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To think tokophobia isn't a phobia but a normal reaction to the horror of childbirth

(183 Posts)
TeenTitans Thu 25-Apr-19 23:02:43

And that the classification of it as a phobia is another symptom of society dismissing women's valid concerns as hysteria?

Even the most straight forward birth is still objectively awful. It's a large object being forced out of a small vagina. There are people who say they had a great birth but I highly doubt it would be up there with a romantic meal out, a good book or riveting film on anyones list of "fun things I'd like to be doing later".

Being afraid or repulsed by it seems very logical and classing women as mentally ill for voicing this isn't okaym

ssd Thu 25-Apr-19 23:04:12

I agree with you, who invented this word, a man??

BertrandRussell Thu 25-Apr-19 23:06:59

There’s a difference between rational fear that you feel but doesn’t stop you doing stuff and a phobia which does.

TwitterQueen1 Thu 25-Apr-19 23:10:14

For a small number of women it is a very real phobia and, like other phobias, it should not be minimised. I think most people are afraid of childbirth to some extent but that's not the same as being phobic about it.

I wouldn't say that being repulsed by childbirth is either normal or logical though.

BelulahBlanca Thu 25-Apr-19 23:12:00

I don’t believe in it. It’s the scariest, most painful, awe inspiring thing most of us do. I think to say you have a phobia of it minimises what’s so many women do each day.

Fatted Thu 25-Apr-19 23:13:04

Just what BertandRussell said.

Most women will naturally admit they are/were scared of giving birth. But recognise it's a necessary evil and it doesn't go onto prevent them having children or a natural birth.

I don't like spiders or heights, but neither of these things would prevent me from carrying on with my daily life, however unpleasant the situation may be. A phobia of either would.

OwlinaTree Thu 25-Apr-19 23:15:06

I was nervous about giving birth but even after going through it I wouldn't say I was repulsed by it, and I wouldn't say many women I've spoken to would say that either.

Tolleshunt Thu 25-Apr-19 23:17:14

I agree with Bertrand. It is natural (sensible, even), to be apprehensive about birth. Those with Tokophobia are so terrified of it, however, that they just cannot face it, to the point that they will avoid pregnancy, despite desperately wishing for a child, unless they can get a C section, and/or receive effective therapy.

I don't find it offensive or patronising that it has a specific term. On the contrary, I see this as a positive thing, as it reflects official recognition that Tokophobia is a real issue, that requires treatment.

Glitteryfrog Thu 25-Apr-19 23:21:14

I think I probably have Tokophobia. I don't want to have children and I'm scared/terrified of being pregnant and giving birth.
I'm not sure where the 'no fucking way am I putting my body through that, there is potential I could die' starts and the 'I'm not maternal and don't want to have children' ends. The two are very closely linked.

EvilEdna1 Thu 25-Apr-19 23:21:27

I am an antenatal teacher and have spoken hundreds of women about their births. Lots of women have described their birth as positive, some even as amazing and wonderful. Some even as not painful. Some of said it was horrendous and traumatising too. Most women describe it as something in the middle.

Tokophobia is much more than feeling anxious or even fearful about birth. It's a paralysing fear which prevents women having children in some cases.

SailorJerry13 Thu 25-Apr-19 23:23:22

I would say I DO have a phobia of being pregnant again and/or giving birth.

I was highly nervous before I had my only child, never wanted to be pregnant or give birth - asked for a c section but was refused (fair enough, although my rational brain was not working then!) I spent my entire pregnancy on high alert terrified about the end, hoping somehow, someone else would do the birthing part.

I can’t beae to see photos of child birth, read other peoples experiences, hate looking at newborns. Can’t bear it all.

I had a straightforward birth, in a pool as it seemed the most ‘relaxing’. As it happened I felt how a person would during any high stress situation, like dealing with the aftermath of a car crash, I got through it because I had to. - as it happened I told myself - never, never never never again.

Obviously midwives, friends and family have all shrugged my views off with ‘everyone thinks that!’ (...but they all go on to have another)

No way. I tried it. I was terrified, and now I know what happens I am even more terrified and will never ever do it again. When my DD is a bit older I am going to look into sterilisation as I’m sick of fretting over birth control!

FireBum Thu 25-Apr-19 23:25:14

I have tokophobia and I can assure you it's very real.

Some things -
I hated every single minute of pregnancy. I didn't feel wow I'm growing something, I felt like a had a parasite(s) in me.
In hindsight I wish we had tried to get a surrogate.
I had a cs. The thought of a vaginal birth made me want to abort.
I didn't BF, the thought of that disgusts me.
My best friend is pregnant and she knows and understands so would never ask me to touch her pregnant stomach or anything.
It makes me feel sick.

This is how I feel about pregnancy. I have 2 DC, twins, I would not do pregnancy twice. I love my DC, and I'm an awesome parent.

But pregnancy, horrendous thought.

Redinthefacegirl Thu 25-Apr-19 23:26:12

I disagree on several counts.

Firstly, of course it is possible to have a pathological fear of childbirth beyond the normal level of apprehension felt by most women.

Secondly, I've had 2 amazing births (I feel very lucky). I felt empowered by childbirth and loved the experience. You can highly doubt it as much as you like OP but it's still true.

Planetian Thu 25-Apr-19 23:27:38

My friend would theoretically like to have children some day, but she most likely won’t have any because she has a serious fear and disgust of all things related to childbirth. It’s very sad actually. It’s a real thing and very much impacts her life.

TeenTitans Thu 25-Apr-19 23:28:12

I'm not dismissing the feelings of women with tokophobia. I have a diagnosis of this myself, and I relate to the feeling described above of hating pregnancy and being unable to look at photos of birth.

What I'm trying to say is that I think it's far more logical to feel this way than to think birth is fine and okay, when you think about what it actually is.

Planetian Thu 25-Apr-19 23:29:28

Oh and while I was definitely traumatized by DD1s birth - I was on a high during/after DD2’s birth and found it incredibly empowering and not traumatizing at all. So it doesn’t always have to be traumatic for everyone.

Nothininmenoggin Thu 25-Apr-19 23:30:41

Tocophobia is a very real condition. Many women have a fear of child birth but for a smaller minority this fear is overwhelming. Some women avoid getting pregnant altogether so great is that fear or others will terminate their pregnancy . It can involve fear of the pregnancy itself, the fear of losing their privacy/ dignity. They may have been sexually assaulted or had traumatic hospital experiences resulting in lack of confidence in hospital staff. Tocophobia can also develop in subsequent pregnancies where the previous labour was traumatic resulting in PTSD. These women should not be judged but given support and factual information regarding their pregnancy and plans for labour be they high or low risk pregnancies. If unable to mentally cope with labour it is best for them and their baby that an elective caesarean section is offered.

FireBum Thu 25-Apr-19 23:31:48

Also in case people aren't sure. Wanting to be a parent and wanting to be pregnant are 2 entirely different things. I wanted to be a parent. If they could just been given to me when they were minutes old without the pregnancy bit that would have been perfect.

Even the word make me feel a bit queasy so I won't type any more.

BertrandRussell Thu 25-Apr-19 23:33:09

But for most people birth is OK. Not the way you might choose to spend a weekend, but OK. And certainly not repulsive.

TeenTitans Thu 25-Apr-19 23:34:21

Wanting to be a parent and wanting to be pregnant are 2 entirely different things. I wanted to be a parent. If they could just been given to me when they were minutes old without the pregnancy bit that would have been perfect.

Yes those are my thoughts too.

TeenTitans Thu 25-Apr-19 23:36:31

Even if it's okay, it's still objectively unpleasant isn't it? There is no way having half period half stomach bug type cramps resulting in something large shooting out your vagina is ever going to be an objectively pleasant experience

BertrandRussell Thu 25-Apr-19 23:38:05

It’s not objectively pleasant, no. But not repulsive or unpleasant.

FireBum Thu 25-Apr-19 23:38:11

and that's why I had (and others like me should be offered) a CS.

BattenburgIsland Thu 25-Apr-19 23:38:31

I think it's on a spectrum.
I work in mental health and many illnesses do not 'exist' in the black and white way you are suggesting.. it's just that attitudes at the far end of a spectrum will merit a diagnosis because they are seriously negatively effecting someones life.
So yes it is natural to be afraid and even sometimes extremely afraid... but if it's seriously damaging your life (for example you long for a child but are terrified of falling pregnant because of the prospect of childbirth, or you have fallen pregnant and are seriously considering ending it or harming yourself and/or the baby because you cannot face childbirth) then it could merit a diagnosis so that hopefully you can get some help.

FireBum Thu 25-Apr-19 23:38:47

I find it repulsive.

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