worried about baby

Hi Jennifer, Jayne, and Sandrine -

I hope that by putting these dreams together, you will see the common concerns each of you shares. Each of you is a mother to young children, ranging in age from 2 - 5 years old. In each dream, as soon as you let your child out of your sight (or out of your arms) disaster strikes! Jennifer’s child falls off a balcony. Jayne’s child is left home alone (while Jayne struggles to return from an ever-expanding shopping center or obstacle course), and Sandrine’s boy falls into water and drowns.

Each of you similarly worries that your dreams are warning signs. The dreams are so horrible—they truly represent your worst fears realized. Are the dreams precognitive visions of the future? Is there anthing you can do to help your child avoid this fate?

Instead of interpreting your dreams as premonitions of the future, I encourage you instead to understand them as poignant reflections of the present. In dream interpretation circles, your dreams fit comfortably into a well-known category of “parental anxiety dreams” that is especially reserved for mothers of young children. In this category you will also find dreams of losing children in crowded shopping malls (after we turn our backs for only a second), leaving children with incompetent baby-sitters, forgetting children in the back seats of cars on hot summer days, and dreams of unattended children being attacked by a neighbor’s dog.

Guiding a child through the myriad hazards of their earliest years requires constant vigilance and attention. We want to keep them away from ledges, balconies, and cliffs. We want to keep them away from swimming pools, ponds, and rivers. And we want to keep them in our site—because God only knows what they’re doing when they’re not in it! (Playing with snakes?) Is it any wonder the mother of a young one occasionally awakens frazzled from the years of responsibility? (And just think! Teen years are next!)

The good news is that your dreams are not precognitive. To the contrary, they are common anxiety dreams. For reassurance, I encourage each of you to share your dreams with other friends who also are parenting small children. You will be surprised to learn how many of your friends have had the same dreams - or a variation therof.

Is there a specific message any of you can take away from these dreams?

Jennifer, if you really are concerned about the safety hazard posed by your balcony, why don’t you figure out a way to block it off? You may want to call up a friend to help you evaluate the situation.

Sandrine, part of your concern about your son drowning appears to related to the fact that his father can’t swim—and therefore would not be able to help in such a situation. You may want to encourage his father to take swimming lessons, but it may be easier to teach your son to swim.

I repeat: None of your dreams is a premonition of the future. Rather, they simply confirm for us something that we already know. Each of you is a caring and dedicated mother. You are worrying about your children as you sleep - even in your dreams!

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