Dream Interpretation: Drowning Baby
I’m a moderator at the dreams forum at Reddit.com, so I run across a lot of really interesting dreams from people around the world. In a recent dream I helped interpret, a man tries to prevent a baby from drowning. What does it mean? Here is the description:
Had a dream about a week ago where I am in the ocean trying to keep a baby above the water but struggle to keep it above the surface and can’t tell if the baby is ok or not.
Babies are fairly common in dreams, and the meaning varies. First question is what does the baby represent to the dreamer?
Next, think expansively about what drowning means. In a sense it means submerged, and that’s a great way to describe parts of oneself that are no longer conscious. The old you submerges to allow the new you to emerge.
Now put these two ideas together and the baby represents a side of the dreamer that is immature (in the sense of being young and undeveloped) but still needed. I suggested that it might represent a childlike sense of wonder at life. Growing into adulthood can be a real drag if the fun of childhood is replaced by the grind of work life. It’s easy to “throw out the baby with the bathwater” and become a grizzled adult before your time.
The dreamer resonated with that idea. To resolve the conflict he figures out what he really feels and what he can do to keep his “inner child” alive and happy. People tend to think of themselves as “I” when actually the psyche is constructed as “we,” with the ego as a sort of spokesperson and decision-maker. Inner voices that are repressed, suppressed, or ignored speak most dramatically while dreaming. They can even be disruptive to waking life. In this case, the dreamer needs to find a way of growing into adulthood without losing the precious and vital part of himself represented by the baby. The action of holding the baby above the water means he wants to keep it alive.
Bottom line: trying to prevent something from drowning in a dream is an effort to save a part of oneself from receding into the unconscious mind. The comforting thought is it never dies, only goes dormant, and can revive under the right circumstances.