I have mentioned that my girls cry at night before. It’s not really crying but screaming. They will wake up and start screaming like someone is murdering them for at least half an hour and sometimes llonger. No amount of kissing, holding or assuring will get them to calm down. I have tried everything. I, usually, just lay next to them not touching them because that makes it worse until they get too tired to continue.
I always feel like I have failed as a mother. Something is upsetting my girls deeply to make them cry like that and I, Mama, haven’t a clue as to what. Or, do I?
I have been thinking about when the night terrors started with Sweet Bear. It was just after we moved to France without her big sister. She adored and still does adore Angel Girl. Angel Girl was always there playing, holding and kissing Sweet Bear from birth. When Sweet Bear was born Angel Girl was in the hall just outside the door. She began jumping up and down chatting, “Sweet Bear is here”, over and over again. As soon as she was allowed she ran into the room and looked at her new sister. She thought she was beautiful and kissed her face as she held Sweet Bears little hand. Angel Girl had wanted a baby sister for years and at the age of six she got one. And, she spoiled Sweet Bear rotten with all her love.
I now see that the move to France and the separation of my daughters is what has been causing the night terrors. They don’t understand why Angel Girl isn’t here all the time. I try to explain it to them but I am not sure how much they understand.
It’s not easy to live with the guilt of knowing that your decision to move to another country (even if you really think it was for a better life as a family) is what causes your childrens’ night terrors.
It is no little thing as you will understand if you have ever had a child that has night terrors. It’s scary. My kid is screaming at the top of her lungs and she is out of control. Last winter, both girls would do it at the same time. It was a nightmare having two babies screaming for no apparent reason. I would check them to make sure they were not hurt. Because, it sounded like they were being tortured. I couldn’t do anything to make it better for them. My neighbor under me asked me a couple times if it was my children she heard screaming at night. She suggested to me that it may be night terror. I had never heard of it before then.
Sweet Bear doesn’t have them anylonger. She only wakes up and crys once a week. She stops as soon as I find her blankey for her. Petite Clown started the night terrors shortly after the first summer after Angel Girl left from her first stay with us in France. She is still having them about two nights a week. If she sleeps with me she is ok. But, my husband refuses to let her sleep with us. And, I understand that he is right about that not really being the best for her either. So, I just hold her tight and put her head on my shoulder rocking and her. Sometimes, it works. If not, I lay her in her bed and stay with her talking to her and kissing her when she will let me.
When I decided to make the move to France, I knew my children would be sad to be apart. I knew it wouldn’t be easy for them. However, I never guessed how deeply it would hurt them.
I think that Sweet Bear is beginning to understand why Angel Girl isn’t here during most of the year. I think that is why she doesn’t scream at night. However, my biggest fear is that she just hides it better. I do have problems with her temper and sometimes she is down right mean to her little sister. But, I know I was mean to my little brother, too. I worry that I worry too much.
I, as their mother, love my children and it’s hard to see them screaming like they are being murdered for no physical reason. I feel helpless and responsible. I feel like a bad mother. Mama just wants to kiss all the bad things away but sometimes no amount of Mama kisses will make it better. The worst is knowing it is really my fault that my kids are not all together. Sometimes, I wonder if I made the right decision. I wish I could rewind time and play it over differently to see if it would have been better another way.
Here is a wonderful website on night terror.
It can run in the family. I and my brother have always had “nightmares” and would often sleep with each other because we were terrified after these dreams. I have had them since at least six. Maybe, sooner and I just don’t remember. Sometimes, I would remember the dreams and other times not. I always remembered the deep undescribable fear after the dreams. I won’t tell you the details of my dreams because some are disturbing. Steven King like dreams keep me restless at night for months at a time.
Even as an adult I will fight sleep after a bad dream because I’m too afraid to close my eyes. I will wake up in the morning with the light on my face and I feel safe again. In high school, I didn’t like to sleep because I was afraid of having a nightmare. I would stay up for hours until sleep overtook me. My parents were always yelling at me for not sleeping. I just was too afraid to sleep.
So, I do think that it runs in the family. However, I understand that being away from their sister triggers it and causes the night terrors to be more accute.
In a matter of days, my girls and son will be together again. >However, my biggest worry now is that Boy Blue will begin to have night terrors after his sister goes back to America at the end of the summer.