Something as a new mum that I was never made aware of was the prospect of having a child who suffered from night terrors.
I didn’t know what they were at all until one night last week I experienced one first hand.
I can still hear the screaming and see little man so clearly thrashing around, looking completely lost and inconsolable.
He has been really poorly with an awful virus. He hadn’t eaten for 4 days, was pale, no energy to play and had a rash. We had put him to bed like any normal night, and he went off to sleep relatively quickly.
An hour later, we were shocked to hear high pitched screams and sobbing from the monitor.
Running upstairs, he was laid in his cot sobbing his heart out, thrashing around. Not realising what was going on, I picked him up and tried to calm him down.
He was trying to get away from me, pushing me with all his strength one minute and clinging on for dear life the next. Whenever hubby stepped in to get him off me, he would scream even louder like he was going to hurt him.
He looked like he was having a fit one minute, then being possessed the next.
Watching him and not understanding what was going on was terrifying and it truly disturbed me. Having to witness your child be so distressed and know there is nothing that can physically be done was really difficult.
After doing some research I now know that if they have night terrors, the trick is to leave them to it, and just watch over them to check they aren’t at risk of hurting themselves. They should last about 15 minutes. Then you can pick them up, snuggle them up and pop them back down again.
Little mans lasted nearly an hour. As we stepped in to calm the situation, this in fact only agitated the situation.
The difference between this and nightmares is that he wouldn’t have remembered any of this in the morning. Terrors also happen earlier on in the night, when they transition from deep non REM sleep to lighter REM sleep.
Most children transition through the stages of sleep just fine. However if they are poorly, more tired than normal, or are abruptly woken from a deep sleep for some reason, they are at risk of experiencing a night terror.
I will never forget the first night we had to go through this. Now we know what they were and how we can help the situation in the future rather than make it worse. I will now feel a bit more confident in helping him get through it should it happen again.
Has anyone else experienced something like this before?
Even if you read this and your child has never had a night terror, please bear it in mind should something happen in the future.
Busy Working Mummy XOXO