Pregnancy is a major event for women and although it is both normal and often desired, it is not uncommon to experience a degree of anxiety about the physical and emotional consequences of pregnancy and childbirth. This anxiety can get so severe it causes nightmares, panic attacks and phobic reactions. If this seems like you, you are not alone. Living with anxiety about pregnancy and birth can start in early childhood or may become noticeable over time. It can develop following a traumatic pregnancy, birthing experience or post natal depression, people who fear pregnancy or birth can have developed the fear after hearing stories of birthing experiences, watching films or from sex education lessons.
When anxiety becomes uncontrollable the severe phobic reaction is called Tokophobia. Tokophobia can be experienced by both women and men. The condition is not a modern phenomenon; it was medically described in the 1880s as ‘disorders of anxiety during pregnancy’ and took a further 200 years to find a word to describe an often unspoken fear that has been experienced by women throughout the ages.
Women (and men) living with Tokophobia describe disgust or dread of pregnancy or birth. Their anxiety can also include fears of: needles; vomiting; becoming a parent; death in childbirth etc, which can result in people being so terrified of pregnancy or birth they avoid it at all costs and in extreme cases they request sterilisation. This situation is particularly upsetting when a couple desperately want children.
Am I The Only Person With this Fear?
No. A study published by The Royal College of Obstetricians’ and Gynaecologists’ found that:
One in five women – when pregnant for the first time – reported extreme fear about childbirth.
Six per cent described the fear as ‘disabling’.
Almost one in seven of the 370 childless, non-pregnant women interviewed had a dread of childbirth which was serious enough to make them postpone or avoid pregnancy altogether.
How Will You Help Me?
I am a Psychotherapist and counsellor and one of few people to have specialised in Tokophobia, I have helped women overcome their fears and be in a position to choose whether or not to get pregnant and helped those who are pregnant have a calm birthing experience.
I provide a peaceful, confidential and accepting environment to overcome difficulties and help people find their inner strengths, and I can help you achieve these things too, all you need to do is ask, call me, Dawn Haworth on 07818 840 841 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start our journey, together.