In the first part of the interview of sleep psychologist Prof. Dr. Günther W. Amann-Jennson with the journal „Leben & Erziehen” (Living and Educating) we’ve heard why pregnant women are dreaming. In this article we talk about the dreaming contents, part three finishes with the functions of dreams.
Do expecting or new mothers have a special kind of dreams?
All dreams are a huge, exciting but also enigmatic topic. The dream life of pregnant women is developing in a unique way. Because, during pregnancy, dreams often are alarming and vivid, especially during the last three months. That’s basically totally normal. Especially, when you think about the changes the birth of a child entails in the life of an expecting mum. Maybe, these dreams make it easier for our subconscious to deal with uncertainty and fear concerning pregnancy, forthcoming birth and motherhood.
Now, what are pregnant women dreaming? Since the life and values of every human being differ individually, there are of course unlimited opportunities. Most dreams simply reflect the sorrow of unknown possible changes in the personal life and of the appearance after birth. Or mothers dream about their babies – for example, what they might look like.
It’s also very interesting, that especially pregnant women remember their dreams quite well. Possibly, because the constantly growing belly is disturbing their sleep. Furthermore, they often wake up directly before the end of a dream-phase. And, progesterone – a pregnancy hormone – cares for more dreams. Digestion problems or pain might also trigger confusing dreams.
What about anxiety related dreams?
Often, expecting mothers report about recurring nightmares where they for example forget their child someplace or dream about failing simple tasks like not being able to their child. This of course is scary – and might be explained with the fear and sorrow of not being able to cope with the oncoming tasks.
Dreams of constantly running away, falling from great heights or being trapped in narrow rooms might reflect these anxieties. Here, the subconscious might deal with the inner fear that the accustomed freedom is limited resp. might be totally lost.
Bad dreams can be very burdensome and an additional sleep disturber. But, they only reveal the level of mental and spiritual strain of the yet unknown situation. Expecting mothers can rest assured: in the rarest of cases, nightmares like these are a bad omen for the future. Optimism and a positive attitude are still important pillars for mental stability.
Can you further categorize possible “anxiety” dreams?
Basically, it is interesting that the contents of dreams change with the months of pregnancy. Examinations reveal, that in the same month of pregnancy expecting mothers often have the same dreams. It seems for example, that during the first three months, constant reminders of being pregnant occur. But, there also are some bizarre dreams like dreaming about giving birth to a fully grown child – sometimes even dressed – which is able to walk and play directly after birth. Possible interpretation: the woman looks forward to the time with her child but maybe has limited knowledge of birth and baby care. That’s why the baby is quite independent right after birth. Or, from the fourth month of pregnancy on the baby and hence the belly are constantly growing – sometimes fears concerning the physical stability arise. Dreams including large vehicles, buildings and constructions might appear. These large vehicles, buildings and constructions symbolize the growing female body.
So, there are more or less obvious connections of the dreaming contents with the reality as well as the forthcoming role as a mother, guardian and close confidant.
Are there nice and positive dreams as well?
Yes, of course. From the depth psychologically point of view it seems, that the more an expecting mother identifies herself with her new role, experiences a lot of joy, has positive expectations and is in physically and mentally good shape the more often positive dreams occur. Meaning, in the dream world, too, everything is “ok”; the mother plays with her baby, she is feeding and taking care of it.
Most of the time, these dreams are encoded and the meaning not easily detected. Often, pregnant women dream “positively-neutral” and dream about construction sites or factories where huge things are produced. Construction sites and factories resemble the pregnant woman herself, the “huge things” are a metaphor for her baby. Here, the pregnant woman develops a feeling for her growing fetus. After a night with such pleasant dreams, a positive, harmonious feeling stays – often the whole day long.