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Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

By Charlene O'Hanlon

Being pregnant holds many new experiences, from "pregnancy brain" to feeling baby's kick. And while I enjoyed almost everything about those new experiences, the thing I enjoyed the most-even looked forward to-was dreaming.

I don't know if it was the surge or hormones or just my body's way of adapting to the changes that were happening, but I had some of the most fantastic, vivid dreams during my pregnancy. I've always enjoyed dreaming and have many times tried to interpret my dreams, so having them be so real, so "experiential," was an extra treat.

What did I dream? For the most part, my dreams started out very pedestrian: my family sitting around the dining room table; me sitting under a tree; my husband and I driving in our car. But then the dining room table lifted off the ground (which I interpreted as us "going places"), or the branches of the tree I was sitting under encircled me in a caring embrace (which I interpreted as being loved), or our drive ended up in my home town about 2,500 miles from where we live (which I interpreted as the importance of family and familiar environments).

The plot of the dreams weren't what made them so vivid, however. My senses, which were heightened by the pregnancy, turned each dream into a 4D experience. When I was sitting at the dining room table I could smell the spring air with a hint of honeysuckle coming through the window. When I was embraced by the tree I could feel the leaves brushing back and forth against my face and the texture of the bark on my hands. When we were in my hometown I could smell the wonderful aroma of homemade tortillas and sopapillas wafting through the air and hear the sounds of a mariachi band off in the distance.

I came to enjoy my dream experiences so much that I was disappointed when I no longer had that increased awareness in my dreams after our baby was born (not that I was sleeping much anyway). Soon enough, I was back to dreaming about work, the kids being late for school and other mundane subjects.

Everyone has something unique to their pregnancy that makes it a special time. For me, it was dreaming my big adventures. Which inevitably brought me right back to where I belong.

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