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Tokophobia support desperately needed.

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Wonderland99

New member
Joined
Jan 24, 2019
Messages
2
Location
England
I have had tokophobia for as long as I can remember, I recall being in primary school when I was about 10 years old and seeing a pregnant teacher, I looked over to my best friend and said "that's so awful, I would be terrified if I was her" and it has grown worse ever since. I was able to keep it under control for a while up until I was around 17 and I got a boyfriend. After that it felt like my anxiety and the severity of my phobia tripled overnight. I found myself hating hearing anything even remotely associated with pregnancy or childbirth, my heart would start pounding, I'd feel sick and I'd just want to cry. It has become so severe that just a picture of a baby or the mention of a baby or the slight mention of pregnancy and I can feel the anxiety hit me, I can't watch anything on TV with young babies or pregnant women, and absolutely cannot be around young babies at all, any sound from them whether it's a laugh, a cry or a slight gurgle and I feel the panic overwhelm me within seconds. Luckily my partner is very supportive and although he admits he'll never be able to fully know how I feel, he tries his best, and we have both agreed that neither of us want children, and that is not an issue at all. Despite me having tokophobia I have never been a maternal person, I have never looked at a baby and had a desire for one, however the anxiety and the phobia continues to destroy my life on a daily basis. I do not like children at all, this phobia has turned me into an extremely bitter person and the thought of childbirth not only panics me, but also now it makes me angry. I think its so unnatural even though it is quite the opposite, I think it's sickening that women must endure the pain and risk their life during child birth and I have even gone as far as to say a foetus is essentially a parasite. I have tried CBT a few times and am currently having counselling however it remains essentially ineffective. I am not on here to find a miracle cure as I don't believe there is such a thing, but I really would appreciate some support or hear any stories of other people feeling like this. The part that cripples me about this phobia is the anxiety that comes with it and how much it impacts my quality of life. You don't realise how much pregnancy and babies are around you until you try and avoid them, this phobia has caused me so many panic attacks, nightmares, leaving work early, calling in sick and arguments with my partner and my family. Most of this is because of how irrational I am on the subject of young babies and pregnancy, I cannot cope at all when my partner is around young babies or pregnant women and it's worse than if it were just me who was around them. Unfortunately because of his job, he is exposed to these things regularly and it is what causes me a lot of anxiety on a daily basis. This phobia has crippled almost every aspect of my life and I just need a place to hear some comforting words or advice, any input would be extremely appreciated. I don't want to change my mind on having children (as I have been told many times that I will), as I believe that not wanting children is a part of who I am, however finding a way to reduce the anxiety the phobia causes would be ideal.
 
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Lilia

New member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
1
Location
Eatonville WA
Hi Wonderland,

Last night a friend announced in my Bible study home group, extremely out of the blue, that they were pregnant. The question I'd been about to ask died instantly on my lips, and my mind and body froze. My husband told me later that I'd frowned "like someone had sh*t on my sandwich" (pardon his language! :) ). I looked around at everyone laughing and congratulating, saying it would be great, begging for details, making tired clichés about "something in the water" (this is the THIRD pregnancy in the group of about ten women in 2 months), and all I felt was panic. I was trapped in my sudden anxiety, helpless to do anything about it or to respond in any way appropriately. The instant it was over I grabbed my husband and my stuff and bolted to the car, where I cried and struggled to breath normally on the ride home. Nothing about this was rational or in any way within my control, and I think that's what makes it so terrifying each time. I tried, I TRIED to summon the proper reaction. I could have sworn I was smiling, but my husband said that it was very obviously forced and pained, and quickly replaced by that frown.

After this, I knew that I needed help, that whatever was going on isn't something that will just go away or, as my friends and family are so fond of reassuring me, will "be totally different when you have one of your own!" I went online and read around for quite a while, until the word "tokophobia" rolled across my screen. From the second I saw it, it resonated with me. The avoidance of babies, the anxiety and panic whenever pregnancy is discussed, the avoidance even of shows and movies that deal with pregnancy (Call The Midwife? NO!), the fear and horror associated with intimate doctor's visits, it's all there.

Literally since just last night, I've found a podcast that is really helping me understand what's going on in my head and body. It's called "Fear Free Childbirth," by Alexia Leachman, a therapeutic coach who lives in Nottingham. She also suffered from tokophobia, to the point that she was overwhelmingly relieved to miscarry her first baby. It was at that point she knew she needed to deal with this, and get help for it. She now has 2 kids of her own, and a wealth of knowledge and understanding in regards to tokophobia. She also offers group and individual counseling. I'd definitely recommend you start with her, and perhaps branch out to a counseling service in your area, unless you happen to live close to her!

I wish I could offer more relief, but I hope that the knowledge that you're not weird, you're not alone, and that I understand exactly what you're feeling will help a bit. Hang in there, and keep me posted if you discover anything that helps you in any way!

Blessings,

Lilia
 
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Wonderland99

New member
Joined
Jan 24, 2019
Messages
2
Location
England
Hi Lilia,

Thank you for your message and kind words, I’ll definitely be sure to check out that podcast. It’s extremely comforting to hear stories of other people who feel the same as me. Up until now I’ve never been able to find someone with similar feelings, so thank you for reaching out and letting me know that I’m not alone with how I feel.

I’m gonna keep fighting this and I’ll be sure to post anything that I find helpful or anything that might be useful to you Take care, and thank you again for sharing your story, it’s been very reassuring and helpful to me.

Wonderland
 
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