Dreams of the past
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.
Dreams of childhood
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 dozen schoolgirls, approximately 13 years old. My husband and I are with Laura and her friend. Laura is younger than me, about 26 or 27. 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 13 year old and the 26 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.
Some dream examples
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.
Second dream: 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 wanted him to.
What they mean
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.