Dreaming of being pregnant can be a jarring experience—either you don't want that and now you're freaked out, or you're trying to get pregnant and hoping your dream is a sign. There's still a lot of research to be done when it comes to dreams and why we have them, but medical experts and interpreters alike agree that the picturesque scenarios playing in our minds during the twilight hours is our mind's way of reflecting on what actually happening while we're awake. So before you get ahead of yourself, a dream does not reality make.
“Dreams are the result of processing your conscious and unconscious experiences of the last one to two days, comparing them to similar past experiences, and, sometimes, projecting forward to possible future scenarios," says dream analyst and author Jane Teresa Anderson. "The purpose of dreaming is to update your mindset based on your recent experiences.”
So while waking up from a pregnancy dream doesn't automatically mean you're about to become a parent, it can shed light on new beginnings—and the mix of joy and uncertainty that come with them. “If you’re already pregnant and dreaming about your pregnancy, you may be working through your fears and feelings about your actual pregnancy," says Anderson. It's completely normal to have baby on the brain 24/7. After all, you're getting ready for a beautiful new chapter of life and that requires a lot of preparation—physically and mentally. A dream about having a baby when you're already pregnant could represent the new lifestyle you're preparing to give birth to or even the new “you” that will emerge over the pregnancy term.
Having a pregnancy dream completely out of the blue—especially if you are far from ready to start or add to the family—might cause some post-night sweats. But Anderson reminds us that dreams aren't built to be premonitions for the future. It's far more likely what you're about to give birth to is a next phase in your life than a little one: “Look at the pregnancy as a symbol for something new you are ‘gestating’ in your life, something you are preparing to ‘birth’ into the world," says Anderson. "An example might be a project you are quietly working away on, or a new attitude you are beginning to develop, or even a new relationship that is in its early days of formation.”
We asked Anderson to break down different pregnancy dreams to get to the bottom of what it means when you're dreaming of being pregnant.
If you dream about a pregnancy test
Dreaming about a pregnancy test can leave you with way more questions than answers. Anderson suggests that you start off by asking yourself what else was going on in the dream. Did you find yourself suddenly looking down at the stick in your hand with no recollection of how it got there? Or were you returning home after a hopeful trip to CVS? More importantly, how did you feel about the result?
Anderson says that if you're in the middle of a creative project or side hobby that you haven't yet made public, your dream may be exploring your fears and feelings about this creation, while helping you better understand the conscious and unconscious pros and cons about it.
If you dream about morning sickness
“If you’ve been pregnant before in waking life, you may have experienced morning sickness, and your dream may introduce this as a symbol for whatever you were going through in your life in your previous pregnancy," says Anderson.
With the sporadic nausea and vomiting, morning sickness isn't exactly known for being comfortable. Anderson says that this discomfort being manifested in your dream might reflect the anxieties you're feeling about what you're working on. And if you find yourself trying to hide the morning sickness from others in your dream, it could reflect "this area of your life where you’re trying to hide a new development and are anxious that it will be discovered.”
If you dream about a certain stage of pregnancy
Dreams are full of little nuggets that are always worth exploring. If it's clear that what the stage of your pregnancy is in the dream, that can give you some insights into where you are mentally. “If you dream you’re in early pregnancy it may symbolize something you’re preparing that’s still in its very early days of development," says Anderson. "If you’re overdue, ask yourself what you’re overdue on delivering, or why you’re delaying putting in the hard labor over something."
If you dream about someone else getting pregnant
If you recently dreamt about someone close to you, like a friend or family member getting pregnant, that can feel totally random. Does that mean your psychic abilities finally surfaced and you now know about a secret passion they've been developing on the side? Not quite. Anderson says that unless you've picked up on tell-tale signs in real life, this dream is still all about you. “Other people in our dreams symbolize aspects of ourselves, so the tip is to work out what the person represents,” she says. “For example, if you think of the person as being very intuitive, then maybe there’s an aspect of yourself that is more intuitive than you realize, and you want to develop that."
Originally Appeared on Glamour