Waiting for My Baby to Fall Asleep

Baby is in bed but not sleeping. I feel what I always feel at this time of day – that if I don’t get at least 45 minutes sleep I will go insane. And it’s true a little, but only a little. Stayed up too late reading Lilith but it was supposed to have been our date night. Didn’t go because no babysitter to be found.

Reading Lilith. Half way through. Journey through own heart?

Must rearrange linen closet – nothing is fitting. Where to store sleeping bags?

I have to work out tonight or all is lost. Also, there’s a free symphony-orchestra concert on the beach. Run to concert?

How will I live in this state with no friends or family near? No one who naturally takes my part… And yet in some ways it’s easier. Shorter distances, weekly paydays…it’s summertime and this is a summertime state.

I’m all over sand, must shower soon. Spent morning at beach, can’t figure out why baby not sound asleep. I would be if I were in bed right now.

Can’t go to chant classes this year. Working on figuring out own simple system of chanting. Have been singing Psalm 23 all morning. Sounds very Western, pleasant to my ears, but bars of music are elastic and fit whatever words you put into them. Very nourishing practice. May make video; wonder if people will despise me for my breathy singing voice if I make no claims to expert execution.

Wish I knew the roots of everything. I think anything could be understood, and become subject to deductive reasoning, if you just knew where they had come from. Why do people think that things simply exist and that you can figure out what they are simply by looking upon them as they are now? It all came about somehow, and that somehow holds the key, I’m convinced, to understanding it all.

Feeling that sweet anguish when I want to create something, but my weariness is blocking anything from taking shape. No time to observe. Reasoning powers uppermost to facilitate survival. Down, down! Man lives by God’s decree…not bread alone…nor sunshine alone…nor friends, nor excercise, nor even hope…certainly not by deduction. Frustrated that my way of life demands constant shift between different types of intelligence. It makes me a more steady captain of this household but prevents me from developing anything like genius.

Baby finally asleep…it’s safe to slip past his room and go to bed. I have a terror of going to bed before he’s actually sleeping because it’s much worse to be roused by his screams when I am just falling asleep than to be prevented from going to bed in the first place.

But all has been quiet for ten minutes now, and I think that is my signal. My clothes are full of sand and desire for sleep is stinging my eyelids. Would to God my mind knew how to be as still as my body. Then I would do something a lot more like resting than I am presently capable of.

However, this is the power of the Jesus Prayer. I never finish it more than four or five times before I am sleeping. It’s not a sleeping charm but when your body is constantly suspended by furious thoughts the excorcising, level by level, of those thoughts may have the effect of dropping your body down, down, down into forgetfulness…

must doff my will as garment laid apart…

pure pleasure on the prick of a pin were better than oceans of riotous ravening satisfactions…


  1. I remember my sleep-deprived days with my #1 so well – especially when I read this! I too used to wait – and wait – to go to sleep because if I fell asleep and was immediately reawakened, I perversely couldn’t actually go back to sleep no matter how pathologically sleepy I was.

    “must doff my will as a garment laid apart” – spiritually this describes motherhood. Also, “run with patience the race set before us…” I can only say to give you any comfort that, 28 years later, it is clear to me that God received and honored that sacrifice (which I offered Him).

    I was living in a city where I knew almost no one with my first, with the sadness of having left friends and loved church family behind, and the exhaustion of motherhood crowding out any opportunities to put down new roots (for the time being). Your post brought tears to my eyes, and you can believe that I am praying for you.


  2. So familiar to me too! Very important lessons to be learnt through exhaustion and sleep deprivation as a new mum – every time.

    If you make a video of a Psalm I would be very grateful!


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