The Meaning of Dreams

by Ashley on March 26, 2012

I had a dream that I had a dream that I had a baby last week.

Normally I don’t read much into the weird stuff that happens in my subconscious, but this one makes me wonder. Especially since dreams about having babies or being pregnant are a regular nightly activity for my sleeping brain.

It’s not only the baby topic either. I also am wondering about the Inception-like nature of the dream. (Pay attention, this part is going to be confusing.) When I “awoke” from the deeper-level dream into the regular dream, I realized that the birth was only a dream (within the dream that I didn’t realize I was having).

I think this dream was my guilty conscience haunting me.

Back in time

Cue eerie music, blurry vision and a slow fade into the past.

When we were first married, my husband and I were on the same page about having kids. That’s very important because I think that’s one of the things that’s a deal-breaker when considering your life partner. Either way you fall on the issue is fine, but not agreeing on a decision of this magnitude can cause lifelong resentment.

So, we both wanted kids almost nine years ago when we said “I do.” Somewhere along the line, I changed my mind. There was a single instance when I asked if he were ready, and he wasn’t, and that was well and good. One other time, I was … late. Late enough to take a pregnancy test.


 And I was disappointed. Really disappointed.

That was about six years ago, and since then, I grew old and crotchety and intolerant of children. Well, intolerant of some of the inevitables about children anyway.

Lately, I’ve started feeling really guilty about not wanting to have them anymore. Andrew and I have talked about the issue and though he’s hoping I’ll change my mind at some point, he’s not counting on it.

And he loves me anyway.

He doesn’t act resentful. He hasn’t threatened to leave. He said he promised to be with me, for better or for worse, and he’s not reneging on that promise.

One of the problems with his willingness to forgive my change of heart is that I feel guilty. If he were angry or threatening, I would be more stubborn and set on my decision. Not so when he remains as loving as he’s always been.

Life-changing choices

If you know me and you have children, I’ve probably asked you about your decision. Whether you enjoy parenthood. How difficult it is. Whether it was worth giving up your freedom.

Though everyone tells me motherhood amazing, I think it’s a scam. I think people just want everyone else to be as miserable as they are. (Calm down – I’m kidding. Mostly.)

Parents do admit it changes your life, and that’s what I’m afraid of. You already know that freedom is extremely important to me. I would never give it up lightly. Sure, I have pets that I adore as children, but I can leave them at home by themselves when I go on vacation with my husband, and they won’t be scarred for life if they walk in on us *ahem* enjoying each other’s company.

I ask these questions of you because I want to find a reason to change my mind. I want to want to have kids because I don’t want people to look at me weird for the rest of my life when I say I don’t have any. But mostly I want to want to have kids because I feel guilty for depriving my husband of something he wants. Something big.

My guilty conscience attacks me in my sleep.


In the dreams, I’m always happy that I have the baby, but Andrew is not there to be joyous about the occasion. When I wake up, I feel like I’ve let him down again and again because the baby was only a dream.

That this particular birth was a dream within a dream I also think is significant because I felt the guilt when I woke up from the inner dream. But more than that, I felt disappointment.  For myself. Which makes me think I’m letting two people down, not just one.

Unsalvageable regret

I’m familiar with the shame of letting others down, but I don’t really know what it feels like to let myself down. It might be something one discovers only at the end of life looking back on what was and what could have been. This is a different kind of regret altogether because there is no fix, there is no salvaging the lost opportunity. Sometimes you can make the next best decision when you are in a regrettable situation, but this, this is not that sort of situation. If I never have children, I’ll live with that decision forever, and so will my husband.

Will I look back with regret? My dreams are telling me the answer is yes. Maybe this situation is salvageable after all.

I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know what my heart will decide. And I certainly don’t know how my husband will feel if we pass the point of no return.

All I know is that dreams are a window, and the glass is beginning to defrost.


Do you think dreams are telling you something? What are they telling you?



Well, I had kids, twins and a third. I was young – 20. I’m glad I did and I also know that folks who don’t have kids have a rich, gull life that’s different than mine was. I love not having kids at home anymore, truly am grateful they are well grown and out of the house.

by Anne Wayman on March 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm. Reply #

So, was it worth all the trouble to have them?

by Ashley on March 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm. Reply #

This is a very personal decision and I applaud you for baring your soul, because I think it takes courage to make public your thoughts about child bearing. I didn’t have kids until I was well into my 30s, and I think that helped me to be more patient and more caring when along came painful teething, unsuccessful potty training, unpopularity in grammar school, everything trying about middle school, teaching to drive, teaching to drive, and teaching to drive, the first car wreck, the call during Fiesta about DWI, the first and second boyfriend heartbreaks, the chronic illness that resulted from cheerleading, the call from a drunken 25-year-old after an accident in Mexico, and the twin grandsons who can do no wrong. Along the way, I have learned skills I never would have learned without having the name of “mom,” felt my heart expand to the point when I thought it might burst, and total, unconditional love and belief that I am the smartest, kindest person on the planet. I would not trade those kids for anything, become in loving them, I have become free.

by Susie Gonzalez on March 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm. Reply #

It’s all those horror stories that scare me, Susie! I know I’d love them like crazy, but I just don’t know that I have the patience for all the other stuff. Thanks for your insights and for reading 🙂

by Ashley on March 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm. Reply #

I am a middle child of seven, so if you had told me in my 20s that I would never marry and would never have children, I would have said you were nuts. It wasn’t planned, it just worked out that way. And I can honestly say I am fine with it.

I do have 17 grand nieces & nephews and 21 grand-nieces & nephews, so there is no lacking of children in this family. 🙂

As far as dreams go, I find them fascinating. I rarely remember them, but once in a while, I have a very vivid one. Just a few nights ago I had a dream that I was taking a test and it was really, really long. I was failing it. I didn’t have answers, I couldn’t get it done in time. I shared my distress with a friend who basically told me, well, if you prepared better, you wouldn’t have this problem. We got in a huge fight.

I looked up the meaning online, and it was spot on. A former employer (who is now a client) was critical of some work I had done – in a constructive way. The failing of the test was my insecurity of dealing with the former employer in this new role. The fighting with the friend was a former roommate, who I feel has really let me down a number of times. So according to the dream interpretation, I have unresolved issues with her. Duh.

I do believe that dreams have significance, but it doesn’t mean they are accurate or telling us what we should have done. They are often a reflection of own insecurities and unresolved issues.

Sorry for the long novel here. 🙂

by Cathy Miller on March 27, 2012 at 9:48 am. Reply #

Cathy, I agree that people can be happy either way, and some people were meant to be parents and their lives wouldn’t be complete without that part. I don’t think I’m one of those people, but I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person. I do think my life would feel incomplete without my husband, and sometimes I wonder if that feeling contributes to my ambivalence about having kids. I don’t want to share his attention!

by Ashley on March 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm. Reply #

I relate, a bit. My daughter is an only child (she just turned 5; I just turned 40) and I am perfectly content as a mom of one. But now that the window is closing (slowly- a friend had her two at 44 and 46!) I question the choice. Like you, I never envied people who had baby #2; I envied that they wanted anothert. I have never gotten the itch for another baby.

My husband has never pushed the issue; like me, he’s content and we are glad to be done with diapers. Soon we’ll stop paying our daycare provider an amount that could finance 2 really nice vacations. But I feel a little guilty because if I wanted another I know he’d be happy.

Having one sort of gives me perspective on both worlds (I say sort of because I am just as much a mom as a woman with more than one) because I get to be a mom but also have the luxury of time moms of multiple kids may not have.

It’s a tough dilemma, because if you go ahead and have a baby, you can’t exactly send it back. But I think you are right in that your subconscious is trying to help you, regardless of the answer.

PS I also don’t think there’s a point of no return- even if you don’t have a biological child, there will always be room in your life for a child if you want one, even if it’s not a conventional way. I didn’t meet my husband till I was 31 and I always taught kids who were in foster care, etc, and for a time I really wondered if fostering kids was what I was meant to do. And it’s not something I’ve ruled out.

by Tracy on March 27, 2012 at 10:53 am. Reply #

I’ve considered adoption, so I’m definitely not ruling that out in case it takes me too long to get really sure about taking that leap 😉 but my husband keeps reminding me that we’d make really cute kids, so that’s tempting too!

by Ashley on March 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm. Reply #

[…] Before I was pregnant, I dreamed of you. […]

by A Letter to My Daughter: The First of Many « Give up the Good on August 20, 2013 at 9:51 am. Reply #

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