Through involuntary clenched teeth, I lie in bed listening to the slight rustling of a baby I had just laid down in the bassinet. The rustling sound grows to slight fussy noises. I feel like I’m on the tipping point of a roller coaster. It could mean another hour of rocking and feeding or maybe not. In desperation, I begin pleading to Heavenly Father that my baby will sleep. Please let him sleep. He needs to sleep. I need to sleep. Please. Please.
Sometimes the noise stops, and my baby finds his way back to sleep. But much more often he doesn’t, and my brain aches for rest in the hours of days ahead. I don’t recognize myself anymore. Hope is replaced with discouraging thoughts.
As I lay in bed praying once again for my baby to stop fussing and sleep, a thought comes to my mind and whispers truth into my heart, what if he’s praying too?
What if my baby is also desperately calling out to a loving Father in Heaven in the dark of the night?
And what if his prayer is for me to come hold him . . .
After leaving the safest of loving arms to come down to an unfamiliar mortal body, I’m sure he has feelings of deep loneliness and frightened alarm. Being cradled in the soft warmth of his mommy would seem like the only solution to his situation.
How could Heavenly Father not side with his prayer over mine? How could I stand in the way of answering that call to be the comfort to that most vulnerable, precious babe? I am his safe place in this dark world. I am his hope in the compassion and mercy of humanity. I am his example of how we treat our sweet, infant children on earth.
My jaw softened and I got up with a renewed outlook of delivering Christ-like compassion to my sweet new baby.
I picked him up gently and slowly waltzed away the night as tears of gratitude for this noble calling sprinkled his tiny head.
I’ve had more babies since this initial thought came and it still gives me pause. It was the unexpected answer to a prayer I frequently gave. Though I don’t always handle that night cry with perfect empathy, my heart has most certainly changed. I try to view night wakings as an opportunity to give compassionate love instead of as a resentful parenting chore.
That being said, I’ve also learned it’s OK for their daddy to share in this calling too. Brains are fragile, and we do need sleep and help where we can get it. As much as I can muster this outlook though, the more capable I feel in handling motherhood in the night.
I feel my babies communicate with God on a higher level than I could possibly understand, but the hope they have for an answer is mostly found in me, their mother. Am I willing to answer this call? Can I reflect the love God has for them? I sure hope so.
I hope I can rise out of my superficial anguish to view my motherhood as the divine godly calling which it is.
To raise these spirit sons and daughters the way He would want is something I fail at, often. But, in those pockets of prayer I offer throughout the day and night, I am often given the promptings I need to sustain and educate me to His will. How thankful I am to have His guidance in my hour of need. Also, for the husband next to me who I can nudge awake.