Ask Kait: Why am I Dreaming About an Ex?
dreaming about an ex

Why am I dreaming about an ex?

Anonymous asks:

I’m pregnant and constantly dreaming about an ex. Is this a thing?

Anonymous—

It turns out that pregnancy dreams—including dreaming about an ex—are a thing! Questions about them litter pregnancy forums. Google auto filled “while pregnant” when I began to type the query.

So yeah—it’s a very common thing.

The question is why? And what the heck does it mean? To answer that, let’s first take a look at why we dream and then explore why dreaming about an ex is so common during pregnancy.

Dreaming helps us incorporate memories, solve problems, and deal with emotions

To be honest, scientists still aren’t totally sure why we dream. Some believe it’s the fun by-product of all the brain activity that happens while you sleep, like consolidating learning and memories, reenergizing the body’s cells, and clearing waste from the brain.  Others argue that dreaming helps us process emotions and experiences, by integrating new experiences into old memories. This can “reduce emotional arousal and is adaptive in helping us cope with further trauma or stressful events.”

Pregnancy dreams are known for being intense

Scientists aren’t totally clear why. Here are three potential reasons, that likely work together:

Hormones

Fluctuating levels of progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG, also known as “the pregnancy hormone”) can impact how your brain receives, processes, and stores information. Think: pregnancy brain, except in your sleep.

Changes in sleep patterns

Lighter sleep and waking up more in the middle of the night—in the middle of your sleep cycle—mean dreams are fresh in your mind and you remember them more vividly.  

Having a ton on your mind

Pregnancy is a huge time of transition. You’re likely feeling a whole boatload of things, from excitement to dread. Dreams are one way our subconscious navigates big feelings.

Pregnancy dreams can cause ex lovers to resurface

It makes sense that ex lovers might pop up as a manifestation of these feelings, as well as the abundant reflections you’re likely doing as you await your new child.

Dreaming about an ex can be a look at your past, a la, “what would my life be like if I had stayed with/had kids with…?” It could also mean you’re craving what that ex represents, whether it’s passion, companionship, butterflies, or something else. It could be the manifestation of your fears around parenthood, and a longing for a simpler, easier past.

And it could just be those second trimester “horny hormones” getting—and keeping— you in the mood! (Read more: Dreaming for Two.)

Dreaming about an ex doesn’t mean you want them

If you want to explore this more, keep a dream journal next to your bed (not on your phone). Jot down your dreams and any feelings that arose from them. Use that information to take action. Maybe that’s having a Big Scary Talk with your beau or taking a babymoon or setting and upholding boundaries around the birth process.

It’s totally normal and common to have vivid dreams during pregnancy

Even about an ex. Don’t take them too literally, but instead use them as insights into your emotions and desires around parenthood.

Dreams are one way our brains make sense of the world. They can give insight into your emotions and fears. These are great things to share with whoever is supporting you through the pregnancy.

Kait xo

Featured image by Darius Bashar
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