Waking up from a terrifying nightmare or weird dream that leaves you feeling exhausted is never fun—but it’s even worse when you’re trying to rest up before you bring your new addition into the world.
Moms-to-be have long-since reported heightened cases of nightmares and strange occurrences in their dreams, and some of the common threads offer a fascinating view into the mental state of new moms. The increased hormone production while building a new human is likely to be responsible for most of these vivid dreams, coupled with elevated anxiety and physical discomfort that can make getting deep sleep tough.
Check out some tips on getting better sleep while you’re pregnant.
It is thought that increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, may be the culprit for these sometimes disturbing pregnancy dreams.
Giving Birth To Animals Or Inanimate Objects It sounds crazy, but this one is actually incredibly common. Even Freud recognized it back in 1899 when he published The Interpretation of Dreams. He discusses several dreams women who were pregnant (Whether they knew it or not!) had, including one where a woman finds a seal-like creature in water, which to Freud always symbolized birth. Plenty of women dream they give birth to a litter of kittens, a puppy, or even in some cases items like toasters or your cell phone. It happens.
Some new moms worry that this is an omen about a deformity or illness affecting their baby, but your body and mind are busy preparing to love a new being in a big way, and this can sometimes translate into birthing strange things.
Dreaming About Conception These dreams are usually less scary and more vivid, and often present themselves in metaphors. For example, you might dream that you’re planting and tending a garden, or about a small animal that grows. These dreams are especially common in the early stages of pregnancy and sometimes even before you realize you’re pregnant.
Freud also details two dreams from women who didn’t know they were pregnant—once dreamt about her period starting in a more longing way, as if she was missing it, and the other dreamt of having a milk stain on her blouse. Our bodies may be more in tune with our dreams than we realize!
Harming Or Forgetting Your Baby Dreams where you either cause physical harm to your child or forgetting about them altogether—you aren’t alone and you aren’t predicting some sort of parental failure. Often women dream about empty bassinets, leaving their baby in a strange place, or even forgetting that they are parents for long periods of time. It’s natural to fear the worst, and heightened anxiety pre-baby can fuel some pretty scary nightmares. Parenthood brings with it a ton of responsibility and that uncertainty can easily translate to forgetting to bring your baby somewhere, or forgetting they are present at all. Feeling unprepared and nervous is incredibly normal and your dreams are likely just reflecting those feelings.
Dreaming about causing physical harm or not being able to prevent pain or danger can often represent the fears you’re facing when it comes time to bring the baby home and get into the real work of parenting. Your body isn’t telling you that you’ll be a horrible mother, but simply reacting to the increased stress and anxiety you’re feeling during the day. Hostile and moderately frightening occasional nightmares are to be expected, but frequent nightmares that are extremely violent or disturbing might be worth bringing to your doctor’s attention. Missing out on sleep during such an important time can be harder on your body in the long run, and minor adjustments can be made by your doctor to help relieve you.
Pregnancy Dreams About Gender A lot of new moms (and their friends and family members) will dream about an expected baby–often dreaming that they are a certain gender. While your dreams can't predict if your baby will be a boy or a girl, many women dream their baby's sex accurately. It makes sense given that there's a 50/50 chance, but it's hard not to get swept up in old wive's tales and dreams when you're waiting to find out who your child will be.
Dreams About Water Water has long been thought to represent life and birth in dreams, and many pregnant women find themselves dreaming in symbols that involve water features or even being submerged. It’s thought that dreaming about being submerged in water might be a way for you to connect and relate to your growing baby, as they are surrounded by fluid. These dreams more often occur in the first trimester.
Other water-related dreams often signify emotional changes. Dreaming about tsunamis or tidal waves at anytime can mean that there’s a major shift coming up in your life, and dreams about murky or unclear water can usually speak to confusion or being unsure about upcoming events.
Harsh or strange dreams should always be interpreted on an emotional level, not literally. Your dreams can be correlated to how you’re doing mentally and physically while you prepare for motherhood, but they shouldn’t be taken as predictions or inevitabilities.
These pregnancy dreams can range from pretty understandable fears to the truly baffling, and if you find that your dreams are too intense, there are a few things you can do on your own to take control of your dreamland. Try dream journaling—keeping track of your dreams when you first wake up can help you process your emotions, thoughts, and the content of the dream without losing details throughout the day.
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