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Is South Park Actually Trying To Get Itself Cancelled?

South Park has done some crazy marketing stunts in the past, and true to creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s ever-chaotic nature, they’re back with another quizzical promotion ahead of Season 22. This time around, South Park is actively promoting a hashtag that calls for the cancellation of the Comedy Central hit. Which obviously poses the question, is South Park genuinely trying to get itself cancelled? Check out one such example below.

We’re heavily assuming no one involved with South Park‘s creative team or marketing team actually wants the show cancelled on Comedy Central, and that this promotion is instead probably a way of poking fun at the Internet’s outrage culture, and the social media movements people will often jump into in today’s society. Viewers wasted no time in trying out “#cancelSouthPark” on Twitter, which is accompanied by an emoji of the South Park town sign with the “no” symbol going through. Always on the lookout, the official South Park page generated responses to fans using the hashtag, reminding them of the date for the Season 22 premiere.

Of course, the mass tweeting of the hashtag got the movement trending, which in turn sparked some irony-soaked outrage amongst South Park fans. Quite a few tweeted out the hashtag in a confused state, wondering what big event they’d missed that suddenly had so many people up in arms and pushing for the cable stalwart’s cancellation, and it’s not like there was a big reveal ready to justify anything. But apart from a few fans that seemed genuinely disgusted, any legit outrage soon faded, as almost all parties quickly fell in with the joke and continued to tweet the hashtag to keep the fun rolling.

Once more people started to realize what was going on, they began posting specific references to the show along with the hashtag, perhaps to signal that they too were in on the gag.

The South Park marketing stunt isn’t just limited to Twitter either. Real-world billboards are appearing in cities across America and promoting “#cancelSouthPark” in an effort to get even more people talking about the “movement.” Billboard ads have been used by the show in the past, and they appear to be gaining success yet again, with some fans sharing pictures when they find them.

So why a campaign to cancel South Park as opposed to directly teasing what’s to come in Season 22? Beyond the fact that it’s a great and unique marketing stunt, there’s a possibility the show may not have any usable footage completed for the premiere just yet. There’s also a strong possibility that the show is going to tackle more on the subject of outrage culture in Season 22, possibly even starting with the premiere. The only thing we know for certain is that anyone legitimately outraged over the series’ upcoming season is going to have a hell of a time getting an actual cancellation movement trending now that this is out there. Say, that may have been the creators’ secret intention all along.

South Park Season 22 will arrive on Comedy Central on Wednesday, September 26, at 10:00 p.m. ET. Keep abreast of all television shows returning and premiering over the next few months with our fall premiere guide.

The Predator Reviews: What CinemaBlend Thought Of The New Sequel

It’s been eight years since the last entry in the storied Predator franchise. Now, Shane Black, who co-starred in the 1987 original, takes his turn behind the camera as the co-writer and director. How does the new entry in the series stack up against the previous installments? The crew here at CinemaBlend has seen the new action/horror title and while, like most things, we don’t agree perfectly, the general consensus could be summed up as, “a fun time with a movie that has some serious problems.” In my review of The Predator for CinemaBlend, I summed it up like this…

In the end, while I can’t say I loved The Predator, I also can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the hell out of The Predator. While I can’t shake the feeling this movie wanted to be something more, I can’t say I didn’t have a good time with what it was.

The Predator is an incredibly fast-paced movie, it moves so quickly from one action beat to the next, that it clearly had to cut out some of its own story to keep things from slowing down. It’s clearly been edited with a machete rather than a scalpel. If, however, you’re here to be swept up in the brutal kills and the non-stop one-liners, there is fun to be had in that.

CinemaBlend managing Director Sean O’Connell’s feelings fell pretty close to my own. While he admits the movie has its issues is, mostly in the third act. He overall had a fun time with the movie and the parts that worked.

Shane Black’s The Predator might be the best sequel in this franchise — though, let’s be clear, that bar was very, very low. This one feels like a throwback to the goofy practical effects of the 1980s, and the contributions of Black and co-writer Fred Dekker likely contribute to the gory, silly mood. Yes, the whole thing goes off the rails in the last act, but I had a lot more fun with this chapter in the Predator saga than I anticipated, with Keegan-Michael Key and Sterling K. Brown owning pretty much every scene that they are in.

Our Events Editor Eric Eisenberg is probably the harshest critic of The Predator here at CinemaBlend. Whereas Sean overall had fun with the film but recognized some shortcomings, Eric recognizes some bright spots, but overall was disappointed.

While Shane Black is recognized as one of the wittiest, most clever screenwriters in the industry, The Predator feels like a too-late throwback that ultimately falls flat. Though it moves at a quick pace, has some cool, shocking moments, and some solid performances, it’s also weighed down by messy storytelling, underdeveloped characters, and a rushed third act.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Senior Contributor Mike Reyes probably enjoyed the film the most on our team. He thought The Predator was bloody, funny, and bloody funny.

The Predator is the closest, and probably best, sequel we’ve ever gotten in the Predator saga. Shane Black brings the franchise back to the sort of smart assed action that only he could bring to the screen, and while that’s sometimes a detriment to the film (especially when taking into account one joke in particular that’s going to split the audience right down the middle) it definitely helps it fit right in with the rest. It’s bloody, it’s funny, and it’s what every R-rated summer movie wishes it could be.

In conclusion, it seems like The Predator is a funny and violent action movie with some significant issues with its storytelling. The question for the audience will be, do those bright spots overshadow the problems the movie has? For most of us here at CinemaBlend they did, but the audience will speak when The Predator opens tomorrow.

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Watch Heidi Klum Pretend To Be Her Own Lookalike With America’s Got Talent Fans

Fans who gathered to have their pictures taken with look-a-likes of the America’s Got Talents judges were in for a big surprise as Heidi Klum showed off her talent for pretend. For some lucky fans, it was trick before treat as they endured a series of high jinks with who they believed to be Heidi Klum’s doppelganger. Watch her fake-out a bunch of fans before the big reveal in the video below:

These fans had to put up with a lot before learning the shocking truth! It is hard to say who endured the worst of it. All told these fans all went through a lot. There was the moment an in-character Heidi Klum said she smelt something while posing with the man in the white polo shirt. Then there was the incident with the women who had their faces blocked by Klum’s hair. Only to be told they could get two pictures made. Imagine what was going through their minds.

Another nominee is the woman in the jean jacket, who had her face blocked by Heidi Klum with a #AGT sign. Klum also put chewed gum in her hand and insulted her nails. And the video never shows the woman in the jean jacket or the women who had their faces blocked, finding out the truth. While the family at the beginning of the video and the man in the white polo shirt were both shown discovering it was actually Klum. Hopefully, everyone found out it was Heidi Klum off-screen.

While Heidi Klum demonstrated her impressive acting skills in the video, she also showed off another talent that was notably impressive. She convinced one guy to let her cut his hair, and she did a really nice job with it. He did not know that would be the case when he agreed, which was pretty brave of the guy. Trusting someone with your hair is a huge deal. As is finding out that the person you thought was a look-a-like is actually the real deal.

The fans’ reactions did not disappoint, and kudos to the woman at the 2:09 mark for figuring it all out. The interaction between Heidi Klum and the married couple is a standout moment in the clip. After watching Heidi Klum having what was probably a lot of fun playing a rude look-a-like version of herself, fans can check her out in her usual job as an America’s Got Talent judge.

With the season beginning to wind down, a winner is not too far away from being chosen. New episodes of America’s Got Talent air Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. And there is more where that is coming from on NBC, this fall. You can learn more about the show on its official site.

The Predator Review

It’s more than a little shocking how well the Predator franchise has endured over the years, considering how even some of its most ardent supporters will admit that most of the sequels and spinoffs haven’t been very good. Yet, here we are, giving another sequel a try, though this time we have Shane Black, who coincidentally co-starred in the original Predator, trying to add his unique style to the brand. The result, simply titled The Predator, still isn’t able to recapture whatever magic the original film created, but it is able to make for an entertaining enough sequel, which is a first for the franchise.

Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is a military sniper on an assignment in Mexico when his operation is thrown into disarray due to the unexpected arrival of an alien spacecraft crash-landing practically on top of him. His unit engages with the Predator and, as one might expect, does not fare well. Only McKenna survives, and he escapes with some of the alien’s technology. He’s able to ship the material home before being apprehended by Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) and the organization he runs which has been studying the alien threat. Traeger, in turn, brings in scientist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to aid in the study of the Predator they captured, while dumping McKenna in with a group of military “Loonies” (Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, and more) so that nobody will believe anything he says about aliens. However, when McKenna’s son (Jacob Tremblay) gets his hands on the alien tech mailed home by dad, well, bad stuff is going to happen.

If the original Predator successfully blended two genres together, that of action and horror, then The Predator takes it to the next level by adding a third: comedy. The film is surprisingly funny. Some of that comedy comes from Keegan-Michael Key’s Coyle having a penchant for dirty jokes, and an uncomfortable amount of it comes from Thomas Jane’s Baxley (he suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, so he randomly swears, which is funny, I guess). A lot of just comes from the sort of rapid-fire one-liners you would expect from a movie directed by Shane Black. While it’s hard to say The Predator feels like a “Shane Black movie,” it certainly feels like a “Predator movie,” just one which happens to be written by Shane Black. The humor works, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud at points, even just after watching a limb being torn from somebody’s body.

Because make no mistake, The Predator is still an action-horror franchise. There are lots of guys with lots of big guns and no less than two alien hunters who are skilled at eviscerating whatever gets in their way. The Predator is as bloody a movie as the franchise has ever seen, jokes or no jokes. This movie earns its R-rating.

And it’s where these two ideas come together that the movie starts to get lost. The “Loonies” are an interesting bunch of characters, far more so than Boyd Holbrook’s “generic white male protagonist” to be sure. Whereas the military team from the first Predator was made up of slightly different variations of testosterone-fueled macho men, this time around our heroes are a group of guys who have been to war and come back broken. This subversion feels intentional, but the movie never stops long enough to deal with it in any meaningful way.

In fact, The Predator never stops for much of anything at all. It moves from one action scene to the next, one snappy quip to the next, without taking a break. It moves so fast that it’s difficult to notice at first that there just isn’t much story there. Characters seem to pick up information as well as equipment with no explanation where it came from, making it clear that pieces of this movie were left on the cutting room floor. Not too surprising, since we know that entire characters were cut from this film at some point, but the result is that what’s left doesn’t feel quite complete.

Still, in the end, while I can’t say I loved The Predator, I also can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the hell out of The Predator. The action and the comedy combine well, and if you let the movie just take you for the ride, you’ll probably enjoy the trip. I can’t shake the feeling this movie wanted to be something more than it became, but I can’t say I didn’t have a good time with what it was.

Rating:
movie reviewed rating
3.5/5

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The Simple Favor Costume Anna Kendrick Fought With Paul Feig Over

There are a variety of ways that actors get into character. For some its intense method acting, and for others its research and preparation. But costuming can also really help a performance, illustrating a character’s inner psyche and informing actors’ movements. Director Paul Feig has a signature dapper style of his own, and put a ton of fashion choices in his upcoming comedy/drama thriller A Simple Favor. While Blake Lively is wearing some outrageous costumes as Emily, Anna Kendrick’s protagonist Stephanie also rocks some doozies. In particular, a sweater covered with little colorful balls of cotton. I recently spoke with Anna Kendrick about her work in A Simple Favor, where she revealed that particular was a point of contention with Feig, saying:

That’s quite the hilarious discussion for such a silly piece of clothing. Ultimately Paul Feig got his way, and Stephanie’s cotton ball sweater made into the film, with the potential to get quite a few laughs when it hits theaters. Furthermore, the scene was so essential that she’s seen rocking that sweater in the trailer. Poor Anna Kendrick.

Visually, the costumes in A Simple Favor show how different the two leading ladies ultimately are. Anna Kendrick’s Stephane is uptight, and doesn’t seem to interact with adult people all that much. Meanwhile, Blake Lively’s Emily is effortlessly iconic and unapologetically herself. Her costumes are loud and fierce, and the opposite of Stephanie’s somewhat sheepish demeanor. But the ladies ultimately affect each other through their friendship, with Stephanie’s costumes reflecting it.

You can check out my full conversation with Anna Kendrick about her A Simple Favor costumes, including the near arm wrestle with Paul Feig, below.

Ultimately it looks like Paul Feig and Anna Kendrick came to a compromise, despite the actress’ trepidation over her hilarious costumes. Touches like Stephanie’s sweater show how much comedy is ultimately inserted into A Simple Favor, despite the film’s high stakes and mysterious plot. But considering Bridesmaids and Freaks and Geeks icon Feig was behind the director’s chair, this shouldn’t come to much of a surprise.

You can catch A Simple Favor in theaters on September 14, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

The First Trailer For *Chilling Adventures of Sabrina* Will Chill You to the Core

Netflix decided to drop the first trailer for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Thursday (September 13) — and yes, we can confirm it’s indeed quite chilling. This darker, twistier version of the Sabrina comics follows our titular teenager (Kiernan Shipka as she comes to terms with possessing the powers of witchcraft, and the trailer highlights the spectacular fashion in which she accepts her supernatural destiny. Think of this as less of Melissa Joan Hart’s beloved Sabrina sitcom from the the early aughts, and more of a modern Exorcist. We’re not exaggerating.

Set to a haunting “happy birthday” tune — anybody else getting some Betty-singing-to-Jughead on Riverdale vibes with this? — we’re introduced to a few characters who will undoubtedly prove to be important as Sabrina prepares for her full-time witch initiation. (She’s apparently going to renounce her mortal life for a “dark baptism” on her 16th birthday. And her aunts worship the devil. This is not a drill!) We see some mortal high school pals, a mortal boyfriend, some definitely non-mortal high school pals, and potentially a devil’s handmaiden. It’s creepy as heck, but Sabrina looks pretty happy with her decision to worship Satan, and that’s all that counts.

Watch the trailer for yourself, below:

While Netflix has been keeping the show’s more specific plot points at bay — the trailer, upon a rewatch, makes you realize there isn’t even any dialogue — Kiernan recently discussed how fulfilling it was to have her name first on Sabrina‘s call-sheet, for the first time in her career. “I was like, Oh my God, this is heaven. I’m obsessed with everything about it,” she explained, before admitting she had trouble filming with her feline scene partner, because she soon realized she was allergic to cats. “The cat is the one cast member I don’t get along with,” she joked.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina debuts on Netflix on October 26.

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Ewan McGregor Totally Freaked Out About Maul’s Role In Solo

The Star Wars franchise seems almost limitless right now. With Disney in charge of the property, Lucasfilm has been releasing main installments and standalone films in quick succession over the past few years. It’s been an exciting time for the fandom, as the galaxy far, far away continues to expand and interconnect. This was certainly the case with Solo: A Star Wars Story, which told the backstory of fan favorite characters like Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian. Solo also surprised everyone by including a brief appearance by Darth Maul, the fan favorite villain from The Phantom Menace. It surprised everyone, including even Ewan McGregor. Ray Park plays Maul in the Star Wars franchise, and recently revealed how bonkers McGregor went for his character during the Solo premiere. As Park tells it,

Not only was Obi-Wan excited to see his old nemesis back on the silver screen, Ewan McGregor’s excitement was so much that Ray Park could barely watch his brief scene. That is next level nerdiness, even for a Jedi master.

Ray Fisher’s comments on The Star Wars Show are sure to warm the hearts of Star Wars fans out there, who have been following Maul and Obi-Wan’s journey for a number of years. While the duo only briefly crossed lightsabers in The Phantom Menace, their story was greatly expanded in the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series. And while the Star Wars icons may be mortal enemies, Ewan McGregor and Ray Fisher seem to have only a positive relationship. Days of fight choreography will do that to you sometimes.

As a reminder, you can check out the iconic Phantom Menace lightsaber duel below, complete with Maul’s presumed death.

Maul might not have had a long appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but it was enough to have most Star Wars fans practically salivating with excitement. After Qi’ra dispatches Dryden Vos in the third act, she contacts his boss. That happens to be Maul, who summons Qi’ra and essentially gives her a promotion in the Crimson Dawn. It’s a brief scene that seemed to set up a sequel or standalone film, although it’s unclear if/when Maul’s story might continue. But it’s clear that Ray Park is ready for the call.

Solo: A Star Wars Story arrives for digital purchase on September 14th, and physical copy on September 25th. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Justin Bieber’s Manager Scooter Braun Once Feared For The Singer’s Life

Justin Bieber might be entering into a more stable living environment soon. The musician surprised everyone when he proposed to his girlfriend, model Hailey Baldwin, in the Bahamas earlier this summer. And recent reports suggest that Bieber’s proposal wasn’t done lightheartedly. He is apparently taking the prospect of marriage pretty seriously, even though a few people close to the artist worry he might be jumping the gun a little bit. But it seems like Bieber is finally starting to mature and enter a life filled with a little less chaos and gossip (hopefully). But, of course, it wasn’t always like that for the popular pop artist.

As Justin Bieber‘s manager, Scooter Braun, recounts, there were certainly days where he found himself fraught with worry about his client. Not merely in the sense of whether Bieber’s career would skyrocket or decline, but rather if Braun would wake up to discover the news that Bieber was deceased. It’s certainly a troubling thought to conquer, especially about someone you are responsible for in a number of different ways. But it also goes to show you that Bieber has come a long way from his earlier days, and it sounds like Braun is certainly happier with Bieber now than he was with him before.

The confession was made during Scooter Braun’s recent appearance on Van Lathan’s podcast The Red Pill, which came out yesterday. As it was recounted by the manager, Braun found himself anxious about his famous and often controversial client around 2014, when the troubled artist was charged with a DUI. He also reportedly assaulted a limo driver, and then in another later incident was once again charged– this time for reportedly throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house.

During this difficult time, Braun made sure that his client didn’t tour or go around the country (or perhaps the world) provoking dangerous behavior or self-harm. Rather, Braun wanted to get his client back to health, and he wanted to make sure that Justin Bieber was of stable health and of sound mind. Now, at the age of 24, it appears that Bieber is on the road to more stable living.

Hollywood can be a dangerous city, and it’s not hard to find yourself caught up in the madness that is spawned by rapid-fire fame and excessive media attention. Thankfully, Justin Bieber seems to be doing better today these days, and we’re hopeful for his future prospects, as Scooter Braun is too.

Is Henry Cavill Not Dropping Superman After All?

Yesterday dropped a bombshell when a report claimed that Henry Cavill was out as DC’s Superman. Nobody was expecting anything like that to happen, so the report was a shock. However, now a new report claims that while some details of the original report might be true, the conclusion, that Cavill will not portray Superman again, is actually completely bogus because there have been literally zero discussions on that topic. Let’s break this down.

So yesterday the claim that Henry Cavill was out as Superman was anchored by a couple of different points. First, the fact that DC and Warner Bros. were trying to get Cavill to cameo in next year’s Shazam! as Superman, but the two sides were unable to come to an agreement, and that there were no active plans for any future Superman movie, as the studio’s focus was currently being given to a Supergirl film project instead. According to TMZ, both of these points are more or less accurate. Cavill did reject the Shazam! cameo over money, and there is no currently planned next Superman movie in development. However, it seems that because there is no next Superman movie currently in development, there have been no actual discussions with Cavill (or anybody else) about whether or not he would play the role when and if such a movie was in the cards, so claims that he’s out are premature.

If this story seemed bizarre yesterday, it’s only more so now. Warner Bros. has released a brief statement which, if read with this information, would seem to fall in line with this claim. It states that the WB relationship with Henry Cavill is “unchanged” and that they have made no decisions regarding upcoming Superman movies. It can be read as a statement that says “hey, everything is fine” but at the same time, it doesn’t come out and directly repudiate the original report, which the studio could certainly have done if it’s not true.

If we take this report at face value it would seem to simply leave things up in the air, which is probably where we should keep them now that we have multiple reports claiming different things. Henry Cavill has made a post to Instagram since the first report came out, but, needless to say, his response doesn’t clear anything up in any way.

It’s possible that, whether or not Henry Cavill is officially done as the Man of Steel, we might not know it for some time to come. The fact that no Man of Steel 2 is in active development seems to be agreed upon and it may not be until a new Superman movie comes along that anything official is stated.

Postpartum Nightmares: Why Scary Dreams About Your Baby Is Normal

Like most new moms, I got the “how’s the baby sleeping?” question a lot. It’s the postpartum equivalent of “How are you?”— a casual query lobbed at tired parents by visiting friends and well-meaning strangers. But it tripped me up.

At six weeks old, my daughter was sleeping like a champ. She was regularly getting five-hour stretches of shut-eye at night, a rare feat for an infant her age. So no, my tell-tale glazed, puffy eyes weren’t the result of my baby’s sleepless nights—they were caused by my own nightmares, vivid and often violent visions of my baby that made me dread going to bed at night and clouded my mornings with emotional hangovers.

In one dream, my daughter was lying on her play mat when I realized she was choking. I rushed over, and when I looked into her mouth, I saw a crumpled wire hanger lodged in her throat. I screamed and watched helplessly as her eyes widened and her lips turned blue.

In another nightmare, I was driving on a highway with my cooing baby buckled into her carseat when all of a sudden the car door swung open and the carseat fell out. I slammed on my breaks but it was too late—I watched through the rear view mirror as the carseat bounced across the highway, tossing her tiny body into lanes of speeding traffic.

There were more terrible dreams, each one pulled from some dark depths of my subconscious I didn’t even know existed—my baby being tossed around in ocean waves, pulled under the currents of a rushing river, trapped underneath a bookshelf after an earthquake, floating in our bathtub. I could hear every cry, and I felt the horror of what I was seeing as if it was actually happening.

Each time, I’d wake up panicked and rush to check on my baby, to touch her and feel her tiny swaddled chest moving up and down. I’d cry, even days later, when I relayed these dreams to my husband. As the nightmares became more frequent I pushed myself to stay up later, binge watching The Americans in order to avoid the horrors that awaited me in bed.

Desperate for relief, I turned to the resource every new mom loves and hates: Google. A search for “new baby, nightmares” just turned up message boards of mothers worrying their newborns were having nightmares (spoiler alert: it’s just gas.) Was I the only one besieged by bad dreams?

One mom friend told me she had a recurring dream that her baby was lost in the bed, suffocating under the covers. Turns out, this is a nightmare so common that one researcher created an acronym for it: BIB (Baby in Bed) dream.

The lack of information I found on postpartum nightmares is surprising considering how common they are: According to a study in the journal Sleep, 73 percent of postpartum women reported having dreams of their infant in peril. For many, the effects of these bad dreams lingered after they woke up—42 percent of women felt post-awakening anxiety after a nightmare and 60 percent felt the need to get up and check on their infant.

Postpartum dreaming might be especially intense because of something called the “REM rebound” effect, says Tore Nielsen, Ph.D., director of the Dream & Nightmare Laboratory at the University of Montreal and author of the Sleep study. REM, which stands for “rapid eye movement,” is a sleep phase that’s tied with brain activity and dreaming, and it typically occurs every 90 minutes. When you get only short bouts of it (say, because of a crying baby), your need for this type of sleep builds up so that during your next stretch of sleep, you may actually have more REM sleep and, therefore, more intense and vivid dreams. Combine that with out-of-whack hormones and a completely helpless new being to worry about and it’s easy to see why a sleep-deprived new parent is a prime candidate for wild, lucid dreams.

In brain imaging studies, the part of the brain that lights up when new parents are having these intrusive thoughts is the part of the brain that deals with vigilance and protectiveness, not violence.

One mom friend told me she had a recurring dream that her baby was lost in the bed, suffocating under the covers. She’d wake up to find herself physically digging through the sheets to find her son. Though her child is 12 now, she still shuddered thinking about it. Turns out, this is a nightmare so common that Nielsen gave it an acronym in his study: BIB (Baby in Bed) dream.

My friend shared this story after I told her about the nightmares that haunted me. In fact, all of my wonderfully oversharing friends (the same ones who happily swapped birth stories involving gory details of perineal tearing and post-birth constipation) neglected to mention anything about this extremely common and destabilizing symptom. It may be that they just didn’t want to think about it—after all, the dreams are so disturbing you’d rather forget about them immediately than re-hash them over a group text. But it could also be that there’s a stigma surrounding new mom nightmares—it’s not easy to share the disturbing visions you have about your baby.

“New moms who have really awful nightmares about their baby may worry that it makes them a bad mother or that it’s a premonition of something that might actually happen,” says Wendy Davis, PhD, the executive director of Postpartum Support International. But, says Davis, if we really understood what was going on with these nightmares, we wouldn’t feel so anxious about them. “What new parents don’t realize is how many of these difficult, scary images happen because you’re attached and bonding with your baby,” says Davis. “In brain imaging studies, the part of the brain that lights up when new parents are having these intrusive thoughts is the part of the brain that deals with vigilance and protectiveness, not violence.”

When you wake up after a nightmare, soothe yourself almost like you’d soothe your baby [using] a mantra such as “I’m having these dreams because I am attached and involved” or “Thank you, brain, for keeping my baby safe. We’ll talk about this in the morning.”

My nightmares, according to Davis, were likely an evolutionary adaptation. They are actually part of a cavewoman-era system designed to help me keep my baby safe, not a sign that anything was wrong with her—or me. Prehistorically this would lead to safer babies, but today it can lead to stressed-out parents. Nightmares can sometimes be a symptom of a bigger issue—postpartum anxiety, depression or even PTSD from a traumatic birth event (which happens to about 9 percent of women). But in most cases—including my own—they occur on their own, without any other symptoms. The good news, according to Davis, is that it’s possible to break the nightmare cycle—or at least get the right kind of support while you deal with it.

The first step is to take the research on these bad dreams to heart—know that they’re incredibly common and even a sign of healthy bonding with your baby. “If you can normalize it in your mind, you can take away some of the fear that comes with it,” says Davis. The second step is to talk to someone about your nightmares. If you’re not comfortable discussing them with a friend or partner, call a helpline (like the one offered by Postpartum Support International: 1-800-944-4773).

After—and only after!—you’ve told someone about your dreams, do anything you feel you need to do that related to the dream. “If you need to double-check your car seat latch or Google ‘chance of earthquakes in Minneapolis,’ then do it,” says Davis. “But once you have done that, your goal should be to calm down.” When you wake up after a nightmare, soothe yourself almost like you’d soothe your baby—Davis recommends a mantra such as “I’m having these dreams because I am attached and involved” or “Thank you, brain, for keeping my baby safe. We’ll talk about this in the morning.”

In my case, the nightmares started tapering off when my daughter was about eight weeks old and disappeared entirely a few weeks later. My first non-baby related dream—a jumbled narrative about a baseball game and sharing cotton candy with Jude Law and my middle school math teacher—was a huge relief. I was so happy to wake up without clenching my jaw and holding back tears. The next morning, as I nursed my baby and inhaled her powdery sweet scent, I could remember just a few nonsensical wisps of the dream and, really, that was fine by me.

Merritt Watts lives in San Francisco and has written for the Wall Street Journal and SELF.

If you’re dealing with postpartum stress, sadness, or want to talk about the adjustment to parenthood, please call Postpartum Support International at 1-800-944-4773, text them at 503-894-9453, or visit postpartum.net.