit . . .
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