Sunday, October 10, 2010

Death of the Attached Baby


The Dream:
I am in a dune-like area. The sea is implied, but not seen. There is a modern road through the dunes, with a sidewalk and the sort of empty bus stop often seen in the suburbs. I wander here for a while, waiting for one of my husband’s colleagues. He works at a nearby high-tech scientific installation which will soon be dismissing its employees for the day.

It’s 5:00 o’clock, and the lab workers file out of the simple, modern building, about seven stories tall. I am with a woman who has just had a baby. She resembles an artist friend. She is obviously thrilled with her baby, and at first all seems okay; but it soon becomes clear that the baby is still physically attached to her mother—through the mother’s hand. They share capillaries. Then the shocker: we realize the baby has died.

Some medical technicians come and take the baby away. They wrap the baby in newspaper secured with twine; they throw her off a dump truck into a garbage bin. I am appalled. Why wasn’t the baby returned to the family for a respectful and loving funeral?

Back to the mother: She is now attended by her sister, a plain-looking German woman with short cropped strawberry blond hair. The sister is very upset and doesn’t feel the mother is adequately distraught. I know the mother is upset, but in a less effusive way than her sister. I put my arm around the German woman and walk her a few steps away, trying both to comfort her and to keep her from making a bad situation worse.

Interpretation:
In the beginning of the dream I am in an intuitive, unconscious state (the sea, the dunes). But progress soon asserts itself in the form of a road, sidewalk, bus stop, and high-tech laboratory. This symbolically plots my early life, my personal progress between the ages of five and seven, which are the two numbers in the dream. During this time I moved from the idyll of a happy 5-year-old child living in a beautiful rural setting to the challenge of starting school and being subjected to the discipline and socialization that entails. At this age we still hold our mother’s hand. That the baby is not completely detached from the mother reflects the wrench that I felt on starting this new phase of life.

Then the dream veers into the present. How do I know? The mother resembles one of my current artist friends: this tells me the issue here is not entirely in the past. The baby, representing my authentic artist self at a critical juncture of my life (between 5 and 7), is carted away by technicians (the school system) and dumped. The dead baby’s crude disposal reminds me of a scene from the movie Amadeus. When Mozart dies he is given a pauper’s burial. The reusable casket opens at one end like a dump truck and his unsheltered body thuds into an open pit, a common grave. How could my baby artist expect any better?

The mother (my adult artist, the compromiser) accepts the death of her own potential with an equanimity that baffles her sister, the German woman, whose geographical proximity to the home of the Austrian Mozart tells me her opinion is important. But in my role as Dream Ego, I try my best to shut her up and keep her from making waves.

Yet again, the voice that seems most difficult in my dream is the one I need to listen to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For some reason I thought this might have been about an abortion, the way women are treating coldly and without respect or love when in that situation.

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