Tag Archives: Lucie’s List

Surviving The Night Terrors

Jacob had night terrors pretty consistently for about a year and a half – it started when he was maybe one-and-a-half to when he’d just turned three. If your kid has never experienced one, first of all, I hate your luck (!), but here’s what it means: You hear your kid crying 1-3 hours after they go to sleep, you go into their room to see if they need a drink or a wee, they start screaming in a possessed-like state and that carries on for anything from ten minutes to two hours. Screaming. Non-stop. Hitting you, lashing out, non-stop, while you wonder if everyone in your area has contemplated calling child services.

I read a lot about night terrors when we realised what we were dealing with and most articles said to sit somewhere nearby to make sure he wasn’t hurting himself, don’t wake him up and ride it out; that he’d grow out of it. So we did that, for a year and a half. We were absolutely shattered but without any real practical advice from anyone, we just sort of accepted it as our reality.

When Eva came along, the terrors got worse. I would just get Eva to sleep, and, hoping to catch some Z’s myself, Jacob would almost immediately kick off. He wouldn’t let Ass Monkey in the room with him at all when he was having an episode, I was the only one who he would scream the LEAST amount around. He was still screaming of course, just not as badly. Then his screams would wake Eva, she’d start crying agin, then I’d have to feed her, then because I hadn’t slept for fucking ages my breastfeeding was suffering and my brain was suffering and…we were all suffering.

Jacob’s night terrors stopped on account of one, all or none of these things happening (who can really say, they just stopped all of a sudden):

  1. We contacted a €300 sleep therapist.
  2. I started crushing half a tablet of camomile into his milk before bed.
  3. My friend said a prayer to her deceased mammy for me.
  4. We cut out his day time nap.
  5. We re-instated his day time nap, but only for half an hour.
  6. We started giving him milk and cookies before bedtime (he used to only want juice, a big dirty habit we’d gotten him into).
  7. I moved Eva and her moses basket into our room with Daddy, because being awake for five hours on the trot with my two kids while he snored was not part of my life plan.
  8. Did I mention the sleep therapist? Don’t worry, we didn’t pay the money in the end. But just like bringing a car with a ‘funny noise’ to the garage that disappears as soon as you get there, Jacob stopped having terrors THE DAY AFTER I sent my enquiry email.

Anyway, I came across THIS ARTICLE ON NIGHT TERRORS today from Lucie’s List, and I wish I’d seen it last year when we were in the thick of it. I haven’t tried the product, I haven’t a clue how it works, or if it works, but if you are dealing with a toddler who turns in to the Exorcist at 10pm every night like ours did, then I’m sure you’ll try anything too. Good luck!



Postpartum Depression (Via Lucie’s List)

If you have yet to sign up to Lucie’s List, then please do. Sound, practical advice on pregnancy and beyond, with a few ‘Fuck yeahs!’ thrown in. Just up our alley, right?

This is an AMAZING piece on postpartum depression that Lucie’s List has kindly given me permission to share. I think every single pregnant woman and new mother should read it, PARTICULARLY in this country as  Ireland is still so flippin’ backwards on these matters!

Take it from me right now, if you recognize yourself in the descriptions of different types of PPD below, then please be assured that it is EXTREMELY normal and that you have the super-woman strength to find the help you need to get through. We’re rooting for you xxx


Postpartum Depression

1 in 8 of you will suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety, or OCD. It can be nasty stuff and should not go untreated.

You’ve probably experienced the “baby blues”, which is the crazy moodiness and weepiness that occurs in the first week after you give birth. It’s normal. Everyone goes through it.

Perinatal mood disorders are different. They may feel like baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and longer lasting.

The Stats, Please

– 13% of postpartum women develop PPD (1 in 8!)
– 10% OF DADS (yes, that’s right, men!) develop symptoms of PPD
– 1-3 in 1,000 women develop postpartum psychosis. (I have 70,000 subscribers, which means – statistically – that several dozen of you will experience this and it is SERIOUS business!)
** A woman experiencing postpartum psychosis may be in danger of taking her own life or that of her child. Symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations (hearing voices urging a new mother to kill herself or her child), severe insomnia, total loss of appetite, and major anxiety and depression. This condition is considered a psychiatric emergency and demands an aggressive, immediate response. Please click here to get local help where you live. Help is waiting for you. Please don’t delay!

So I need to ask (new mothers): how are you doing?

Some of you are feeling Super Duper! Jolly Good. Elated. Tired, yes, but happy. Some of you may be struggling and still others may be somewhere in the middle.

Maybe you’ve experienced depressive episodes in the past (ahem) and maybe you haven’t, so let’s talk specifics. *** MIND YOU: this isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Some women experience some symptoms and not others.

[During my research, I stumbled across an excellent site for PPD support called Postpartum Progress. The following is re-printed directly from this article. (thanks Katherine!!)]

*You may have postpartum depression if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:

You feel overwhelmed. Not like “hey, this new mom thing is hard.” More like “I can’t do this and I’m never going to be able to do this.” You feel like you just can’t handle being a mother. In fact, you may be wondering whether you should have become a mother in the first place.
You feel guilty because you believe you should be handling new motherhood better than this. You feel like your baby deserves better. You worry whether your baby can tell that you feel so bad, or that you are crying so much, or that you don’t feel the happiness or connection that you thought you would. You may wonder whether your baby would be better off without you.
You don’t feel bonded to your baby. You’re not having that mythical mommy bliss that you see on TV or read about in magazines.
You can’t understand why this is happening. You are very confused and scared.
You feel irritated or angry. You have no patience. Everything annoys you. You feel resentment toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends who don’t have babies. You feel out-of-control rage.
You feel nothing. Emptiness and numbness. You are just going through the motions.
You feel sadness to the depths of your soul. You can’t stop crying, even when there’s no real reason to be crying.
You feel hopeless, like this situation will never ever get better. You feel weak and defective. You feel like a failure.
You can’t bring yourself to eat, or perhaps the only thing that makes you feel better is eating.
You can’t sleep when the baby sleeps, nor can you sleep at any other time. Or maybe you can fall asleep, but you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep no matter how tired you are. Or maybe all you can do is sleep and you can’t seem to stay awake to get the most basic things done. Whichever it is, your sleeping is completely screwed up and it’s not just because you have a newborn.
You can’t concentrate. You can’t focus. You can’t think of the words you want to say. You can’t remember what you were supposed to do. You can’t make a decision. You feel like you’re in a fog.
You feel disconnected. You feel strangely apart from everyone for some reason, like there’s an invisible wall between you and the rest of the world.
Maybe you’re doing everything right. You are exercising. You are taking your vitamins. You have a healthy spirituality. You do yoga. You’re thinking “Why can’t I just get over this?” You feel like you should be able to snap out of it, but you can’t.
You might be having thoughts of running away and leaving your family behind. Or you’ve thought of driving off the road, or taking too many pills, or finding some other way to end this misery.
You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy”.
You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.
*You may have postpartum anxiety or postpartum OCD if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:

Your thoughts are racing. You can’t quiet your mind. You can’t settle down. You can’t relax.
You feel like you have to be doing something at all times. Cleaning bottles. Cleaning baby clothes. Cleaning the house. Doing work. Entertaining the baby. Checking on the baby.
You are worried. Really worried. All. The. Time. Am I doing this right? Will my husband come home from his trip? Will the baby wake up? Is the baby eating enough? Is there something wrong with the baby that I’m missing? No matter what anyone says to reassure you it doesn’t help.
You may be having disturbing thoughts. Thoughts that you’ve never had before. Scary thoughts that make you wonder whether you aren’t the person you thought you were. They fly into your head unwanted and you know they aren’t right, that this isn’t the real you, but they terrify you and they won’t go away. These thoughts may start with the words “What if …”
You are afraid to be alone with your baby because of the thoughts. You are also afraid of things in your house that could potentially cause harm, like kitchen knives or stairs, and you avoid them like the plague.
You have to check things constantly. Did I lock the door? Did I lock the car? Did I turn off the oven? Is the baby breathing?
You may be having physical symptoms like stomach cramps or headaches, shakiness or nausea. You might even have panic attacks.
You feel like a captive animal, pacing back and forth in a cage. Restless. On edge.
You can’t eat. You have no appetite.
You can’t sleep. You are so, so tired, but you can’t sleep.
You feel a sense of dread all the time, like something terrible is going to happen.
You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy”.
You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.
Now that you’ve gone through these lists are you thinking “How the heck does this lady know me? Is there a hidden camera in here?” Nope. What this should tell you is that you are NOT alone and you are NOT a freak and you are NOT highly unusual. If you are having these feelings and symptoms then it is possible you are experiencing common illnesses that 15 to 20% of new mothers have, and they are completely treatable. Just reach out for help (by state and country).

If you are having the symptoms listed above, call your doctor. There is no need to suffer. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are temporary and treatable with professional help.”

Remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You are not crazy, nuts, or psycho.

Also…. yes, breast is best (and all that), but it’s waaaay more important that mommy is playing with a full deck of cards. If you need to stop b’fing in order to take the meds that you need to get better, it’s NOT a big deal. Our entire generation was raised on formula, and we’re FINE. (Read also: Letting Go of the Guilt from not Breastfeeding).