Thursday, 27 March 2014

Baby nightmares

As a parent, you do anything you can to protect your children. But, what happens when they enter a place you can't protect them?

Sticky has started having nightmares. She will be in a deep, peaceful sleep, when suddenly, she releases a blood curdling scream that is full of terror. It is so full of pain it makes me immediately drop whatever I'm doing and run to her.

When I pick her up, she curls into a little ball and tries to burrow deep into my chest. It takes a minute or two for me to cuddle her, stroke her and tell her everything is ok until she stops crying. Once she stops, she breaths a huge sigh of relief. It brings me to tears everytime it happens.

When it happens during the day, it's traumatic enough. But at night, it's 10 times worse because I've been woken from my sleep by her scream. My heart pounds at a million miles an hour and it always takes a while for me to calm myself down and reassure myself she's ok before I can go back to sleep.

It breaks my heart to think something is scaring her so much and I can't do anything to stop it. If it was in her waking hours, I would simply remove her, or the threat but I can't do that in her sleep. I know night terrors are common in young children but at 9 weeks old, what could she possibly be dreaming about that would effect her so much? 

I hope this does not become so severe that she's afraid to go to sleep. Sleep is so important and her chance to relax and recharge her batteries. I want that to be as calm and rejuvenating as it possibly can be. The only thing I can think of that might be impacting on her dreams is the tv. While I know she doesn't comprehend what she sees, she can certainly be impacted by the noise, bright lights, music and flashes. It may be time to have the tv off whenever she's in the lounge. It's certainly worth a shot.

I may have to accept that there is nothing I can do to stop these dreams. After all, none of us can determine what we will and won't dream about. So, I continue to ask Peanut and Babs to watch over her as she sleeps and hope they will wake her up as soon as possible if she's having a bad dream. Then, I just need to there for her to calm her down and comfort her. 

I always knew that as a parent you can't be with your child to protect them 24/7. But, I thought that would only happen once she started going out into the world. It's been a rude shock to realise she can be lying less than 1 metre away from me and I can't protect her. For the first time, I feel totally powerless as a parent. I'm sure it won't be the last but it's not something I really want to become accustomed to.

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