September 04, 2009

Several weeks ago, my husband got it into his head that the two of us needed to unwind and reconnect.  He chose a film, popped some popcorn, rocked the baby to sleep, and PRESTO! it was date night.

That doomsday end-of-the-world piece of crap movie scared me shitless and now, in the quiet moments of the night, something horrible happens.  I imagine my daughter.  Dead.

I cannot rid my mind of the nightmares.  They wake me every night.  Twice.  Three times.  Sometimes they come in waves, four or five in the span of an hour.  And I cannot silence them, I cannot banish them, so I wake up terrified, haunted by my greatest fear.  It takes every bit of self-control I have not to let the scream in my lungs erupt into the room, every bit of strength I have not to shatter the calm where my family sleeps.

The nightmares are never the same.  A cataclysmic meteor strikes the planet and we are consumed in the aftermath.  A blizzard and we freeze together in our car.  A flash flood and we drown.  A toxic gas is released into our home and we suffocate while we nap.

A murderer breaks into our house and I cannot protect her.  A sun flare envelops the Earth and I cannot stop it.  A devastating plague rips apart countries and I cannot quarantine her.  A fire burns our home and I cannot run away fast enough.  A truck rams into our car on the road and I cannot maneuver out of the way.

I die in the nightmares too, but that never bothers me.  Let me hang or burn or freeze or be shot.  Let a tidal wave overwhelm me, let a beast tear me from limb to limb, let a trash compactor crush my bones.

But do not take my child.

Every night, I crawl into bed, kiss my little girl, and close my eyes.  And what bothers me is that I know that in a matter of hours, I will wake up frightened and distraught and on the brink of tears because I could not save her.

The only up side to the nightmares is that I have learned a valuable lesson from them.  Next time my husband suggests we snuggle on the couch and watch a film?  I’m picking it out.

Thankfully alive and well.  And cooing and smiling and giggling =)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
twitter / becomingsarah Bookmark and Share

  1. By chocolate and whine on September 04, 2009

    Well, that just plain sucks. I have nightmares about spiders and, since they keep me awake and make me cry, I’m going to say I know a LITTLE of how you feel. But since there’s a child involved… probably not really. Can you watch another film? Something to overshadow doomsday?

  2. By Kathleen on September 04, 2009

    This happened to me when I was much younger. We watched a scary movie and for months I dreamed about terrible things happening to my family. Mainly things that I had no control over, like the quiet gas or murderer breaking in. Now that I am older, when I dream stuff like that, I have super powers and always kick their butts. Maybe you should watch a little Jackie Chan and pick up a few moves?? For your dreams at least. :)

  3. By on September 04, 2009

    When I went away to college freshman year, I had this awful dream sometime during the first week that my mom had died and everyone expected me to step up in her shoes and do all the stuff that she does.  And let me tell you, my mom is super woman, so doing all the stuff she does, especially at 18, would have been damn near impossible. I woke up in tears and had to call her, to hear her voice, so I would know she was ok.  I still remember scenes from the dream, not just the trauma.  But I’ve always thought that the transition in my life, leaving my parent’s home for the big scary world, although I was fearless when awake, triggered it.  Also, about once a year since I was a chile, I dream that something awful has happened to my brother, and I usually have to call him to.  (Although I usually refrain from saying, “yeah, I dreamed you died again.“  Young men don’t want to hear that sort of thing.)

    But my point is, I think the crazy, scary, out of control dream when your life changes drastically and the people you love have you worried is a natural way for your mind and your heart to process it all, to make you deal with the things we can’t face in the light.

    Doesn’t make it suck any less, though, so I hope it gets better soon.

  4. By on September 04, 2009

    It would have happened at some point - I think it happens to all Mommy’s. News stories usually trigger my nightmares. Stories about car accidents, kids being taken or abused. Before Mommyhood we never had to consider how to handle situations where we would put someone elses life before our own. The fight or flight scenario we were used to didn’t include protecting offspring.

    When my children have nightmares, I remind them that they are the director of their dreams. If something is scaring you, change it. My son was having nightmares about someone taking him. I told him to think about the bad persons pants falling down just as he was trying to him. It worked. Maybe try imagining you can create a safety bubble for Charlie.

  5. By on September 04, 2009

    I don’t have the nightmares, but on the nights when she sleeps longer than usual, instead of appreciating the sleep I wake up thinking “Oh my God, is she DEAD?“ And then I creep into her room to make sure she’s still breathing.

    Thankfully, she always is.

  6. By C @ Kid Things on September 04, 2009

    Coming from someone who used to LOVE horror movies before she had kids, I can no longer watch scary movies. I have no interest in them whatsoever. This is one of those things that have changed for me that I would have never even considered before.

  7. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on September 04, 2009

    C @ Kid Things - I think that’s part of it.  I was never picky about films before I became a mother, but now?  Well, after my postpartum foray into doomsday, I’m pretty sure that I only want to watch flimsy comedies for the rest of my life.  I never would have thought motherhood would change my taste in movies, but there you have it lol.

  8. By Elizabeth on September 04, 2009

    Yeah. movie-watching has pretty much been ruined for me, since having kids.  I’m with you.

  9. By erin on September 04, 2009

    News stories set me off about Hannah.  I just cannot hold her tight enough.  Some days I’d rather live in ignorance of the world.

    Brian has learned over the last 9 years what movies are “appropriate” for me and what are not.  So, he knows not to ask me to join him in watching the latest horror movie, because he’ll reap the consequences later.  I pretty much stick to vapid romantic comedies.

  10. By Restless Mama on September 04, 2009

    So I’m not the only one that freaks out about this.  I’m so sorry lady.
    You should definitely pick the movie from here on out.  No more doomsday films!
    On a happy note - what a darling photo.  Charlotte looks sooooooooo happy!

  11. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on September 04, 2009

    You poor thing - like you don’t have enough to worry about with raising a newborn, now you have to worry about doomsday too!  That can’t be fun.  Here’s hoping your dreams get better soon so you can get some sleep!

  12. By Mandy on September 04, 2009

    Is it just me, or are all of these comments numbered “1.“?

    I think I agree with Liz, that most often when we have nightmares it is connected with drastic life changes.  Soon after I got married, I dreamed that my husband had asked me: if I ever died could he marry my sister.  Not long after, I dreamed that my cousin had committed suicide.

    We just watched Knowing last night, and that is probably the freakiest doomsday movie I’ve seen.  Of course, I’ve always had this bizarre-ish fear of aliens.  Fortunately no nightmares from that one yet, but that’s like the extent of my interest in creepy/scary flix.  I don’t want to even give myself an excuse for possible nightmares.

    The weird part is, I’m a huge fan of Stephen King’s “It.“  Go figure.

  13. By Hyacynth on September 04, 2009

    Just came across your blog and am really enjoying it.
    Pregnancy and post-pregnancy hormones really can make your dreams crazy! I’m just a week or so from delivery, and I am looking forward to the months after the baby is born when the weird dreams come to an end! Hope yours stop soon.

  14. By MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt on September 04, 2009

    Just cannot imagine what that fear must be like!

  15. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on September 04, 2009

    Mandy - That’s the film we watched too!  Knowing.  That’s the doomsday movie that gave me nightmares.  I think its the first movie I’ve ever watched where there is no “out” - everyone just dies, the end.

  16. By Stephanie on September 04, 2009

    Isn’t it lovely how pregnancy and motherhood decides that it’s going to make you go crazy and have these weird, nightmarish dreams?! Gotta love em.

    The only thing I can say is I hope they go away for you soon.

    I was reading a pregnancy book that explained them a bit and it just said that dreams are your supconcious’ way of getting rid of your anxieties. Without overtaking your entire day, thinking about them.

    Just be glad that they’re NOT real and each time you do wake up, your daughter is there, alive and so freaking beautiful.

  17. By Elaine on September 04, 2009

    The film may have been the trigger this time, but stopping watching them won’t help. Welocme to Motherhood. (21 year old son and still having nighmares!)

  18. By Melissaand3Boys on September 04, 2009

    I had very similar types of dreams when my kids were babies and toddlers.  Maybe it’s the fact that (even though they cry) they can’t really yell out if they are afraid or something.  I have woken my husband up with me frantically pulling up the blankets looking for one of my kids.  I think that time it was a drowning dream.  It’s pretty freaky isn’t it?  We want to protect them so much and from everything.

  19. By bethany actually on September 05, 2009

    I have had discussions with friends about how, after our kids were born, we completely lost interest in shows like Law & Order: SVU and CSI because they often showed bad things happening to kids.

  20. By jaimey on September 05, 2009

    Don’t those dreams just suck?! When I was pregnant with Jonathan and we had found out about his diagnosis, I had two horrible dreams. The worst was the second, where I had left my 2 year old in the car “for just a second” (which in real life I NEVER do) and when I came back he had drowned in a pool after letting himself out of my auto doors on my van. I still- a year later- can’t have to auto feature on, it scared me out that much.

    Hang in there. At least you have a lesson learned in there. DO. NOT. ALLOW. THE. MAN. TO. PICK. :)

  21. By Allison on September 07, 2009

    Ugh. I had those too for the first few months. And then, when Alex FINALLY started sleeping through the night every once in a while when he hit 8 (ish?) months, I woke up ALL THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT to check on him because I was convinced he had died in the night. WHY ELSE WOULD HE BE SLEEPING SO LONG?!

    Scary scary.





Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?