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ing and even might take on a calming, soothing effect. One mother, for example, remembers having a number of loving dreams about cradling and sing-ing songs to her newborn infant. Those sorts of dreams typically symbolize not only the birth of a child but also the birth of a mother.
Sex dreams Sex is yet another common theme in pregnant women’s dreams — and not just any sex, but good sex. One friend confided that she was so sexually satisfied by her pregnancy dreams that she had no interest in the real thing, much to her husband’s dismay.
My most memorable sex dream involved a passionate liaison with the Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Deion Sanders. In real life, I can’t stand football, but that didn’t stop me from scoring with Neon Deion in the dream. Former boyfriends also had starring roles in many of my sex dreams; thankfully, though, my husband usually was the leading man. The dreams were so realistic that I often awoke with the urge to ask him, “Was it good for you, too?”
Pregnancy is a sensual experience: Breasts are enlarged, increased blood volume makes the genitalia more sensitive, and heightened hormone levels sometimes increase sex drive. Peterson suggests that this arousal often extends to your dream life, especially if you are in tune with your body. “These dreams are saying something wonderful about your body as an instrument of nature,” she says.
Family dreams A friend and I both had recurring pregnancy dreams involving our fathers, men whose parenting skills we have questioned. In mine, I had screaming matches with my dad that still reverberated in my psyche during waking hours. It seemed that the old anger I felt toward him had resurfaced as I prepared to start my own family, which I hoped would be free from the problems I had grown up with.
“Family dreams point to exactly what we need to focus on psychologically and emotionally,” Peterson says. “Working through those issues is powerful and beneficial not only to childbirth but [also] to the postpartum period.”
Animal dreams Through animal dreams, our minds explore our animal instincts for caregiving, Peterson says. For first-time moms, caring for baby animals is perhaps the closest we have come to nurturing vulnerable infants, so our subconscious mind finds fuzzy baby substitutes.
In one of my animal dreams, I gave birth to a Yorkshire terrier puppy and walked around the house cradling my “infant.” In another, I dreamed that I went to adopt a baby, only to discover a wobbly newborn foal. Her birth mother — a mare — stood by nervously as I took the adopted baby home. I grew up with dogs and horses, so it’s not surprising that these animals played the baby’s role in my pregnancy dreams.