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My Lemonade Moment


This weekend was a new start to my career and the exposure of my private life to outside view and ... possible judgement. I'm a child mental health specialist -- specifically a Play Therapist -- and a mother of two. I believed myself to be an educated therapist, having worked with children for almost 15 years, and yet, 4 years ago, I became educated in all that I did not know. I have never been one to believe I knew all or best, but I knew something was wrong with my own child. He refused -- could not -- sleep. When he did sleep, he would awaken screaming with such intensity it sounded as if someone was killing him. The only way to calm him was movement. We held him upside down and swaddled tight, swinging him while he watched something on the ceiling ... his eyes following ... tick-tock... on a spot above. We wore out 2 rocking chairs. My husband drove him hundreds of miles at night so I could sleep for just 4 hours after 4 days without sleep. Like other parents, we did anything we could think of to help our son sleep. Mind you -- day or night -- when awake, he was happy, jolly, giggly, and sweet. So absurdly so that doctors thought I was a "crazy" mom worried about "nothing." When my son was 14 months of age, I demanded a sleep study after first waiting 6 months to even see a neurologist. During the sleep study, with multiple wires attached to him, my son screamed and shrieked loudly. The technician witnessing the sleep study had never in his 14-years' experience seen a study like my son's in someone so young. Although I felt vindicated by the technician's response, I had to wait another month to see the neurologist in person for an answer. His response was, "well that needs to stop!" I looked at him in tired exasperation and tears -- finally another professional saw what I saw... sleep terrors. Never had the neurologist seen them in a child so young; he had only read about them.