Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dream Babies

I dreamt last night that we had a baby – a little boy called Maayan. He was only a baby for a couple of minutes though, and then suddenly he was a toddler. He had dark brown hair, a round face, and wore a brown and orange tracksuit. He didn’t look anything like either of us. But he was ours. I looked at him, and wondered, secretly, if I didn’t want him.

I took him on a bus. During the journey, he let go of my hand and ran full pelt down the aisle of the bus towards the doors. When he reached them, they opened for him. I charged down the aisle after him, pushing people out of the way. I grabbed him only at the last minute and held onto him, gasping. It was only then, in that moment, that I knew I did love him, more than I could ever have expressed. But the realisation that I loved him was followed almost instantly by remembering that I didn’t really have a baby, that he wasn’t really mine after all, that he’d be gone soon.*

Perhaps in dreams babies don’t represent new life, but the loss of something. I remember that other times I’ve dreamt I’d had a baby, I was left with the same morose feelings of loss, of grief, not just on waking but during the dream itself. When childless people dream of having a baby, regardless of their feelings about, or desire for parenthood, the baby born in a dream is inevitably lost on waking: your hands are filled (with another whole person, who doesn’t exist – yet) and then emptied again. The possibility or confirmation of love is lost just at the moment that it’s recognised for who or what it is.

*Or maybe that’s what all parents feel when they look at their children.

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