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You know those dreams you swear actually happened? With details so vivid, people so recognizable, and storylines so plausible, you feel like they must mean something, right?!
While, yeah, seemingly real dreams about falling, flying, or your teeth falling out are super common (and may hold their own ~hidden~ meanings), pregnancy dreams are a special kind of loaded visual—and, well, there’s definitely some stuff to unpack there. That’s why we’ve gathered here today.
Obviously, there are a ton of factors that could play into your out-of-the-blue (or not?) pregnancy dream, like your stress levels, age, relationship status, and any other major things going on in your life (like whether you’re trying for kids or trying to avoid them). Still, here are a few things to consider if you woke up after being knocked up in your dreams.
Dreaming that you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you’re actually pregnant.
The pregnancy dream is actually pretty common. As Lauri Loewenberg, a dream expert who has worked with stars like Hoda Kotb and Kellie Pickler, tells Cosmo, “If you’re not pregnant nor trying to get pregnant and you dream that you are, it means something new is in the works in your life.” In other words, dreaming that you’re going to have a baby often means you’re growing in general. “To the dreaming mind, it represents ‘a new life’ for you,” Loewenberg adds.
This could mean that a new part of your personality is making itself known or you might be in the mood to create something new—a new job, a new sense of confidence, or a sudden passion for painting. The bottom line is that you’re developing just as a baby would develop in le womb. Pretty straightforward when you think about it.
Why is the pregnancy dream so common?
“The reason certain dreams are so common is that they are caused by common issues or behaviors,” explains Loewenberg. And because starting a new project or relationship happens a lot, the dream does too. “The subconscious shows it to us in the form of a pregnancy so we will see it as something that is worthy of nurturing and focus,” Loewenberg says. “The subconscious is cool like that.”
What if you dream about a pregnancy test?
Dreaming that you’re taking a pregnancy test quite literally means you’re being tested, according to Loewenberg. “Most likely, your subconscious, through this dream, may be preparing you for a big responsibility you’re about to take on. It wants you to consider if this new venture, idea, responsibility, or goal will be a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ thing for you,” she says.
And dreaming that you’re giving birth means you’re about to start something. Basically, a dream about any phase of pregnancy means a new side of you or a new part of your life is on the way, and it’s up to you—in your waking life—to figure out what that newness could be.
What if you dream that your friend is pregnant?
A dream in which your friend is pregnant might mean you’re developing a new side of your personality that is similar to an aspect of theirs, especially if it’s a friend you don’t talk to very often, Loewenberg notes. Or dreaming a friend is pregnant could mean you feel something is unfinished either with them or just in general, as Ally Mead, a professional dream interpreter, told Huffington Post. If you have a random dream that your ex-bestie is with child, you might want to give them a call.
What if your pregnancy dream is sorta scary?
Should you be worried? “Many pregnancy dreams can be unpleasant,” explains Dr. Deirdre Barrett, author of The Committee of Sleep and Pandemic Dreams. “For young women who are sexually active but not desiring children yet, negative dreams about pregnancy are common.”
According to research from the early 2000s by Dr. Tore Nielsen at the University of Montreal, pregnancy nightmares are actually more prevalent than positive pregnancy dreams for women who just gave birth or are already pregnant. “These kinds of dreams may reflect normal concerns, anxieties about childbirth, or sleep problems like insomnia,” he says. “It’s possible that dreams support an emotion regulation function, especially during periods of rapid transition.” So if you’re having pregnancy nightmares, you might be working your way through a psychological process that makes you more emotionally prepared for childbirth. Which seems like a good thing, right?
What if you dream about having twins?
While dreaming about twins hasn’t been studied much, Nielsen suggests a few possible meanings. “This could be a fear of having twins or point to the fact that you’re concerned about your health more generally,” he says. “Specific dream themes like twins will have individual meanings depending on the life experience of the dreamer.” So if you’re a twin or there are twins in your family, this dream could be more common throughout your life. Even a fascination with twins could be the reason for dreaming about two buns in the oven.
Sometimes, it’s not about being pregnant. It’s about how you feel about being pregnant.
It goes without saying that most dreams aren’t literal. Just because you dream that your boyfriend cheated on you doesn’t actually mean he did. Instead, it probably means you’re feeling jealous or insecure about your relationship. The same goes for pregnancy dreams. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the dream entirely. “You should ask yourself what children mean to you,” Barrett suggests. “Your association with the dream holds the key to its meaning. Look for symbols in your response.”
If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, having a family of your own could produce anxiety. If you’re one of 10 kids, having a large family of your own might feel natural. If you skip your period, dreaming about being pregnant could make you feel like a failure. It all comes down to what you’ve got going on in your life—and tying your dreams to subconscious feelings about your waking life.
Okay, but what if I'm actually predicting the future?
Spoiler: You are psychic—but not in the way you may be thinking. "I firmly believe that all dreams have meaning, regardless of how frivolous or absurd they may seem upon waking. I also believe that dreams are a psychic experience and that everyone is psychic," says Mat Auryn, author of Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide to Meditation, Magick, and Meditation. "People often have misconceptions about what psychic ability is, believing that it’s solely about predicting the future. Psychic ability is something everyone possesses, and its primary methods of communicating are through emotions and our inner-image faculty."
He adds, "Some dreams are prophetic in nature, but most of the time it's our psychic faculty of our subconscious mind trying to communicate to us during a brainwave state where our conscious mind is muted to express to us stuff we aren’t fully consciously processing. When it comes to imagery, both psychic ability and dreams use our database of symbols that we are familiar with, and the more fresh it is in our mind, the more likely that symbol will be used."
In other words: Your pregnancy dreams *do* have a meaning, but that meaning isn't necessarily, "I'm literally going to get pregnant today."
So, what do pregnancy dreams symbolize?
Auryn suggests learning more about the symbolism of that baby bump. "Pregnancy is the process of creation of life which hasn’t been fully birthed or manifested yet. This isn’t necessarily a literal baby, but can relate to a hope or fear that we have but aren’t fully addressing or confronting," he says. Like Barrett and Nielsen, Auryn says to pay attention to how the pregnancy dream made you *feel* in the dream: Scared, excited, confused, happy?
Next, Auryn suggests examining the other symbols in the dream, like any people, animals, and objects that showed up. And keep in mind that they might not always be literal. "I always look for word play, double meanings, and turn of phrases when trying to interpret dreams or psychic information," Auryn says.
Try keeping a dream journal
If you're dreaming about pregnancy frequently, or if you're just curious about the potential meaning of your dreams, try writing them down when you wake up. "I always recommend writing down every detail and emotion you can remember of you dream, and then listing out every possible interpretation you can come up with in regards to what it symbolically means," Auryn says. You can keep a specific dream journal for this, or just jot them down in your Notes app on a piece of paper.
In an exercise he teaches in his book Psychic Witch, Auryn also suggests meditating and then "interviewing" the different characters and objects in the dream, asking them what they mean and paying attention to anything else that comes to mind—and of course, writing that all down, too!
Again, pregnancy dreams don’t necessarily mean the same thing for everyone.
Remember that dreams hold different meanings for different people based on their individual experiences. And, Nielsen says, stress, in particular, can exacerbate sleep problems and increase the incidence of both nightmares and dreams.
The main takeaway here is that you don’t have to wake up in a panic the next time you spend your sleeping hours with a baby bump, even if, yeah, it can be a bit jarring when you wake up. Sweet dreams!
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