When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had the most vivid dreams of my ex. I am happily married to the man of my dreams and the most amazing father to our little girl, but my subconscious didn’t care. Almost every night, my ex made a cameo in my dreams. Some nights it was boring and he was just there, making fries or whatever it was he did. Other nights, it was HOT, like wake up blushing hot. Like after many wild nights of REM sleep, I would often get up in the morning feeling immense guilt. I felt guilty, but let’s be honest, I didn’t hate it.
I am not alone in this. I have heard many women talk about dreams they had about their exes while pregnant. Sometimes it’s an ex they haven’t thought about in years. It’s just a common theme in the rotation of intense, sometimes graphic dreams that are brought on by pregnancy. Some nights it’s a baby or labor dream, and others it’s a scary, bizarre or sexual dream. Oxytocin (the hormone released with contractions or orgasm that gives us feelings of love, happiness and euphoria) can be released in your sleep, when the baby moves causing small contractions and can definitely play a role in those more romantic dreams. During pregnancy, women experience more REM (rapid eye movement) sleep than they are used to. This has them waking more often throughout the night and helps them, albeit begrudgingly sometimes, to remember their dreams. If you think about how many times a woman wakes up to go to the bathroom, roll over, adjust pillows or adjust the temperature in pregnancy, it only makes sense that a lot of those wake-ups would happen in the middle of a dream cycle.
According to researchers who study dreams and sleep, our dreams can often be our subconscious way of working through fears, anxieties and stress. With pregnancy never being short on anxieties or stress, dreams can take us back to a simpler time in our lives or be symbolic of our biggest fears that we need to process before the birth.
We aren’t in the business of dream analysis, but our doulas can help you to identify any fears you have about labor, birth or parenting. We all carry baggage into our birth, but your birth doula is there to help you process yours and fit it into a manageable carry-on for the big day. When the baby arrives, your postpartum doula will be there to help you unpack and get you settled in for restful sleep and hopefully uneventful dreams.
We are here for you, whether you need the baby to sleep or just need to talk about that ex.