In my dreams I give birth and miss it. Baby in my arms, I wonder how I could possibly have missed/forgotten the entire labor. I would call it wishful thinking, but I’m not sure that’s it. I’m really excited about the birth. Excited to finally know what a real contraction feels like; to be in our Wagen (fingers crossed) going through labor with the Beard, Frau Doktor, and the most badass midwife of all time to help; to finally meet Peanut. It’s going to hurt, it’s going to be intense, and maybe everything will go wrong and I’ll end up being shipped to the hospital in a mad panic—yet, I’m still looking forward to it. I’m sure a number of you are already mentally banishing me to the looney bin as you read this, but I’ve always loved diving into the kind of intense experiences that change you, that make you feel like a superhero for having managed. Even if those experiences aren’t always pleasant at the time.
The dream appears to be a common one among the pregnant. My guess is that our brains, pre-first-child, simply can’t fathom what labor and birth will be like. Or maybe they are protecting us, making sure we don’t get too scared and assuring us that once it’s over we’ll barely remember anything about the pain at all. Because we’ll be totally in love with the little wrinkley bundle we’ve created and released. And we all know that falling in love is one of the best ways to inspire amnesia, to dim all the background noise that would otherwise be distracting us with everyday pettiness.
My anxiety dreams have remained singular—there has only been one. Once again, Peanut arrives, and once again, I miss the birth. But laying on a couch with Peanut I suddenly remember that I haven’t pre-washed the cloth diapers yet, the diapers whose instructions say to pre-wash three to six times before use. Nothing else happens and the panic isn’t as bad as that of the nightmare that follows (make the room I’m sleeping in too hot and I’ll always have a nightmare), but upon waking I finally sorted the diapers out of the meter-high pile of baby stuff on the bed in my Wagen and put them in the machine. Now all the fodder for the anxiety that remains is the folding changing table/shelf combination that I still haven’t built in the red Wagen. Anybody want to drive me to the building supply store?
I’m curious: All of you who have been pregnant, what sort of dreams did you have during your nine months? And to the never-been-pregnant (including the dudes) have you ever dreamt that you were? What do you think the missed-birth dreams mean?