Sleep deprivation and Charity

Abigail is sleeping. She is so beautiful when she sleeps. Not only is her chubby face so sweet that I could stare at her all day and night, but, when I can break myself away, I can actually accomplish some things around the house.

It is amazing what a difference sleep makes. When Abigail sleeps I can get cleaned and dressed, eat, do laundry, dishes if I’m quiet, catch up on my email, blog, or sleep myself. When I sleep and am rested, I am cheerful and eager to see what wonderful things Abigail will do next. When I don’t sleep, well, I am tested.

Abigail has settled into a wonderful pattern where she sleeps 6 or so hours at night, then wakes, gets a diaper change, nurses and sleeps some more. It wasn’t always this way. The first few weeks, she would sleep for a couple of hours and then wake for a while and want to look around and eat. Brandon was on leave so he would help me and we would take turns sleeping.

After Brandon went back to work, Abigail was able to stay awake for much longer periods of time. Around Thanksgiving she would stay up until 3am and then only sleep for a little while and want to get up and play. I stayed up with her to let Brandon sleep as he was working and has to commute to work. I discovered something about myself. I’m not a very good mommy between the hours of 2 and 3 in the morning.

Abigail wanted to be walked continuously and sung to. Singing like this is difficult for me as I have a nodule on my vocal cord and singing for long periods really hurts and can make me lose my voice. Anyone who has ever carried a baby for a length of time knows the strain right between the shoulder blades, especially if carried high like my daughter likes. Abigail also went through a stage where she would spit up if she cried for more than 3 minutes. Somewhere around 2:30 I was too tired to care. I sat down and laid her in my lap and watched her cry. Sure enough, she threw up.

I cried. I asked the Lord to give me compassion on my daughter, to give me the patience and the strength I needed to fulfill her needs. I reminded myself that she wouldn’t always want mommy to hold and sing to her. I remembered how much I love her and how precious and special she is to me.

I went to the birth center the next day and told my midwife that I wasn’t a good mommy in the wee hours of the morning. She said “Good mommies don’t shake their babies.” I looked at her horrified and said I would never shake Abigail. She told me that I was a good mommy then. While that did comfort me, I know there is more to motherhood than simply refraining from causing your child grievous bodily harm.

Brandon asked me when he got home how my night had been. I told him and he said he was sorry for me. I then realized and told him that it was so much better to be awake all night holding my baby than the years I had spent awake all night crying because my arms were empty.

Abigail spent one more night up very late, but I was able to remember my love for her. I knew this phase would not last forever and eventually I would be able to sleep again. The next night Abigail began to sleep through the night.

Oh Lord my father, please teach me your ways. Give me patience and long suffering. Help me to teach my child to love your Word. Let me show her your love. Let me be found faithful when tested.

[1] Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
[2] And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
[3] And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
[4] Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
[5] Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
[6] Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
[7] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

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