A Sleep-Deprived Mother’s Prayer

Ann Jamison Postpartum

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Heart of the universe,
pumping life’s love
through all living flesh,
both sleeping and waking,
hear my prayer.

May I make it through this day
dragging my tired,
worn body behind me
through the minutes
past the hurdles
of fraught mealtimes
fights over television
deadlines at work,
across the finish line,
where my child surrenders to sleep.

May I remember the days when I felt young and alive
And believe that these early years
when I am choosing to respond with grace
when I am choosing to respond without an ounce of grace
when I am asking for forgiveness
and trying again…

May I remember that these days are a journey back
across the endless plain
to where youth begins.

May I never open the dented tin in my kitchen
the one that holds my coffee beans
the one that holds my succor,
May I never open that apothecary’s box
to find it empty.

May I never forget to sleep where and when I can,
In the car,
Under a table in the conference room,
On the sofa while my child watches
“Something educational.”

May I remember to give thanks
for inexpensive and generic SSRIs
These tiny blue and pink tablets
That give me the superpower  to bite back the anger,
Help me stop before I react,
Help me find a gap just wide enough
For me to choose how I want to do this,
To offer my child a new story,
Different than the one I inherited.

May he find sleep tonight,
A resting long and soft
that stretches languidly through
the winding dark hours
of the night.

May I rest as he does
at the mercy of his cycles.
May I find compassion enough for myself
to hold my deprivation
and my sacrifice
And still
Yet still
Pull this small child to my breast
And promise him warmth and an endless reserve of comfort
Through all our mutual days.

About the Author

Ann Jamison

Ann lives in Wisconsin with her husband, toddler, and unruly dog. In addition to her day job testing software, she volunteers with and is the co-architect (with her son) of many lakeshore sand castles that are just as fun to smash as they are to build.

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