Nightmares In Pregnancy

Precious Cargo

It seems that one thing or another is always causing wakeful nights for pregnant women, for instance, leg cramps, heart burn, and nightmares. It just doesn't seem fair. Once the baby is born, it's unlikely you'll be getting much uninterrupted sleep, so sleep seems all the more dear while your precious cargo is still onboard.

Most pregnant women are plagued by vivid nightmares at some point in their pregnancies and while the dreams are disturbing and even frightening, they really are just dreams. Perhaps the important thing to know about the dreams is that these are not premonitions of doom and gloom, but rather a way of preparing you for the new situation you are about to assume, that of being a mother.

Author Alan Siegel, who wrote a book about dream interpretation called Dream Wisdom: Uncovering Life's Answers in Your Dreams, says that dreams should be interpreted by the symbols that are found within them. For instance, many pregnant women dream of car accidents. Accidents symbolize the loss of ultimate control. Women often feel a loss of emotional control during their pregnancies, due to shifting hormones. Dreaming of car accidents is like a comment on the frustration caused by this loss of control.

Abandonment Scenarios

Other women dream they have left a baby unattended at home, or that they forgot they have a child. Siegel says that such dreams are not at all about abandonment. Women wake up from such dreams thinking they are terrible mothers. But Siegel says the opposite is true, "It's preparing you by rehearsing worst-case scenarios."

Siegel believes that these nightmares teach mothers how to parent. Even though the dreams are less than pleasant, Siegel would like women to think of the dreams as vaccinations rather than as poisonous. When you deliver your child, you will be responsible for another person 24/7. "This might seem like a painful way to learn, but it's the way the mind is developed."

Siegel admits that the hormonal changes of pregnancy do lend richness to a woman's dreams, but insists that these dreams are more about preparing for a major event in her life. In fact, people undergoing major life events such as the loss of a loved one, a divorce, or getting married, are likely to have more vivid dreams. Researchers have noticed certain dream patterns which are linked to these specific life events.

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