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“I Have a Phobia of Pregnancy” March 5, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Health.
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Pregnancy and birth are one of the most natural things on earth.  If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be here, after all.  And although childbirth does come with risks, thanks to advances in health and science, having a child is safer than it’s ever been before.

But for some women out there, childbirth is a terrifying fear.  The thought of pregnancy, or the act of giving birth, can seem so horrifying that it forces them to induce a miscarriage, take up multiple types of birth control, or stop them having a child altogether.

Of course, having a child is a choice, not an obligation.  For example, BWT often prefers cats to children.  They are so much cuter!  But to have any type of phobia control and hinder your life choices is a sad state of affairs indeed.

Such is the situation with Jessie Hewitson, who has tokophobia – the extreme fear of childbirth.  First identified in 2000 by Dr Kristina Hofberg, it is surprisingly common, affecting one in six women.

Hofberg separates sufferers into two categories: primary tokophobes, who fear childbirth before pregnancy, and secondary ones, whose fear is ignited by a traumatic birth.

Ms Hewitson writes: “What separates tokophobia from the usual anxieties of mothers-to-be is the depth of fear. Some tokophobes think they will die; others imagine something unbearable happening.  For many, the idea of a baby growing inside them is deeply unsettling.”

Psychotherapist Graham Price, who has treated many patients with the condition, states that: “severe tokophobes will go to extreme lengths to avoid pregnancy: they eschew long-term relationships or secretly take contraception while pretending to be trying for a family.” Some who are desperate for children get pregnant, but then terminate their pregnancies in utter panic. Others try to induce miscarriage by over-exercising, punching themselves in the abdomen or drinking and smoking. Tokophobes lose partners and husbands over the issue, and often feel judged by the people around them.

You can check out the full article over at the Guardian.  It’s an interesting read, and the comment section seems to be pretty split between sympathizers of tokophobia, and chastisers.  Either way, we hope that any woman who suffers from this can get the help and reassurance she needs.

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