Thursday, September 13, 2007

Many moms suffer similar nightmare

'It was like I lost the baby. I was convinced he was in the bed somewhere'

To 4 a.m. feedings, dawn patrol diaper changes and general kid crankiness, add another middle-of-the-night "joy" of motherhood for new moms: baby-related nightmares -- specifically, imagined horrors that the infant is lost somewhere in her bed.

A new study in the west suburban Westchester-based medical journal Sleep found almost three out of four new mothers suffer from infant-in-distress nightmares. Some 57 percent have the kind that lead researcher Tore Nielsen dubs BIB -- Baby in Bed.

One woman said she suffered from BIB nightmares -- scrambling through the sheets looking for her infant -- a dozen times in 20 days.

Nielsen, of the Hopital du Sacre-Coeur in Montreal, says the nightmares are a normal result of the pressures of new responsibilities, lack of sleep and hormonal changes.

Jessica Ashley of the Northwest Side Old Irving Park neighborhood, said she had BIB for 18 months to two years after her son Ethan was born.

"It was like I lost the baby. I was convinced he was in the bed somewhere," said Ashley, 35, a free-lance writer who blogs for Chicago Moms Blog.

Ashley discovered her grandmother also had BIB for 20 years. While her nightmares have stopped -- her son is now 3 years old -- she wonders if BIB might not be hereditary.

Catherine McNiel, 30, is a Glendale Heights mother who battled BIB.

"I just chalked it up to the constant vigilance that drives mothers -- from the minute you get pregnant, everything is pointed at caring for this child. Even when you're asleep your subconscious is still working," she said.

'Survival mechanisms'
Rosalind Cartwright, a dream researcher with the Sleep Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, says the nightmares may stem from the question, "Am I going to be an adequate mother?"

Such bad dreams can be "survival mechanisms" because they "help diffuse the anxiety for you," said Cartwright, who was not involved in the Canadian study.

In this case, discovering that the baby is not tangled in the covers reassures mothers that their worst nightmares are not real, said Cartwright.


At September 13, 2007 at 8:11 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Gosh mothers have some stuff to deal with huh?

At September 14, 2007 at 10:24 AM, Blogger GMG said...

Hi Raghu,
Thanks for your comments on my blogs.
I survived the Greek fires. Actually I was in the Islands (Kos, Crete and Mykonos) where there were no fires; only the island of Evia was somehow affected. I’m glad to be back and catch up your posts!
Last year I saw the Crucible in London; a superb performance...
Nightmares, bad dreams, anxiety..., I'm getting anxious...

As I’m late, my posts at Blogtrotter are still in Bali 2005. Hope you enjoy it, anyhow!
Have a great weekend!


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