I've said it before and I know I'll say it again: night terrors are not nightmares. Nightmares are something I can safely bet all children experience at some time or another. Night terrors, however, are something entirely different. Usually they leave a baby or child absolutely inconsolable. Just knowing how little you can do to make your kid feel better is just one of the many struggles every mom with a kid who has night terrors knows all too well.
Our oldest child is now 7. When they (my child prefers to use gender-neutral pronouns) were just a baby, around 18 months or less, they began having severe night terrors. Their screams would pierce through the walls and rattle every sleeping bone in our home. My partner and I would rush into the room and I would grab them from their crib, holding their sweaty body close while it thrashed in real or imagined agony.
The websites all say these terrors should last 30 minutes at most. I can't say the same for my little bean. Their terrors lasted hours and occurred nightly for at least a year, tormenting our entire household in the process. When my partner and I weren't sobbing with our own feelings of helplessness, we were trying (and failing) to soothe them. When we weren't actively experiencing the night terror fall-out, we were worried about the next time night terrors would appear. It wasn't an easy situation to process and survive, to be sure, especially because we were dealing with the following struggles: