Having weird dreams during pregnancy is nothing new. Almost every mom I've spoken to has had vivid dreams in some form or fashion. Speaking for myself, I had extremely strange dreams with a fair amount of regularity. I'd wake and examine them like some sort of bacteria under a microscope. Most were benign, silly things that made no sense in the light of day, but there were a few nightmares, and I'm not alone in that. There are whole message boards and reddit threads dedicated to the worst ones, like pregnancy dreams about a spouse cheating. What's the deal with those emotional nightmares? Is it a reflection of our own desires, or perhaps our own perceived inadequacies?
Vivid nightmares, lucid dreaming, and sleep disruptions are a common complaint of pregnancy according to the Journal of The American Board of Family Medicine. Researchers hypothesize that the influx of hormones into your system, combined with the alteration in sleep patterns due to both hormones and the general discomfort of pregnancy, add up to a perfect environment for peculiar nocturnal imagery. It's like this — your hormones are messing with your mind at rest similarly to how they do when you're awake. However, because you're well in your subconscious, it's conjuring notions out of the ephemera in your mind. Then, you wake mid-cycle, so you are able to remember them with clarity because you never finished the REM stage wherein you'd normally dim the edges of the dream. In the case of dreams about infidelity, they're especially sticky because of the emotionality attached to them, and they're so common because it's a natural fear to experience.
I spoke with dream expert and past-life regression facilitator Alice Sottochero of Staten Island, New York to find out why pregnant women dream that their partners are cheating. She tells Romper, "Dreams that put our partners in a negative light are usually more of a projection of our own self image than they are anything about our partners. I dreamed all the time that my wife was cheating on me with a man when I was pregnant with our son, and that was because of my own insecurity about my body and the changes in it."
She says that it's easy to get bogged down by the weight of your own fears and desires when you're heavy with child. It can really mess with you, so it stands to reason that your subconscious would have a field day with these tender emotions. Sottochero says, "You don't dream about showing up to class naked because you're a nudist, you dream about that because you're feeling unprepared for something. It's the same trick with this dream. You don't dream about your partner cheating because they're doing that, you're dreaming about them cheating because you aren't seeing yourself as sexually worthy and attractive, even if your partner thinks you're a Sapphic goddess."
Basically, you're amazing, but you're having trouble understanding your own level of beauty and sexy pregnant woman magic right at this moment because you can't see your toes and you might have a hemorrhoid. It's because you're feeling vulnerable that you're projecting that vulnerability on the person who's supposed to be the most loyal to you during this time. It's natural. "You really shouldn't worry about it unless you're creeping in on their mentions and that's the real reason you're obsessing," Sottochero says. In which case, you probably know why you're having those particular nightmares, but that's rarely going to be the case.
You're a gorgeous Madonna-esque depiction of all that is magically and powerfully woman, but that doesn't mean that your self esteem got the memo. This means that your brain is going to play tricks on you at night. It sucks, no doubt, but the best defense is a good offense. Try doing something to make yourself feel sexier, to embody that feminine ideal not just in your outward self, but also your inner self. Hopefully you can go back to dreaming about losing all your teeth or showing up at the gym in your birthday suit.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.