In the rich, revealing dreams of pregnancy both the mother and father-to-be can discover a lot about their baby - before it is born! This text includes information on dreams common for each trimester and a special glossary of what everything means.
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The Mother-to-Be's Dream Book
By Raina M. Paris
Warner BooksCopyright © 2000 Raina Paris
All right reserved.
Chapter OneConception and the First Trimester: Dreams of the Past
Around the time of conception and well into the first trimester, a woman's dreams will act as a therapeutic tool to help her clear up unresolved issues from the past, so that she may be psychologically prepared for her new offspring. Dreams of the past often appear at this time, including images of old homes and family members or friends with whom relationships need to be worked out-a father, a mother, ex-boyfriends, for instance. These dreams, though not directly related to the pregnancy, are the way the unconscious brings to the surface certain issues that might interfere with the mother-to-be's capacity to mother her child. For instance, many dreams have to do with the mother-to-be's own childhood. The dreams will help her look at her relationship to her mother and father, and how the beliefs and patterns she established early on in her life affect her current ideas about mothering and babyhood. It is an opportunity for the mother-to-be to examine, challenge, and question these beliefs and old patterns, some of which are no longer useful.
Dreams of lost love also appear at this time. They help the mother-to-be to look at her old patterns and let go of unfinished business with ex-lovers. These dreams are also a way for the unconscious to help the mother-to-be say good-bye to her days as a maiden.
These early dreaming cycles have a sense of urgency about them. They help a woman eliminate the restrictive patterns in her life that might prevent her from flourishing as a mother. They are Nature's way of making the baby feel welcome. The mother-to-be usually experiences daily life with an increase in self-awareness. Early pregnancy dreams lead a woman to wholeness, drawing up broken pieces from the past and forming them into a new, revitalized human being. These dreams provide an honest mirror to look into for the courageous and the willing, and the best kind of therapeutic help, the one only your own soul can give you. Let's discuss these types of dreams and look at some examples.
Having a baby is a mental idea before it becomes a physical reality. In the idea phase, it is a powerful catalyst for change. It animates a woman's unconscious and helps her remember and recover parts of herself that she might have lost over time. Such was the case with a woman I interviewed. She had a dream in which she met herself at various ages. The dream characters she saw in her sleep were reflections of who she used to be, both as a teenager and a young woman. There was also something else about the dream that was interesting. She and her husband had recently agreed on a name for a girl, and the name appeared vividly in the dream. Not only was her unconscious bringing up aspects from the past, it was also showing her that she was on the right track, that her intuitive connection with the child was already established. Here is the dream of the past the woman experienced after she decided that she wanted to have a child-at this point she had not even conceived:
I am in the lobby at a theater with my husband and some other people, including what looks like a doyen schoolgirls, approximately thirteen years old. My husband and I are with Laura and her friend. Laura is younger than me, about twenty-six or twenty-seven. We look alike. Many people think we are sisters in real life. Everyone is beginning to go into the theater to watch the show. I lag behind and happen to notice an old leather eyeglass case lying on the ground. Engraved on its cover is the name of the child I have been thinking about in my waking life. I call out the name, brandishing the leather case like a prize above my head. The schoolgirl to whom the case belongs answers. She is tomboyish, with curly black hair. She looks like me as a young girl. She thanks me. Then I see that Laura, my young friend, has also misplaced some things. I retrieve her thick leather Day-Timer and her checkbook, which also contains her driver's license. I am very proud of finding all these lost precious things. They didn't even know they had lost them and here I am finding them and returning them to their owners. I wake up.
After observing the characters in her dream, the woman came to realize that the thirteen-year-old and the twenty-six-year-old looked like two younger versions of herself. She also discovered that these two characters represented periods of her life in which she felt very lost and alone. In the dream, the woman finds articles that bring resolution to these challenging times. She recovers for each character an object that symbolizes their ability to function in the world in a way that she was not able to at those ages in her life. By naming her desire to have a child, she has set into motion a cycle of healing.
Another woman I interviewed had such disturbing dreams during her first trimester (when her hormones were at their most energetic level) that she sought out the help of a therapist for the first time in her life. Her own parental issues, especially with her father, had broken through to her consciousness in such a strong manner that she could not avoid them anymore. Her work with the therapist helped tremendously. She learned how to be present with the process of her own pregnancy, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Occurring only days apart, here are the dreams that convinced her to see a therapist:
I am alone with the new baby who is asleep in his room. I am naked. A burglar with a mask comes through the glass door. I am in my childhood home. There is a feeling of great danger for me and the baby. I feel very vulnerable. I can't see who the burglar is. He is holding a big hammer. If I go to pick up my new baby, he will catch us. If I run to the next house to get help, I'll be leaving the baby alone with the burglar. I wake up in despair focusing on this difficult choice. I feel in my mind that I probably wouldn't leave the baby and we would get killed together.
There is a weird family reunion outdoors. I am in a small hot tub with my baby. We are naked. The rest of my family is in another bigger pool. As I get out of the hot tub, three men arrive on bikes. They are very threatening and I feel very vulnerable, because I am naked holding my baby. I try to call my family but they don't hear me. Eventually my father comes over. He doesn't seem to realize these men are threatening my life and the life of my baby. Instead of protecting me, he starts chatting with them. It is very upsetting to me that my father cannot see how dangerous the situation is for a naked woman with a baby. Eventually, the men go away. They lose interest in me and my child. Apparently my father did help out, but not in the way I
In both dreams, there are several elements commonly found in the dreams of pregnant women. First, there is a feeling of vulnerability, which is a standard emotion women feel in early pregnancy. Second, there is a recurring theme of nakedness. In both dreams, the woman is without clothing; she is bare and accessible to the threatening strangers. And third, the woman feels the need to protect her child. This instinct also becomes apparent in the early stages of pregnancy. The fact that the dreamer feels protective is a sign that her defense systems are in working order. She is being prepared for the arduous task of motherhood.
All of these above characteristics usually appear in the first trimester. What makes these dreams noteworthy is the context and setting in which they appear and, of course, the characters present. In both dreams there is a deadly, threatening intrusion. In the first dream, the woman is in her childhood home with a flimsy glass door between her and the outside world. Her only choice is no choice. Staying with her baby in her childhood home means death for both of them. In the second dream, the woman's family is nearby, but they do not respond. When her father finally comes to her aid, he misunderstands the situation. He doesn't take care of her and the child but chats with the potential killers instead.
By examining these dreams, it became excruciatingly clear to the woman that as a child she never felt supported by her family. Just as in the dreams, she felt completely vulnerable, exposed, with no one to help her. The feeling of desolation and alarm present in the dreams woke her up to the reality of her own childhood, forcing her to face the feelings she still carried inside her while pregnant. Driven by the desire to do what was best for her child and for herself, she chose to examine her past consciously in therapy.
This journey was for her a very different experience from that she had during her first pregnancy. The first time around she was a career woman who had never been interested in babies, and although she was excited, becoming a mother was something she knew very little about. She was mostly involved in the physical process, the changes in her body, cravings, and the like. How ever, when she became pregnant the second time, she knew on a deeper level what was involved in becoming a mother. She had already gone through the process of giving birth. She knew what it felt like to have a soul connection with another being. She was now prepared to deal with the psychic baggage that had been revealed to her through her pregnancy dreams. The more she uncovered in therapy, the clearer the connection to her unborn child became.
Dayna's dreams during her first trimester were also peppered with dreams from the past.
I am in a big old ocean liner. It's kind of rundown. Rustic but comfortable. I am with my family. There is a great celebration going on ... a wedding. It lasts at least two days because I remember eating breakfast while the sun was coming up on the horizon. Somehow the sunrise lets me know that however fun and comfortable this tripis, it's time for me to go. I decide to escape. I'm not the only one; some strangers are also getting into the lifeboats. They are crowded. The only way for me to get into a lifeboat is to jump into the ocean itself and swim to a boat that has room for me. I make it to a lifeboat and there are only strangers on it, but I feel calm, confident that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, even if it doesn't seem to make sense that I'm leaving the comfort of my old family on the ship. The whole atmosphere of the dream is fairy-tale-like and the colors are very vivid. All the strangers seem to be people my age. I wake up thinking that I'm pregnant, I'm really pregnant!
After we looked at the dream together it became clear that Dayna was moving away from her familiar life, symbolized by the old rustic ocean liner. In doing this, she had to release the safety of her family in order to step into her new existence. Although there was a wedding going on (which is a great metaphor for the creation of a baby), something changed for her with the sunrise. She had suddenly become conscious that she was taking in the food of a new life. At that crucial moment of her "breaking the fast," eating breakfast, she decided to get off the old boat. She was literally getting into a whole new life by getting into a "lifeboat" without her family. In the dream, before getting into the lifeboat, she had to jump straight into the deep, unbounded ocean. This is the way the dream deals with what is happening in her body, a transformation as powerful and limitless as the ocean itself.
Some dreams of the past are not meant as a letting go but more as a nourishing memory that provides comfort for the soul of the pregnant woman. Such was the case for Gail. She had a dream of her childhood home where she lived with her now-deceased mother until she was fourteen years old. In the dream she felt the same warmth and love from her mother as she did when she was alive. In this case, the dream was experienced not as a letting go, but as a confirmation that her mother was part of the new life growing inside of her. She was not saying good-bye to a part of her childhood but rather integrating a facet of motherly love she thought she had lost forever. She realized from her dream that even though her mother was dead, she was still her baby's grandmother, and a connection could be maintained over time and space. The recurring presence of her mother in her pregnancy dreams helped Gail feel calm and confident even though it was her first baby. She never felt the level of anxiety about the birth process common among women giving birth for the first time. She was guided by the memory of her mother.
Some dreams of the past very clearly express to a mother~to be that it is time to let go of old things and get ready for the wave of change that is sweeping in new life. Such was the case for Hope. In her dream, the past was literally embodied by certain articles she had possessed in San Francisco before she met her husband. As you will see, the specific items chosen by the unconscious are not devoid of humor:
I was on the beach in Malibu ... not a place I go very often. There is a beach party going on. My ex-boyfriend is there but we are unable to connect. Strange things are coming in on the surf. A bookcase from Frisco, a pink hippie scarf also from Frisco, and finally a pair of underpants I recognize immediately ... also from that period of my life. I try to collect my belongings, but the waves are not letting me do this. Suddenly I know that it is time to let that stuff go. I had some resistance because it was such personal stuff, but it is very clear that the ocean is allowing me to have a last look and that's it.
Upon looking at the dream more closely it became evident that Hope's unconscious had orchestrated the dream masterfully. First off, it was impossible for her to connect with her ex lover, a definite sign that it was time for her to move on. Then there were the items that washed up on the shore. The bookcase stood for a time in Hope's past when she was exploring new ways of thinking and living; at this point in her life she was going to school and enjoying a greater sense of freedom than she ever had before. The pink hippie scarf was like a gauzy memory of life unencumbered by adult responsibilities, such as marriage and children. It infused her with a sense of youthful beauty; Hope felt pretty wearing it. The underpants that came in on the waves were an intimate reminder of the sexual freedom and experimentation she went through at that time. So you see, the message of the dream is concrete and direct. It leaves no room for doubt. It shows clearly that a new phase of life is about to begin. It is time to say good-bye to the past. It can be looked at and mourned, but don't hang onto it.
Excerpted from The Mother-to-Be's Dream Book by Raina M. Paris Copyright © 2000 by Raina Paris. Excerpted by permission.
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