Hi Kate -
I’m happy to hear that your dream was neither dark nor ominous. Your cool demeanor at the scene of the crime suggests that indeed, your emotional equlibrium is in tact. Nevertheless, the dream did leave you with a disturbing aftertaste. If we review the case together, perhaps we can solve the mystery.
Camoflaged identities in dreams are clues that difficult emotions are involved. The alter ego you adopt in the dream - becoming this young woman with blond hair - most likely reflects the persona you adopted to help you through the difficult time of your abortion.
In your dream, you are sent on a mission to recover nude photos of this woman, taken at a time when she was quite young - in high school. Nudity in dreams almost always reflects concerns about exposure. Perhaps your mission, then, (your innocence mission?) is to erase the evidence of a young woman’s error in judgement?
While you are this woman, you give birth to a litter of creatures. One is a pup, who you sense is particularly relevant to the case. Another creature you recognize as the woman herself - the woman whose murder you have been sent to investigate. What is the possible meaning of such a curious delivery? The pup (the most disguised symbol) most likely represents your aborted child. Is it possible the second child represents your curiosity about who your child would have become - the woman who was murdered?
When you later discover the dead woman’s body, your disguise disolves, and you observe, “I felt frustrated that I hadn’t found the pictures—overlooking, perhaps, the value of the dog, body, and reincarnation of the dead girl.”
If you are able to see yourself in all four of the identities represented by this dream - yourself, the woman who was murdered, the fetus that was aborted (the pup) and the young life that could have been (the reincarnation of the woman) - then perhaps your dream really is showing us the multiple layers of death we experience when we terminate a pregnancy. That is, the fetus dies, the life that could have been dies, and, it is apparent, a piece of ourself dies.
The error in judgement, of course, that we all wish to avoid, is not necessarily terminating an unplanned pregnancy. Rather, it is the unplanned conception, which then forces us to make an often heart-wrenching decision. If the pictures in your dream really do represent an innocence mission, perhaps the message of this dream is that you will not find one. This doesn’t mean you are forced to wear a blanket of guilt the rest of your life; it merely means that you bravely take responsibility for your future children.