For this child, I have prayed.

I used to pray.

It was pretty generic at first. Repeated table prayers. Asking for things. Begging for solutions. For hope in times of despair. For things that were yet to come.

One line has always stood out:

“For this child, I have prayed.”

It would be included in birth announcements,

Ultrasound pictures, bringing home baby pictures that I would see online.

Framed artwork above the crib.

“For this child, I have prayed,” I would repeat, 

Wondering when it would be my turn to have the announcement. My turn to be the person who the shower was for. My turn to do a gift registry. 

“Life is what happens when we are making other plans,”

My friends’ children are growing up.

Some in elementary, some in high school, and one, the first baby in our friend group, is shining away at college. 

There are no extra bedrooms in my apartment. The ultrasound of my womb is always empty when they go in looking for medical concerns. 

I used to feel guilty for feeling relief but I would always wonder what if I was the patient instead of the perpetual provider?

It took 15 years for me to accept that biological children are not in my calling. 

But there are still prayers. 

Intake notices go up on Monday. An admit is ready to be placed in residential care.

I read the paper chart, my fingers scrolling through the history.*

8th suicide attempt: November 9th

Age of child: 15. 

Information regarding suicide: came out as gay at age 13. Struggling. Kicked out of father’s house. 

I pause. My heart takes a breath. I hear the words in my mind:

“For this child, I have prayed.”

I used to pray for my own turn. But now I see the bigger picture. Now I understand the meaning behind the phrase Rachael taught me— “there’s no such thing as other people’s children.” 

And while I understand my boundaries, I still allow love to flow in and push me to continue my work. 

I take a moment before I go to welcome my admitting client. “For this child,” 

I used to pray.

Now, I also give thanks. ❤️

*all identifying client info has been changed


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