My daughter Mathilda turned eight in November 2016. She still wets the bed. Although I’ve sought advice from our GP and Mathilda’s name has been on the school nurse’s waiting list for almost a year, we received no external support for her bedwetting until a month before her eighth birthday. People just say “don’t worry, she’ll stop wetting when she’s ready.”

Over the years I’ve made countless attempts to get her out of pull-ups, but we never had a single dry night. The entire process was exhausting. It’s all very well saying don’t stress, but trying for years to be patient and not get upset is naturally stressful.

Giving up pull-ups

In April 2016 I made a decision to give up pull-ups for good. For the first three weeks Mathilda was wet every morning but we persevered. During half-term she had four dry mornings in a row - I was elated! It was short-lived though - by the following week we were back to changing the sheets twice each night.

She never woke up to being wet and we had to wake her to change her pajamas and bedding. Six months on and she wakes up now when she wets the bed and takes the top sheet off during the night.

Trialling a bedwetting alarm

I’m not a fan of the bedwetting alarm because of Mathilda’s sleeping habits, but in desperation I decided to try it and followed the guidelines of increasing liquid during the day. After a week we didn’t see any change, Mathilda just slept through the alarm which woke the rest of the house.

We stopped using it after six weeks because it was making her unhappy, grumpy and tired in the morning. I decided to let nature take its course instead.

Dry mornings are like Christmas 

After phoning our GP in tears saying we’ve waited enough and she’s not getting any better, we got a prescription for a month of Desmopressin before being seen by the school nursing team.

It’s been a long road getting dry overnight and we’re still going through it. The Desmopressin definitely offers respite from washing and wet mornings but it’s certainly no cure for my daughter. Perhaps when the nurse increases the dose it will help, but for now having three dry mornings is like three Christmas mornings in a row.

Fear, worry and emotional baggage

Mathilda is at an age now where she’s starting to go on school trips, Brownie camps and sleepovers and she’s nervous about it. She’s scared she’ll wet the bed, get found out and teased. This worry and fear of hers is on my mind all the time.

Of course there is a price to pay and I’m not talking about the cost of pull-ups and replacing bedding (necessary because the smell of urine eventually stops washing out). I’m talking about the mental and emotional stress that bedwetting has caused us. It’s a daily challenge. Before the day has started my daughter wakes up with a cloud hanging over her head, knowing that she’s wet the bed, she’s wet and it smells. That’s not a nice way for any person to open their eyes and start the day, especially a child who doesn’t need emotional baggage at such a young age.

It affects us as parents in different ways. We have to dig deep to remain patient and understanding. She needs to be reminded that we don’t blame her in any way and we’re not angry with her.

Sometimes after I’ve loaded the washing machine with sheets and duvet covers for the tenth time of the week I feel like crying - not for me, for her, because she has to bear this struggle. I know it upsets her more than she lets on and that’s why it’s so important to constantly remind her that she’s not doing anything wrong and that at some point she’s going to be dry overnight.

Getting support

I found out about ERIC when I came across the parents’ forum a few years ago. Over the years I’ve dipped in and out reaching out for support from other parents and reading what other children and families are going through. I also emailed ERIC’s helpline and they were great in getting back to me quickly offering advice and support.

If I had one wish it’s that bedwetting is taken more seriously by healthcare professionals. It seems only certain disabilities are taken seriously and bedwetting isn’t one of them. As the parent of a child going through it I beg to differ.

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