Being a mother is filled with worry. This worry begins before your child is even born. When you are pregnant, you are afraid of complications with your pregnancy & the birth. After you bring them home, your fears continue & broaden. With each new stage brings a new set of worries.
One of the most terrifying of events that we have encountered as parents was the first time our daughter experienced a night terror. In the most frantic of screams she called out for us in the middle of the night. When I went to see what was the matter, I found her sitting up in her bed. I crouched down beside her & let her know that I was there. She looked right through me with wide eyes. I called out to her & she began to scream. My husband & I tried to hold her to comfort away whatever it was that was disturbing her. She began to shake & seize until she almost fell out of our arms. We laid her back down & she started to throw herself into her bed rails. It was as if she was possessed by some sort of demon. We placed her on the ground and surrounded her with pillows as she shook & slammed her head down. Terrified that our daughter was having a seizure, we called our doctor & began to prepare to bring her to the emergency room. With tears in my eyes, I continued to watch my daughter thrash on the ground while my husband spoke to the on-call doctor. Suddenly, our daughter stopped. She put her thumb in her mouth, rolled over and fell back asleep as if nothing had happened.
This was only the first of many other incidents. Each episode is different. Some are more dramatic than others; some are strange occurrences of sleep talking in which it sounds as if she is speaking in tongues. Very usually, we can predict when one is going to occur. Her terrors are usually brought on after a sickness or several days without sleep, but there are other factors that can cause a terror such as stress, sleep disruptions, sleeping away from home or in some cases, a medical condition.
Our daughter has been battling a nasty cold this week. Between the sickness & the lack of sleep due to the sickness, I knew a terror would be coming. I was right. Last night, I was awakened by frantic cries, a blank stare & the all too familiar thrashing around the bed.
What you can do:
Make sure your child is safe. If they are thrashing and flailing around, place them somewhere safe so that they don’t injure themselves.
Do not try to intervene. We learned this the hard way. Trying to hold or touch them will only prolong the episode. Talk in a hushed voice or sing softly and let it ride out. Be sure to stay close by until it is over & they are no longer in danger of injuring themselves.
You may also try products such as Lully Sleep Guardian. Check out what people are saying about this system.
Have you had any experiences with night terrors? Please share.