Conversation in the car with my second-born (we’ll call her Monk… abbreviated from “Crazy Monkey”) after dropping-off my first-grader at school:
Monk: Mom! I had a really good dream last night!
Me: Oh really? What did you dream?
Monk: I dreamed that you were standing, and the baby in your tummy came out, and you caught it!
Me: Really?! I was standing, and I caught it?! Were you watching?
Me: Where was daddy?
Monk: I think he was doing the dishes…
Me: The dishes?! Were we in the kitchen?
Monk: Daddy was. The rest of us were on the carpet in the family room.
Me: Oh… was the baby a boy or a girl?
Monk: A girl! Oh wait… I don’t know… no… it was a girl!
Ha. I love that little munchkin. She is such a sensitive, spiritually in-tune, intuitive, empathetic, and affectionate child. So when she tells me about something she thinks, feels, or dreams, I definitely try to pay attention. I was thrilled to hear that I gave birth standing in her dream. Standing for delivery (or kneeling) is something I’ve been hoping I could do next time. I don’t necessarily believe that she “saw the future,” but it was certainly intriguing to me that she dreamed that I gave birth in the very position I’ve been hoping to… without even knowing what I was hoping for.
I’m not sure what to make of her gender prediction. I actually had several dreams (prior to becoming pregnant) about a girl baby (who grew into a very blonde little girl) joining our family. But our conversation this morning reminded me about something I read the other day in Annie Murphy Paul’s Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives. Apparently, a small study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that “women who rely on dreams and emotions to guess their babies’ sex have a surprisingly good chance of being correct.” Within their study group (45 well-educated pregnant women) were seventeen who had a “feeling” about the sex of their baby. Only four of those women were wrong. And, of the eight women who had dreamed about their baby’s gender, “every single one of them was on the money.” These findings were “contrary to expectations,” and the researchers acknowledged, “It is always possible that this was a spurious finding. It is equally likely that there is simply much about the maternal-fetal connection that we do not know” (p. 126). I’d wager it’s probably the latter.
I do pay attention to my dreams (and the dreams of others). Perhaps because dreams have been key bits of communication and insight over and over throughout my life. A bizarre symbol-filled dream gave me a glimpse of my own and a dear friend’s futures when I had become worried about her as a teenager. I have a vivid dream partially to thank for prompting me to pursue the reserved, unaggressive young man who became my husband nearly 10 years ago. Before that dream, I hadn’t really paid much attention to him, but how grateful I am that I got a nocturnal nudge in the right direction. Some frightening dreams have alerted me to intense emotions lingering under the surface of my consciousness, enabling me to work through them and move on. I have seen my deceased brother and his wife many times in dreams, and those have brought me joy and comfort. And there have been many dreams of my children, before they were born.
My husband and I “tried” for nine-ish months to conceive our first child. At some point during that time, I recall having a dream in which I woke up and found a baby girl lying at the foot of our bed, like an offering. I picked her up and held her in my arms, and I knew she was mine. When I did become pregnant, I saw her (and her younger sister, I believe) in my dreams repeatedly.
Later, when my oldest was approximately 15 months old, I had a vivid 30-second dream just after drifting off to sleep. In the dream I was chasing my daughter playfully, then I turned around, clearly aware that someone was running up behind me, with my arms outstretched to a little blonde toddler boy who was smiling and laughing as he ran toward me. My eyes flew open immediately, and I said to myself, with an audible gasp, “Who the heck was that?!” That little boy didn’t actually make his physical appearance until over five years later. At first I thought my second pregnancy would bring him to us, but my “Crazy Monkey” girl came instead.
Then, not long after discovering my third pregnancy (but before we had told our children), my oldest daughter said to me while riding in the car, “Mom! Where are we going to put my little brother’s car seat?!” I was stunned to silence for a moment, then asked, “Are you getting a little brother?” She replied, “Yes,” as though it was a totally self-evident response, then asked again, with even more intensity, “Where are we going to put his carseat?!” Later, an ultrasound confirmed that our fetus had a male appendage, and I knew that my little blonde boy was on his way to us. Even when he came out with a head full of very dark hair, I still knew it was him… as his ever-lightening hair attests.
So, while I do believe strongly that the dreams women receive about children joining their families are genuine and valid and important, I don’t feel that I can guarantee that the dreams I have received most recently about our little blonde daughter are an indication that she is the child currently within my womb. Sometimes those dreams come to us many years before a child’s physical arrival (as my boy-child dream did). There’s a chance that she appeared to me simply to make sure that I don’t stop having children if #4 is a boy… to make sure she’s ingrained in my consciousness so I won’t forget to bring her into our home down the road? A hypnotherapist friend of mine had me do a little exercise asking my subconscious mind the gender of my baby: boy. Then the ultrasound technician couldn’t verify one way or the other. And now my 5-year-old tells me it’s a girl. Looks like this baby is determined to be a surprise. It will certainly be interesting to find out who he/she is in three months. Three months!? Holy cow that’s soon.
Have you or other family members had dreams about your births or future children? I’d love to hear your stories!