DreamTok: Nightmarish TikTok trend has women mourning imaginary babies after giving birth in dreams
The 'DreamTok' subculture of TikTok has seen a flurry of young women revealing their dreams of giving birth to a child. The term "dream babies" is frequently used to describe this segment of the subculture where women are openly sharing their peculiar dream experiences. The majority of the young women who claim to be yearning to start a family have formed relationships through the videos. However, it has also had a detrimental effect on other people, making them realize that they will never want to have children.
The majority of women have admitted to experiencing genuine loss and grief after understanding the child was only a dream. Others claim to have repeatedly experienced the same dream and to have even grown connected to the dream child. People have long talked about having children in their dreams, but recently, the trend on TikTok seems to have picked up momentum as several viral videos have assisted in giving this category its own hashtag. The video-sharing platform has often made headlines for the wrong reasons, especially because of the influential culture where teens and children tend to imitate what's trending online. Many state governments have called for a ban on the app as well citing the dangers it poses from being a pedophile den to leaking government secrets.
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Hailey Case, a Kansas State University student, claimed that she dreams of giving birth or having a baby two to three times every month, as reported by Insider. Case stated that it's "incredibly jarring" waking up from a dream that feels so genuine.
Case stated, "When you have a dream baby [it] just feels instinctually maternal, so waking up my body knows it's awake, but my mind is trying to catch up." She made the decision to share her dreams about giving birth to a child in December 2022 after seeing other ladies post about theirs.
'I feel like it's a demonic attack'
Case's TikTok gained over 16K views and over a dozen comments from viewers who related similar experiences. In one of Case's TikTok videos, many people shared their experiences. One person wrote, "I can't stop thinking of my dream baby. he was so beautiful"
@hhaileycase it feels so real, just to wake up for the loss to feel even more real… #dreams #fyp #dreambaby #babydream #loss ♬ origineel geluid - SPEDCVSMICS
Another person wrote, "I just had a dream about a baby last night. I woke up and cried because I realized that beautiful baby girl didn't exist in this world. maybe one day." A third person wrote, "I always say I don't want kids but just woke up from a baby dream now I feel lost without him."
One person wrote, "I wake up and look for them that entire next day. I feel like it's a demonic attack cause it's a tease that causes pain." This other individual who was sharing their traumatizing experience wrote, "I had a dream I birthed a baby and was in bliss.. I tried to breastfeed it and when I looked down it was a long haired chihuahua.. traumatizing."
'It feels like a state of grief'
Case revealed that she felt connected to others, but it also made her more pessimistic. She said, "The response made me really sad, scrolling through the comments of people who were sharing the name of their dream baby, saying it felt so real. The intense emotion feels a little surreal because we separate dreams from reality really easily."
Case claimed that given that the dream can elicit a genuine, powerful emotional sensation, it is challenging to explain this imbalance. "It feels like a state of grief, in some sense of the word," she said. Case claimed to have noticed a rise in dream baby videos in recent months.
Case acknowledged that it "feels weird" to "admit that you are saddened by a dream experience," but suggested that possibly, as a result of hearing others talk about their nightmares, it has become less distressing for individuals to discuss them. She said, "I don't know if it popped up out of nowhere or someone suddenly decided to share, and everyone else felt the courage to share."
What does a psychologist think of the 'dream babies' trend?
Dr Dylan Selterman, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University who focuses on dreams and social interactions, there is currently no research on these kinds of dreams and the suffering they are linked to, according to Insider. But, he says that it might offer a way for women to consider motherhood or life and loss in a whole different context.
Selterman stated, "It may be the case that people are prone to feelings of grief or loss because the baby in the dream corresponds to another child or family figure in the person's life. Perhaps this is their mind's way of coping with a different type of loss."
Selterman also proposed that what individuals refer to as an "attachment" to a made-up or imagined child may actually be a yearning for motherhood. He claimed that there is sufficient data to demonstrate that sharing dreams forge social relationships, thus he is not shocked that dream babies have gained such popularity on TikTok.
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