Night Stress

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Many of the insecurities Miss Rose developed after her father’s departure are starting to wain. She’s regaining her confidence and charges off without needing to know I’m right beside her. She’s even starting to go back on her woggle at swimming, not like she used to but she’s being a little more accepting. I think she is starting to adjust to the new family set up.

The main problems we are now dealing with are at night time.

For a long spell she wouldn’t settle. As soon as I tucked her in she would instantly scramble into my lap. If I tried to put her back into bed she would claw and cry and curl up on my lap again. I’ve got it to a point that she will now, almost always, settle with her bottle and a story without a problem. I kept her bedtime routine the same; dinner, Nudey rudey, bath, bottle and story. I just had to spend a lot longer settling her and giving her more cuddles and more kisses and reassurance. It worked and we are pretty much back to normal.

The problems are once she wakes up. She still self soothes at times, I will hear her wake up and cry a bit but settle back down, but when she doesn’t settle I bring her in with me. I like it, I’m happy with it, and have no urgent desire to prevent it from happening, except that she now panics. Full on panic attacks. She screams and claws and grabs me and I cannot do anything to calm her except be there and hold her. Other nights she just cries. And cries. And cries and cries. Last night she cried. She cried and wanted cuddles but when I cuddled her she pushed me away and cried more.

Photo credit Dagon

Photo credit Dagon

I spoke to my health visitor who assured me it’s a phase. Her anxieties are manifesting themselves as night terrors and the best I can do is just be there and ride it out. Try and stay calm, try and keep positive, but accept that just as sometimes I need to cry about him leaving, so does she. She has to be allowed to feel those feelings and to know that when she does I am there for her.

But it’s so hard. I am getting increasingly tired and increasingly anxious about night times. She’s waking earlier and earlier and needing me and my evenings are being sliced in half so I can’t get my jobs done and I can’t relax. These are selfish desires but they are there and I can’t ignore the fact I have them.

For now I am following her advice and sticking with it. Keeping calm, holding her, letting her cry and just being there. This is a marathon not a sprint. She will adjust and she will stop getting so upset by the changes. I just have to accept that for a while night times will be hard and during the day I will look a little like the undead.

If I try and rush her, do some form of sleep training, then she will get more stressed and feel more abandoned. So I won’t. I will go at her pace. But sheesh. I am getting through coffee at a heck of a rate.

If you’ve been through this following a relationship break down, how has your child adjusted? Did their anxieties show up at night or in different ways?

You can check out all my contact info an links on, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!



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