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Little Miracles

Newborns sleep approximately 16 hours a day. That’s what all the books say. I own nothing short of a dozen books on newborn care. Reading all these books when I was pregnant gave me a false sense of what life with a newborn would be like. With all that sleep, I would never fall behind on laundry, I could still get dinner on the table, and, of course, who wouldn’t have time to shower? Sure, the nights would be hard with getting up every few hours, but I could even find time to nap during the day with the baby having 16 hours of                                  sleep.
I should have taken my Aunt Lynda’s advice—throw all the baby books out the window.
I’m not sure who these amazing newborns are, but my child does not sleep 16 hours a day. Not even close. So the laundry piles up, dinner is often take-out, and I might get to shower every other day.
It’s frustrating, to say the least. In fact, after weeks of being up five times a night, not getting anything done around the house, and feeling like a complete failure, it’s downright brutal. What is one of the happiest times in my life also leaves me crying in the bathroom or the basement (trying not to wake the baby). Of course, then that snowballs into more crying because I think: look at this amazing little miracle. He’s perfect and wonderful, and how can I be upset, mad, and frustrated?
Talk about a perfect time to talk to God.
And I do. All the time. I pray that my baby sleeps to help his mental and cognitive development. I pray that he’s eating enough. I pray that I’m stimulating him enough with books and toys, but not too much to give him sensory overload. I pray that my husband continues to be so patient and understanding when I’m a mess of exhaustion and tears when he comes home from work. I talk to God a lot. Or, really, I talk at God a lot.
But at the end of the day, as I tiptoe past the bassinet and slide as noiselessly as possible into my bed, I have the time to actually have a conversation with God. And when I do, my prayers always start with two little words. Thank you. Thank you for this amazing miracle of a child. Thank you for my wonderful husband. Thank you for our supportive families. Thank you for our home to sway and shush and swaddle this baby in.
I came to a realization last night after putting my darling boy down at 3:30 a.m. and praying that he’d sleep for at least two hours (which he did not, by the way). There is a reason for everything. God knows what I want. And God gives me what I need. Maybe God is telling me to slow down and enjoy my time with this little infant. He won’t always be this needy and want his mother all the time. While I’m in the midst of it, it feels like eternity, but this newborn stage will be gone in a flash. Laundry can wait; dinner can wait (sorry, honey). I can’t get upset when he wakes up after a brief 30-minute nap and it will take another 20 minutes to get him back to sleep. Instead, I need to scoop him up, cuddle him, whisper sweet nothings in his ear, and soothe him again. And as I do, thank God for his beautiful miracle and the time I get to spend with him.
Amy Reed is a member of RENEW International’s Marketing and Communications team. A Notre Dame alumna, she and her husband recently welcomed their first child, a boy, to the family.

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