I’ve always been interested in the birth dreams that women have. During my first pregnancy, I only had a couple of birth/baby dreams and they were very odd/unrealistic (because I didn’t know physically what giving birth was actually like). I did have one very vivid and scary miscarriage dream. Between that birth and my pregnancy with my second son, I had TONS of birth dreams. A common theme was that I gave birth to a baby boy and would say to my husband “now we have three sons!” (even though we only had one son at the time and I wasn’t even pregnant). I also dreamed I had twins, dreamed I had a very premature baby at about 20 weeks who then died, and several others. These dreams were very vivid and real-seeming and have stuck with me as meaningful for a long time.
Then, during my second pregnancy, I had seven dreams in which I gave birth to a boy and thus I was convinced I was having a boy (I did). Some of these dreams were exceedingly realistic, down to length of labor and time of birth. Seven of them revealed/confirmed that he was a boy (in the only girl dream I had during that pregnancy, my husband was the one giving birth to the baby, so both genders were “switched”). One of them was extremely vivid and was that he was born on a specific date and time. I was in the living room on my hands and knees. The birth took four hours and when he was born I said, “I KNEW he was a boy, I KNEW it would be a fast labor, and I KNEW he would be born on a weekend.” As it was, he was not born on that day (two weeks later) and he was born at a different time (within a few hours of the dream time). He was a boy and it was a fast labor (two hours, not four). He was born at 2:45 a.m. on Memorial Day morning, so it was actually a Monday, but it WAS a holiday weekend. He was born in the living room by the green chair on my hands and knees, just like in the dream.
During my third pregnancy, I didn’t really have any birth dreams, and then had one vivid miscarriage dream the night we found out the baby had died. I did have one ultrasound dream in which he was a girl (he wasn’t). After he was born, I had a vivid placenta dream and then I only have had one other dream about him since he was born—I halfway expected to have several birth dreams or “still pregnant” dreams as a way to kind of “psychically” close out his pregnancy, but I didn’t (which in a way was comforting—like my subconscious has “processed” the loss completely). That single dream I did have post-loss was kind of a miscarriage re-do dream in which the birth proceeded exactly as it really had, but instead of all the blood following the baby, I was able to spend a LONG time looking at him and making hand and footprints.
As I mentioned, one of my vivid birth dreams after my first pregnancy, but before any others, was about giving birth to a premature baby (one of the aforementioned “third sons”) and trying to nurse him at least once before he died as well as remembering to smell his head so I would never forget his own unique baby smell. In that dream, I named the baby Noah, which is what in fact we did name our third son when he died early in my second trimester.
After my second baby was born, but before I was pregnant with my third, I had many, many vivid birth dreams about a specific birth position to give birth (half kneel/half squat) in to avoid tearing as well as the idea of making a “birth nest” for myself to have the baby in, rather than having it in the living room and then having to get up to go lie down somewhere else. I feel like the position dream is a strong message from my subconscious about how I should plan to give birth—something I’ve been working over in my unconscious or something and I’m giving myself a “tip.” As it turned out, that baby was born much earlier than expected and I ended up giving birth standing. I did, in fact, make myself a “birth nest” as my dreams had suggested and would do the same again.
During my fourth pregnancy I had two brief miscarriage dreams and since the pregnancy ended quickly, there was no time really to have any other dreams. However, the whole reason I knew I was pregnant in the first place was because I dreamed that I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. When I woke up from that dream, I took one and it was positive. During my fifth pregnancy (so far), I’ve had quite a few “bleeding” dreams and one miscarriage dream.
Then, this week, I had the first birth dream that I’ve had in AGES!
I was in a birth pool in our the living room and the baby was born in the water. The focus of the dream was on the placenta really, not the baby—though I think it was a boy. Placenta was perfectly heart shaped (and small) and had strange “bands” of tissue on it, which I decided meant it was a “circumvallate placenta” (a term I had just heard referenced for the first time the day before in a blog post). The experience of pushing the placenta out was VIVID. It is weird how the body remembers the feeling so clearly and can reproduce it in a dream, when my brain cannot conjure up a daytime memory of how exactly it feels to have the placenta bloop out—and then there was quite a bit of blood with the placenta that diffused/clouded through the water, just like it really would. It was very clear.
So, do birth dreams predict anything? Basically, I feel like my dreams, while not exactly “predictive,” do have some signs/intuitive information within them. I also think dreams often have symbolic (rather than literal) meaning. And, obviously some dreams are simply related to day-to-day happenings (or fears, like with the bleeding dreams) and do not have “deep” meaning at all. With that second baby, I really felt strongly that he was “telling” me he was a boy. My first child was a boy and I felt like the second baby wanted me to never even entertain the notion of “wanting a girl.” I knew I was having a boy and so THAT was the baby I wanted 🙂
When I say vivid, I mean really vivid—the feeling of pushing the baby out is JUST what it really feels like, the sensation of holding the new, slippery baby, etc. I think it is a “body memory” thing and the whole feeling of giving birth comes back vividly during dreams in a way that it doesn’t in just plain memory. While, the memories of my actual sons’ births ARE extremely vivid and I DO feel like I remember what it feels like to birth (I know some people say “you forget how it feels, that is why you can do it again,” but I do not feel like that is true for me), that visceral body-feeling isn’t really there in memory (for me), the way it is in dreams.
Another logical reason for all my birth dreams is that I’m a childbirth educator and writer and read/write about birth constantly. Makes sense that that is what I dream about! 😉
You know, it’s really funny–this post made me realize that (although I had a handful of pregnancy/lactation/bleeding dreams while I was trying to get pregnant and during my pregnancy) I’ve actually never had a dream about birthing. Or, rather, I’ve never remembered one. I don’t think I’ve had any dreams even vaguely related to pregnancy since I gave birth, either. Given how important these experiences and issues are to me, and how much I read/write/talk/think about them, that seems rather strange. On the other hand, A) I’ve only experienced one pregnancy and one birth so far, and B) these aren’t stressful things in my life right now, and I do seem to ‘use’ dreaming to process anxiety quite a lot (although I wish I could tell my brain to focus a bit more on the pleasant wish-fulfillment stuff sometimes!). But still … interesting.
That IS interesting, Molly, especially because you (like me) are so immersed in that world. I’ve appreciated the “messages” from prior dreams about birth positions, etc. I think it is cool 🙂 I also find myself strangely attached to my “dream babies”–I so clearly remember giving birth to them! (so clearly, that it is surprising to wake up and not have the baby there with me!) I enjoy my birthing dreams (for the most part).
i have only had one dream about giving birth, and all i can remember is that i was in the hospital had just delivered him, and my son was in the doctors hands, making him cry for the first time and thats all i could see was him in the doctors hand. i couldnt see who was on either side of me and then i had woken up. although i do have dreams of him one or two years old and how he resembles me. but in the dreams his father isnt around, he’s around my mom alot. its really hard to explain, bcuz me and my current boyfriend have been trying to get pregnant. my sister even had the same dream about me giving birth to my son the same night.and i havent taken a test yet, my periods only a day late but i feel like theres a pretty high chance that i am pregnant.