When you're pregnant, weird things happen to you, but one of the stranger ones is the changes to your dreams. If you can get good sleep, that is. Really vivid, really strange dreams.
I often have nightmares, but when I was pregnant my dreams weren't scary usually -- they became really weird.
In talking to friends about their dreams during pregnancy, I noticed some categories that a lot of the dreams seem to fall into. Let's decode them.
#1. The Announcing Dream
It can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months to know if you're pregnant for sure, but a lot of women (myself included) have reported having a dream in the first few weeks about being pregnant or having a newborn baby they "know" is theirs in the dream. This has become common enough that that is the official name, and it's been mentioned in books and even on The Ghost Whisperer. There is some suggestion that the announcing dream is the point where the baby's spirit or energy enters the body, and that if your baby's gender can be deciphered from the dream, it's a pretty accurate indication.
#2. The Thin Skin
You know that Photoshopped picture where you can see the details of a baby's foot pushing out of the mom's belly? A lot of women have reported dreams like that, where they can literally feel their baby through a very thin layer of skin on their bellies. It seems that this is most common towards the end of the pregnancy when Mom is getting anxious to be able to really touch her baby with her bare hands.
#3. The Birth Trial Run
Women who are learning about birth and starting to form an opinion about the kind of birth they want often have a dream where they either go through the birth or see bits and pieces of it. For example, I wanted to do a birthing center birth but didn't have it as an option, so I was stuck between a hospital birth or home birth (which I should have done), so I had a dream that I had a nice comfy bedroom in a hospital setting with a big bed and no doctors anywhere to be seen. I'd already given birth, but the meaning was obvious.
#4. Lots of Water and Water Creatures
Considering your baby spends 38 to 42 weeks in a watery environment, and your body is swelling with fluids, it's no wonder lots of women have dreams about water balloons, oceans, chugging water until her belly swells, or even that her baby is a tadpole, especially in the first trimester. Towards the end of the pregnancy, generally dreams have more to do with big eruptions of water. Gee, what could that represent?
#5. Non-Human Babies
I already mentioned dreaming you gave birth to a tadpole, but it's really common too for women to dream they birth something like a kitten or other animal. What this represents I have no freakin' clue. Possibly a disassociation with the pregnancy, often in the early days where the concept of it "really being a baby" is still hard to wrap your mind around ... or maybe you're just a Furry? Don't answer that.
#6. Scary, Baby-Stealing Dreams
Lots of women have fears about losing their baby, both before and after they're born, and often their husband's inability to help them. This frequently manifests in dreams; for example, my friend was pregnant with twins and dreamt that while she slept next to her husband, a scary man with red eyes, a red cape, bare chest, and black pants crept up her stairs. She beat and even bit her husband, knowing the man was coming, but her husband was useless. The man came into her room, ended her husband in a gory way, and then was coming around to her side of the bed, where she "knew" he was going for the babies in her belly. Yikes.
But things like that can often lead to:
#7. Fighting for Your Family Dreams
The creation of your family is also the first time you'll really realize what it's like to wear your heart on your sleeve. In dreams, when threatened, some women start playing out situations where they have to protect their families from would-be attackers of human or animal varieties. When Rowan was smaller, my dreams consisted of hiding with him, but I always knew we'd be caught and forced myself to wake up first. By the time Aurora came around, I guess I was done with being timid in my dreams, and I started fighting back. After one incredibly brutal dream that took place in my house where I fought off a bad guy to his demise, I remember my final thought before I woke up: "I wonder if the rental company will charge us for the blood stains in the carpet?"
#8. Sex Dreams
Some of the websites I looked at suggested these are often because the woman is worried about her partner finding her attractive, but you know what? I'm betting it has more to do with surging hormones and, especially at the end of the pregnancy, super-increased blood flow to the breasts and genitals, taking away supply from your noggin ... much like being a man, I assume.
#9. Dreams of Being Pampered
Sometimes the mom-to-be really would love to paint her toenails or shave her legs but just can't reach. Or dreams of a massage or other beauty treatment is just barely out of reach. It's not all that surprising that third trimester women often dream about being pampered ... sometimes turning into dreams like #8.
Have you had any of these dreams yet?