Pregnancy often brings with it an overloaded mind full of questions, worries, and fears. It’s only natural that we may feel anxious and concerned about the big things and the little things as our bodies do the most incredible thing.
Thoughts about miscarriage, worries about birth, fears surrounding the pain of childbirth, struggling through morning sickness, and questioning what kind of parent we’ll be, are only some of the thoughts that add fuel to an already blazing fire. When pregnancy is so unpredictable, how can we overcome these and all the other pregnancy fears we have?
Tokophobia is the extreme fear of being pregnant and giving birth. This fear can be disabling and lead people to avoid pregnancy even though they wish to have a family. Tokophobia is much more than the fears and worries many of us have, and yet the more common fears can be just as paralysing at times, considering the erratic nature of pregnancy. There are no two women who will experience pregnancy or birth in the same manner. At least 80% of us will experience some level of fear at some stage for one reason or another during pregnancy and childbirth. Managing these fears can be done in a few ways.
Educate Yourself – For every fear you have, there is a truth that can help balance that fear with a reality check. But make sure you get your advice and education from reliable sources. Don’t sit on Google when your antenatal class gives you the confidence and information you need.
Manage The Misconceptions – Pregnancy and birth are full of myths. The most prevailing being that women should be joyous and happy to be pregnant and that childbirth can be orgasmic. Manage your expectations by reminding yourself about what you have learnt about pregnancy and labour. Listen to the professionals who are there to support you.
Talk About Your Fears – Worrying in isolation will only help to amplify those fears. Talk to your health provider, midwife, or partner and share your concerns with them. No one can know to help and support you unless you open up to them.
When it comes to the extreme fears we feel with Tokophobia, women may need added support from a health professional, counsellor, or therapist. Fears surrounding pregnancy and birth are incredibly valid. Always remember that others may experience this the same way you do and can relate to your experience. Getting the guidance and consideration you need to have a positive birth experience is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself.