Does your child wake up crying at odd hours of night without any apparent reason and you find it difficult to provide him comfort?
Yeah, that's the midnight duel we had to deal with for quite sometime. Within an hour of sleeping Shaarav would suddenly wake up screaming and crying vehemently and uncontrollably giving an idea of being hurt and deeply in pain. He would go on crying inconsolably for several minutes. I would feel helpless trying to console him but of no use. Those times were very straining to watch him cry and not being able to help him.
Did you dismiss this thinking it to be a case of nightmares? Let me tell you, children don't get nightmares until 3 years of age and Shaarav was only 1 at the time. So what this actually was? After a lot of research and consulting with Shaarav's paediatrician we came to know it was a case of "NIGHT TERRORS".
Night terrors are a kind of sleep disruption in which the child goes into a twilight phase where though he seems to be awake but he's actually only partially awake and partially asleep oblivious of the surrounding. The child would suddenly wake up screaming and crying as if he's experiencing something terrible and is deeply hurt. No amount of comforting would calm him down. And just the way it had started abruptly it would stop abruptly, and the child would again fall back to sleep and would wake up fresh in the morning with absolutely no recollection of it.
While my child was having Night terrors, I was having nightmares about it which left me feeling helpless and agitated. But at those times I just couldn't do anything and had to let the storm pass as I understood with experience and research that there's nothing to be concerned about. No amount of consoling could relieve or calm a child under attack of Night terrors since he's in a twilight state and won't reciprocate. So however difficult and annoying it might have been at the time, I could find peace in the fact that it was neither a medical condition nor a psychological disorder, and the child wouldn't have any recollection of it the next day.
We have gone without any episode of night terrors for several months now but thinking about it still gives me chills and shudders. (More on Night terrors coming shortly on my blog).