Our child’s fear of the night

Keep your beady eyes on me
To make sure I don’t turn to dust
If fear is in the mind, then my mind lives in fear
‘Turn to Dust’ – Wolf Alice

Awake 1am – 1.35am
Awake 3.26am – 3.52am
Awake 5.25am

Our 4 year old son last night. He doesn’t want to sleep alone. He is petrified of waking in the night and someone isn’t with him. Our boy is no cry baby. When he cries or is visibly upset, it’s heartbreaking and serious… a problem that needs solving with delicacy and patience.

How do you solve a problem when one of the parents had a childhood of neglect and abuse by her parents and the other had the opposite, but has a day job whereby a slip of the scalpel could cost a life?

Thus, it has to be my problem to solve and only when I’m literally on my knees with exhaustion and severe sleep deprivation, my husband will step in for one or two nights –  chosen depending on his work schedule and responsibilities the next day.

I wonder what our sweet boy thinks might happen to him if he stays in his bed and just waits until he falls back to sleep again. I know when I was his age I stayed in bed through the night out of fear. Well that’s one way to sleep train, I won’t be adopting. There seems to be a legitimate fear of being alone and a palpable vulnerability, almost as if I am leaving him to sleep out in the bush by himself at night.

He has spent the past 4 years sleeping mostly in our bed or with me sleeping with him in his little bed. However, with his latest growth spurt, space is even more of a premium than normal! Night before last I was kicked in the kidneys multiple times (sharp pain regardless of whether you are asleep or not) and because of my autistic sensory and CPTSD trigger issues I cannot relax into deep sleep with him constantly touching me to check I’m still there.

Our son probably has good reason for his fear. My assumption is that his fear is founded on a combination of: his daddy working away for the first 6 months of his life, we moved house multiple times until we finally settled where my husband got his first Consultant post, I had bad separation anxiety from him because I had a tough time those first 6 months alone coping with 2 young children, and after relocating across the country away from my support networks… and because I’m a F****** CPTSD SURVIVOR with ASD.

I have written a post previously about my concerns about whether either of our children are autistic. If our son is ASD (not has, because ASD isn’t a disease and isn’t curable, by the way) like myself, which is likely, then the issues of sleep and fear of abandonment are traits, as an ASD imagination is very busy and works overtime trying to make sense of the world.

As a conscientious mother I want to give him what he needs to feel safe, secure and loved (my precious little cub), but also to empower him to be able to feel peace and power from within himself. I want to do this at the same time as providing the same gift to our daughter. I want to do this at the same time as being kind, loving and supportive to my husband. Somewhere in all this I need to be able to do this without losing me.

To all you parents out there who love and care for their children, you parents who protect and nurture your children to grow into the citizens this planet needs to survive and thrive in peace… no matter what you have to overcome with your personal battles… I send you big love… big hugs… you aren’t alone.

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