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When I was pregnant with my boys, I’d dream about leaving them somewhere random: in the cart at the store, buckled into the car seat, and, in a particularly bizarre twist, at the gym in the locker room. (Now that my boys are older, I’m happy to report that I never left either of them anywhere!) Of course, I’m not alone; many moms that I’ve talked to say they’ve had equally strange dreams while expecting. But, dreams about leaving your baby somewhere or dying (another common pregnancy dream) aren’t a foreshadowing of your parenting abilities or impending doom. Rather, they’re a manifestation of the anxieties you’re feeling about impending parenthood. “Pregnancy is a scary, thrilling, and emotional time and our dreams reflect all the thoughts and fears we go through and may not always express,” explains Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, a dream analyst and author of three books on dreaming, including Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life. “They also help us to prepare as we slowly move into the mom mind-set.” Read on for Loewenberg’s explanation of six of the most common pregnancy dreams.
1. The dream: Giving birth to a litter
What it means: This dream is particularly common among first-time moms. “The litter represents the multiple concerns we have with a first-time pregnancy,” says Loewenberg. “It’s overwhelming and there are so many unknowns.” In addition, the first birth many of us have ever witnessed was our own cat or dog giving birth…to a litter.
2. The dream: Having a see-through belly
What it means: That dream is caused by impatience to actually see the baby. At this point you may know the gender and have picked out a name. You may even feel the baby moving inside you, so may be discussing if he has your curly hair or your hubby’s big, blue eyes. So as your waking imagination goes wild, your dreams follow, says Loewenberg.
3. The dream: Having graphic sex
What it means: “Sex dreams become pretty persistent in the second trimester ,” says Loewenberg. Morning sickness is usually a thing of the past at this point, and you’re embracing your new curvy body.
4. The dream: Forgetting or losing the baby
What it means: This anxiety dream is common for many moms, she says. It’s the reality settling in that, holy moly, you have to be totally responsible for another human being soon — and forgetting the baby (or losing her) is a natural and common fear!
5. The dream: Feeling angry and/or fighting
What it means: These dreams tend to occur in the last trimester, when the angst you’re experiencing both physically and mentally, from your aching back to spats with your spouse, manifests itself in your dreams. “We tend to get angrier about things that normally wouldn’t bother us or that we could blow off easily were we not an emotional uncomfortable mess,” says Loewenberg. “These dreams let us blow off steam and safely express our anger in our heads at night.”
6. The dream: Dying
What it means: While many women worry when they dream of death, Lowenberg stresses that death dreams are really about change: Letting go of the past so that you can embrace what is to come. “Dreaming of our own death is the way our subconscious mind helps us to let go of our old self so we can more readily embrace our new life as mom,” she says. “Dreaming of other’s deaths is also symbolic of changes and endings happening with yourself and with the person you may be dreaming about.” Relationships change, habits change, old routines die off… it’s a whirlwind. But no matter when in your life you have a death dream, realizing that the dream is really about change makes it less terrifying and more understandable.