Pregnancy changes everything. Not only will life never be the same, but the process of growing a baby and watching your body change causes an internal combustion of thoughts and ideas - some of them wonderful, some frightening. As myriad as the changes on the outside are, they are as prolific on the inside, particularly in the mind. The external changes are easy to see, the not so obvious but equally remarkable changes that parallel the external are often lived out in the dreams a pregnant woman has at night.
Writes Raina M. Paris, author of The Mother-to-Be's Dream Book: "Pregnancy dreams are nature's way of assisting the woman through the process of transformation from woman to mother."
The mental pregnancy a woman experiences can be every bit as profound as the physical experience because it is during this mental pregnancy that a woman prepares herself for motherhood and begins developing an image of her unborn baby. Dr. Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern, MD, a physician at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, feels that dreams are an important part of the critical integration process, allowing the mind to make space for the baby, which could explain why dreams during pregnancy are so bizarre.
Pregnancy Dreams are Linked to Life Changes
Psychologists and dream experts agree that during the course of pregnancy dreams tend to change with the trimester and tend to follow a particular progression. Although, not all agree on the specifics, there is a general consensus on the basics. Sometimes dreams are directly linked to a specific occurrence and it doesn't take an interpreter to get the idea of why the dream occurred. However, other dreams are mirrors of the emotional and mental changes going on and how the concerns, thoughts, and fears affect the pregnant woman.
Pregnancy Dreams Can Be Prophetic
Some women dream of their baby, see the face as clear as day and can describe exactly what their baby looks like - and they turn out to be right. There are women who clearly have a prophetic dream where they see the labor, delivery and baby only to experience it exactly. Premature births have often been foretold to the mother in a dream. Having said that - not all dreams are prophetic and it is important to treat the interpretation of them lightly, if at all. Keeping a record of the dreams is a good way to see if there are any patterns that make sense.
Fears of Being a Parent Exposed in Pregnancy Dreams
Dreaming of harm coming to the mother, the baby, or a member of the family is a common theme in pregnancy dreams. Losing the baby or feeling out of control in a situation with a baby is also common. Some people feel that these types of dreams are just the fears of becoming a parent that comes out in dream form and others discount them entirely.
Often, dreaming is a way for the mind to process thoughts, ideas, and even fears that we hold inside. The fact that they are remembered may have a connection with the fact that most pregnant women do not sleep through the night. Discomfort, having to go to the bathroom several times in the night and a busy mind all contribute to disrupt sleep patterns. Frequent waking means the dreams are still fresh when waking, so they may seem much more vivid than they normally would if sleep had endured throughout the entire night.
Talk to Your Partner About Your Pregnancy Dreams
Sometimes a scary dream is hard to laugh off or forget. In cases where the dreams don't go away and a lot of time is spent thinking about them during the day, it is a good idea to discuss them with a good friend, your partner, someone trustworthy, or someone pregnant (who probably really knows what you're talking about). Usually, just talking about it gives perspective and can even reveal the emotion behind the dream.
Men tend to dream during their partner's pregnancy as well. And, just like a woman's dreams, they revolve around the changes in life - concerns about being able to support a family; fears of losing their partner to another person (the baby), feeling isolated or out in the cold. It is equally important for a man to have someone to talk things over with as well.
Sometimes dreams are overwhelming and can rob what little sleep you are getting. If that's the case and they seem to be extremely disturbing, seek professional help. Otherwise, enjoy the trip! Vivid dreams can be funny and can clearly speak of things you're feeling or experiencing.