My mom told me that when she was pregnant with me and my younger sister, she had a very distinct dream about each of us. Korean people call this pregnancy dream, 태몽 (pronounced tae mong). This apparently happens most frequently, to the mother, but often times the family or close friends. The dream uncovers some insight about the baby that is imminent.
내가 임신하기 전에 꿈을 꿨는데,
아침에 아파트 수영장에 나갔는데, 수영장에 큰 검은 물고기가 하나 가득있었어.
나는 그중에 제일 큰거를 한마리 잡아서 들고 왔는데, 엄청 크고 빛났었어.
그 얘기를 엄마한테 했는데 엄마가 태몽이라하더라고.
연수는 임신하고도 태몽을 안꿔서…
누구 내 태몽 꾼사람 없나… 하고 있었는데,
한국에 있는 친구가 갑자기 전화가 와서 나보고 임신했냐고 묻더라고,
내가 어떻게 알았냐고 물었더니,
내가 걔 꿈에 나와서 엄청큰 보석반지를 끼고 예쁘다고 자랑을 했다하더라고…
태몽은 예전에 아기 낳기전에 아들인지 딸인지 몰랐는데 알고싶으니까
태몽으로 아기 성별을 맞춰보곤했지
너희 꿈은 둘다 딸꿈
Nae gah eem shin ha gi jun aye koom uhl kuh nun dae,
Ah chim aye ah pah tuh soo young jang aye nah gat nnun dae, soo young jang aye kun kum uhn mool go gi gah ha nah gah tuhk ees suh suh.
Nah nun guh joong aye jae il kun guh rur han mah ri jab ah suh dul go oah nun dae, um chung kuh go beet nah sus suh.
Guh yea gi rur umma han tae het nun dae umma ga tae mong ee ra ha duh rah go.
Yon soo nun eem shin ha go do tae mong ul an koouh su…
Noo goo nae tae mong koon sa ram ub na… ha go eet sus nun dae,
Han gook aye eet nun chin goo ga gap cha gi jun hwa ga owa suh nah bo go eem shin han nya go moot du ra go,
Nae ga uh dduh kae al at nya go mul ut duh ni,
Nae gah gae goom eh nah owa suh um chung kuhn bo suk ban ji rur yeah buh da go ja rang ul het da ha duh rah go…
Tae mong uhn yeh jun aye ah gi nat gi jun eh ah dul een ji tal een ji mol lat nun dae al go ship uh ni ka
Tae mong uh roe ah gi sung byul ul mat chi bo gon het ji
Nuh hi goom un dool da tal koom
When I pregnant before dream had,
Morning apartment swimming pool outside went, swimming pool inside big blackfish one full.
I between most big one catch and carry came, very big shiny.
This story mom told she tae mong it is.
Yeonsoo (my sister’s Korean name) pregnant after tae mong not…
Someone my tae mong dreamt wonder… thought had,
Korea in friend suddenly call came me pregnant asking,
I how did you know asked,
I her dream in came out very big
Tae mong is long time ago baby before born son is or daughter is did not know wants to know. Tae mong with baby gender guess. You all dream both daughter dream.
Before I was pregnant I had this dream. It was the morning, and I went out to the apartment pool. In the pool, there were a ton of big, black fish. Out of all of them, I caught the biggest one and carried it back. It was so big and shiny. I told this story to my mom and she said it was a “tae mong.”
When I was pregnant with Yeonsoo (Jamie’s Korean name), I did not dream a “tae mong.” But while I wondering if someone else dreamt a “tae mong” for me, I suddenly got a call from my friend in Korea. She asked me if I was pregnant. I asked her how she knew, and she said I appeared in her dream and was bragging about a giant jeweled ring.
Tae mong was used a long time ago before a baby was born to try to guess if it would be a boy or a girl. They used tae mong to try to match the baby’s gender. My dreams about both you and your sister were daughter dreams.
As I’ve never been pregnant before, I cannot attest to the gut feeling of when a dream specifically pertains to an unborn child. But this is a phenomenon that I’ve heard from multiple adult women. In fact, my photography professor’s mother, who is also Korean, stated that she’s heard that if the object in the dream that represents the child is small, the baby is male, but if that object is big, it will be female.
The distinct pregnancy dream may be a result of a combination of a multi-generational herd behavior and confirmation bias. When you hear that mothers and people around you have had strange dreams about an unborn child, you may think that one of the dreams you’ve had is related to theirs, snowballing the herd mentality.
This folk practice has been around for a long time, as implied by my mom, when she stated that pregnancy dreams were used as a method to try to guess a baby’s gender before there were ultrasounds and other technological advances. Although the accuracy of them is unknown, these dreams are remembered and shared with friends and family, even after many years.