There is something haunting about hearing your child cry out your name in the middle of the night. The sound of his voice pleads desperation and panic. You rush to his side as he is screaming "Mommy". You sit down and hold his hands telling him you are there. You are trying your best to be calm for him, to soothe him and calm him. He doesn't hear you though. His eyes are filled with fear and he is looking all around while flailing his hands. You have never felt more invisible than you do at this very moment.
At least once a week lately my four year old son, Chase, will wake up having a nightmare. Or as they refer to it today, a "Night Terror". These moments send chills up and down my body. I have gone to his side to be overcome with this overwhelming feeling of helplessness. I have been brought to tears as I have grabbed him out of bed to try to hold him as close as possible hoping that I could hug the moment away. I vividly hold a memory in my head of one of these moments three weeks ago where I just held him, crying with him. He didn't know I was crying, most likely he didn't know I was even holding him while he was yelling and flailing. He does not have any memory of it in the morning nor does he worry about going to sleep for fear that he will have another night terror. The only person who seems to have that fear is me.
This past weekend Chase had a nightmare and woke up
delirious while screaming my name. Once in the room and realizing that once
again he had no idea I was there, he went on to say his brothers name. He
kept saying (yelling) Wesley over and over. I finally asked him if he
wanted to go see Wesley and he said Yes. I scooped him lout of his bed
and went into our room where Wesley was asleep in the toddler bed. Chase
was still in hysterics until I placed him next to his brother and
suddenly he was quiet. He cuddled right in close, the tears and yelling
stopped, and he fell back to sleep. Looking down on him and his brother
it was as though they had been sleeping like this for hours. Spooning
one another and wrapped in the comfort of one the others skin.
I know that children having night terrors is normal. I am aware that it is common for this age. I do realize that my son will be okay. Yet there is something blood-curdling about your child not knowing you are there when you are sitting directly in front of them. There is something heart wrenching about hearing your child's voice in decibels that send goose bumps up and down your spine. The worst part, is that there is not a damn thing you can do to make it stop.
There are certain websites and health affiliates that give "suggestions" on how to help prevent night terrors. Reality is that in most cases there is nothing that can be done. Most children out grow them by the time they are teenagers. That may seem like an eternity to those of us who have children that are experiencing these.
I have read a few articles that say waking your child 15 minutes prior to an episode, get them out of bed for 5 minutes (or until fully awake) then put them back to bed could help with breaking the pattern if repeated for several days. I choose not to do this since it is weekly and not nightly. I feel this would cause disrupt for him and be unproductive in my house.
So what do I do? I will continue to go to him to help him through these moments. I will do my best to be as calm as I can be. I am thankful that this is not a nightly occurrence for us as it is for many parents. The once a week episode is enough to hurt my heart. It's these moments that we don't sign up for when we become parents. One day this will all be a blurry memory and it will be some other wearisome thing that will keep me up at night. It's just a phase, a small part of our world, a road bump along the way to teach us and make us stronger. Someday this will all just be a memory and the haunting cries will seem like eternities ago; fragments of time like shattered glass.
Other Posts From Discovering Me In Them:
The "Fine Line" Between Help And Push
Being A Stay At Home "Mom-Ster"
Being The Other Woman