Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder where one has a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Discuss topics including social phobias, claustrophobia and treatment options.
Primary Tokophobia (fear of pregnancy)- support groups?
I have been with my partner for about 5 years (we are both approaching 30), but recently he has expressed an interest in starting a family in a few years time.
The problem is I have never wanted children and suffer from a serious fear of pregnancy so even if I wanted them, I am not sure I could go through with a pregnancy. My fear is so bad that even being around a pregnant women I begin to suffer "sympathy pains" (back ache, stomach cramps, dizziness/sickness etc) or anxiety attacks.
To be clear I am not about to have a child just to please my partner, but I dont want my fear to rule out us having them if we *both* decide its something we want in the future.
I have read that Cognitive Therapy can help with this condition, but I am not yet ready to approach my GP to request a referral as I get tearful even thinking about it and it would be an awful waste of their time for me to take such help right now- I want to connect to other people who suffer the same condition and hear their experiences etc.
Are there any online support groups specifically for this condition? Since I never planned upon having children, I have never had to try and address this fear before and googling has turned up nothing particularly helpful.
Hi lady, Did have a look as well, and under fear of pregnancy support groups uk, google it, have a look at baby and bump, its something, but at the end of the day if this is not your scene, then its about time you told your long therm b/f, but you really need to sit down with him, and put your cards on the table, and tell him that your far to afraid to go through with a pregnancy, as it would just drive you crazy, now if he is the man, then he should go along with what you want, because its your body and not his, along with your fears.
And if he's the real thing then he should back down.
thank you for your reply and for your encouragement- I will have a look at that forum.
I have told him about my fear of pregnancy, I just don't think he full understands that its a genuine phobia, as opposed to simply being nervous at the idea. We have had a good few discussions about it and he isnt about to leave me over it, nor try to pressure me into it which takes a lot of pressure off.
Now I guess its up to me to see *if* its an issue I can overcome, regardless of if children are wanted or not.
I just discovered this term tokophobia earlier today, and am a bit relieved to see that it's not just me. My fiancees mother makes it very clear that she's VERY unhappy with me that I don't want kids and often asks my fiancee if I'm the right choice for him, that since I don't want kids I certainly couldn't want a solid relationship and it'll just end in divorce, my own mother has said much the same things, stating that a childless marriage is bound to end in divorce. Even before I had a word for my fear, my fiancee agreed to have a vasectomy to be supportive, but he often gets irritated with my fear and over the top disgust with child birth and pregnancy. No one understands and even doctors and friends are always telling me it's just because I'm so young, I'm 24 and that I'll change my mind in a few more years. No one understands it though, I'm scared to death of the idea of ever becoming pregnant, and even though my fiancee has had a vasectomy I'd still rather have him use a condom and me take birth control pills, I'f rather die than be pregnant. I'm tokophobic to the extreme and have no support, but am always made to feel bad that I don't want kids. I've even begged my OBGYN in the past to have an elective hysterectomy or even partial hysterectomy I don't care what it costs, anything to ensure no pregnancy, but they wont do it by request. I've asked to have my tubes tied, but again the wont do it by request and especially not because of my young age and say that it's only an option they offer to women that have already had 2 children and have to have their partners written permission to have the procedure done anyway. I've told everyone, even doctors, if I ever got pregnant I'd kill myself, but no one takes it seriously stating that I'm just over reacting, it's the most wonderful thing and that if it ever happens to me my body hormones would change and I'd love it, I feel like no one is listening to my fears. No one gets it. If a pregnant woman walks into a room I'm in, I'm already uneasy, and if she starts talking about it, I want to leave the room. I don't want to see it on TV or magazines or anything. Aside from that I also have vasovagal syncope where I blackout REALLY easy with anything under my skin, especially needles. If I get a splinter under my skin I will get a knife or razor blade and work furiously trying to cut it out of my skin, if anything that I wasn't born with is under my skin, I freak out, I cant stand the sight of blood and have panic attacks with needles. There's no way I could ever handle pregnancy and don't want kids, I don't even like infants at all. Yet I feel pressured from everyone, like I'm a bad person, a bad woman for not wanting to have a kid with my fiancee. To try and compromise I offered the idea of maybe adopting a kid around the age of about 7, an age that I can at least tolerate kids, with the idea that there's already a lot of kids that don't have homes, might as well adopt, but it's no use, everyone still gives me a hard time and makes me feel like crap for not wanting a natural born child, stating it shows a lack of commitment on my end.
I understand everything you have written- I decided at the age of 11 I never wanted to have children and am now 27 and still 100% adament I dont want them.
With regards to your doctor not listening, you might find that asking to go on a waiting list for councilling is beneficial - they cant say you are overreacting, mental health is as important as physical health.
I dont know where in the world you are, but in the UK you can over your tubes tied, albeit not very easily. I can't imagine ever needing my partners "permission" for something like that- it feels very oppressive as if you somehow belong to him, which just isnt the case.
I'm in the United States. Life here isn't as great as some people in other countries seem to think. It's especially hard dealing with the stigma that people put on you if you want to be married and not have kids. I hate it so much. Being female just *****, period.
I am in the north of england, uk. I have the same problem. I am terrified at the thought of being pregnant, giving birth, and having children / having a baby that is mine to look after and always have been since I was a child myself. To the extent that I now have gone off sex as well which is adding to the distress and just makes me cry sometimes.
I'm not sure exactly where the fear came from, maybe sex ed books when I was young, combined with being an only child so never saw my mum pregnant or had sisters to do it before me to learn from. When I was a teenager I actually got pregnant and had a termination but this fear / problem was here way before that happened. I also was so much in denial at the time because it was so terrifying, if I think about it, it feels like it happened to someone else and not to me.
Now I am approaching 30 and have been with my partner a few years. We have never brought up the subject but I am worried he will want kids one day and that I will not be able to give that to him. Also I do think about when I'm 60, if its just me and him and no kids - will we be lonely / regret it?
I am having counselling (for this and general depression / anxiety) but I can't seem to shift this feeling of terror about it. I wish I could.
Maybe its just not meant to be for me. I am terrified of having the conversation with my partner tho as he means the world to me.
Every word you have said to describe your phobia is EXACTLY what i feel.
I am not married yet, and i try hard to avoid long term relationships cause i feel my partner would one want kids, and then the pain of heartbreak will be unbearable cause i know i could never do it.
And you couldnt be more right about the fact that NO ONE understands, they throw sh*t at me instead, with insulting statements like "women have done it for millions of years" or "you'll change your mind".
I too feel nauseous when i see pregnant women, i can't stand them. Neither can i stand watching movies, tv shows with pregnant women, especially childbirth scenes. I have to leave the room, and even so...i even cry once i've left.
I feel childbirth is the most barbaric thing on earth, and wonder how people can be happy when watching a woman scream her lungs out, and see her face contorted in pain.
I do not feel this feeling is abnormal, in fact i consider people who do find childbirth 'beautiful' to be sadists, barbaric misogynists.
I have tried counseling, but my therapist dismissed my fears, and made me feel unworthy cause women should WANT to go through that kind of torture to have kids.
I wish there were support groups for women like us. I haven't met a single other person who shares my feelings, and it is very lonely, frustrating and depressing.
I don't know about any support groups, but it was really a relief to find this post and know that there are women like me out there. I have always felt alone in my fear of pregnancy too. Ever since I was a teenager, I felt very uncomfortable around pregnant women, and I knew I never wanted to go through that ordeal. I don't like children either, and usually have to leave the room when they're around. My last relationship ended because I didn't want to have children. Now my younger sister is pregnant, and she is really upset with me because I don't want to hear about her numerous pregnancy symptoms or see her swollen belly. I have never had counseling for this, because I knew that no amount of counseling could make me want to have children. However, now I am considering it to help me deal with my sister's pregnancy. Has anyone else hear had tokophobia put a strain on your relationship with a close friend/relative who is pregnant?
My sister has just announced she is pregnant so I know exactly what you are going through. I have straight out told her about my fear of pregnancy in the hope that she wont take offence to me distancing myself a little. Only time will tell if it has worked.
I am considering starting a tokophobia support forum since I haven't been able to locate one but have found that there are enough women who suffer this for it to be worth the trouble. I will update this thread once I have done so.
Thank you for your words. I feel exactly the same, i went through a divorce already, and now i am 35 the last age to have kids, but still I dont want them, i am terribly scared about the idea of being pregnant, but not only that I cant see myself as a mother I really dont want kids. I dont like them, I live in Guatemala, which is a latin, closeminded city, so it is great to finally find someone who understands exactly what is like to be different, and neither accepted nor understood. If any one like me reads this post please write me; ***@****
Let me give you all some insight. I was 12 years old when I decided I was not having any children, no discussion of the issue. It cost me three great relationships, influenced the choice of the man I married (bad selection, we divorced), and the decision caused me great grief from family members, parents, friends and the community in general. I am now over 50, single, no kids, no partner, no husband, only one other living relative. It's extremely difficult when your older family members die and you are alone, but I would rather face this situation that commit suicide rather than go through a pregnancy. Pregnancy is barbaric, disgusting, abusive, disfiguring, mutilating and it reminds me of an animal slaughter, actually. You DO NOT have to have a baby if you do not want to do so. Stand incredibly firm, and be willing to lose relationships and irritate and fight with your family members if necessary. Remember, parents will be furious and hurt when they figure out that you mean business and they are not going to have any grandchildren. I was emotionally smacked around for 17 years over this decision, and I still know it was the right thing for me. You will pay a high price, but it was either no children or I was going to kill someone else and then kill myself if pregnant, and I meant what I said. I finally convinced people I would be happy to endanger them and/or their children if they kept pushing the subject. I didn't plan to act on it, but they believed me, and that finally shut them up. You have a right to do what you want with your own body, and it is nobody else's business. I had to tell a few loudmouths I would kill their children and myself before I would go through a pregnancy, and that shuts them up. Scares the hell out of doctors, too, for the legal liability. DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. But understand, there is a price to pay. I am totally alone now, and I will likely be totally alone for 20-30 years. Be prepared. I'm dealing with the loneliness now, and it is no picnic, but it beats the hell out of suicide 25 years or so ago, because that was the plan if I got pregnant and couldn't have an abortion. Pregnancy disgusts me no end. I deserved better, and I got it. Let someone else be used by a parasite. Not for me.
Something happened when you were twelve that caused you to make a very weighty decision, do I have the right impression? I'm sorry you were unable to get the help you needed back then for whatever it was you were going through.
The violence you reveal in your vehemence against pregnancy, to the point of willingness to take the life of someone else, yourself, and your unborn child demonstrates you are in intense need spiritually and emotionally. Let me know by private message if you would be interested in learning about the One Who is able to help you.
Disgust and fear of pregnancy are two very different things. The low value you place on human life is sad. You have chosen loneliness for this life, but I hope you will come to know what it is like to be loved by God and not choose loneliness anymore.
"Disgust and fear of pregnancy are two very different things"
I would have to disagree, fear/disgust manifest themselves very similarly. I know for me, the idea of a parasite feeding of me is disgusting, but equally, the idea of something growing inside of me is a terrifying idea.
Regardless of whether her hatred of pregnancy and children is driven by fear or disgust, doesn't change that it is her body and her life. Threats against other people may feel extreme to somebody on the outside, but its a fight or flight response- a threat to show people how serious she is very different to actually not valuing human life.
It would be a real relief if you did start a support forum. I have always wanted to connect with people who shared my views on this subject.
I have tried talking to many friends, some directly, some indirectly...easing into the subject, but i back away once i realise they dont feel the way i do. Its disheartening :(
Lately, my boyfriend's bestfriend and his girl just had twins, and they were all on me to be next in line to have babies. I left and burst into tears in the bathroom. That incident sent me into an abyss of suicidal depression. :(
Oddly enough, sometimes i do wish i could have kids, but even so, i would only if GUARANTEED a C-section. I mean GUARANTEED! I sometimes fear that even if i found a doctor who'd agree to an elective C-section, i feel they will trick me and not go through with it and wait till i go into labour and force me to have a vaginal delivery. UGH :'(:'(.
This may sound stupid and unprofessional, but i do think most doctors are unsympathetic.
Anyway, I cannot take anymore ridicule from the world. I think women like us need a platform to voice our feelings and not be judged..
I COMPLETELY understand EVERYTHING in this thread.
I am a woman, 24 years old, and suffer from extreme disgust with pregnancy. I can't stand the thought of something growing inside me, for all the reasons stated above. I've tried talking to my mother, my grandmother, my friends, my doctor, and no one listens. No one understands. I've been saying since I was 8 years old that I'd never have children, but everyone always tells me I'm melodramatic, I don't know what I'm saying, I'm selfish, immature, irresponsible, don't want to grow up, I'll change my mind when I'm older, when I meet the right man, etc.
I'm in a long-term relationship with a man who (thankfully) is the only one who seems to understand my fear and not treat it as some sort of childish notion. Luckily for me, he's not interested in having children either, and offered to have a vasectomy, but I want to be the one to be fixed. I feel like somehow if I have my tubes tied or my uterus removed, it will get rid of my fear somehow, and I'll feel some relief. I've begged my doctor on several occasions for an operation but she's refused on the grounds that "I'm too young." I live in Canada and I don't need my partner's permission to do it, but the doctors still won't do it anyway.
I'm considering counselling. Has anyone on this thread tried it? Has it worked for you?
I'm in Canada too.
I've tried counselling twice.. it didnt help me. I already have really horrific videos, pictures and stories of horror births lodged into my brain.
I dont mind trying counselling again. But i think it would mainly help to divert my mind, ease my depression, tolerate other pregnant women around,etc. I doubt it can help rid this fear completely.
I keep equating birth with someone stabbing my vagina with a knife repeatedly, then tearing it apart, slicing me...for hours.. and me not ever passing out from the pain and bleeding, but being conscious ...screaming, yelling, suffering...UGGH. Sorry, i got into graphic details.
But i feel like i'm the only "logical" person out there. Who wouldn't fear something horrendous like that.
Hi, i'm really glad I've found this. I'm slightly different, I had a daughter at 18. I'm not 27 and married, my husband is desperate to have one of his own although he is my daughters 'Dad' in every way apart from DNA. Her sperm donor, as I like to think of him, has no interest whatsoever. I am petrified of going through it all again, it was horrific the first time round and I've blocked out the first 2 and a half years of her life due to my serious depression and being on my own.
I'm looking for some help to get over this fear, i'm not against having another child but the thought of carrying it and labour and birth make me feel physically sick and often scared to the point of tears. If anyone has found anything that helped I would love to give it a try. I also found out recently that I have endometriosis which means I can't put it off much longer without risking becoming infertile! I hope some of you have managed to find help! Thanks in advance for any help!
I'm 29, married, love kids and have always wanted some... but the idea of pregnancy is abhorrent and deeply revolting to me. Earlier in my life, when I said things like "pregnancy grosses me out!" everyone assured me that that would change someday, and I would know when I was "ready." Well, I'm ready for kids now, have been for months at least, but the thought of letting some alien parasite live inside my body is still not something I can deal with. I get sick and upset just thinking about it.
I've had nightmares several times where I'm looking in a mirror and suddenly see that I'm pregnant, and in the dream I immediately run screaming for a knife. I can't imagine not doing that in real life - I literally can't envision trying to go about my business violated and hijacked in that way. I think I would panic and freak out and do violence.
Family members have suggested things like meditation or willpower or counseling, and that always makes me feel upset and sorta betrayed - what I think is: you're telling me you *want* me to try and allow this disgusting self-stealing thing to happen to me?? Do you not value me at all?
So I tell them I'm going to look into therapy options, but that's a lie. My revulsion at the thought of being unable to eat and sleep and feel normally *because there's some creature nesting in me* is so deep-seated that any successful "therapy" would amount to brainwashing: making a fundamental change in me that I don't want.
I think my family is just going to have to accept it. (Husband's mostly on board already, thank God. Says he's willing to look into surrogacy or adoption if I "can't get past this.")
I'm just very glad to see I'm not alone in this. Most people are not very understanding.
I feel exactly the same (especially the first 3 posts). I live in the UK. I have the problem my boyfriend never considered not having kids until he feel in love with me and he gets so upset about the concept of choosing between us we can't effectively talk about it, I feel so bad it hurts him so much. I've never liked babies. I can't even look a baby in the face and like to be at least 1 metre away from them at all times, and hate the noise. They all look like aliens to me. So there is no way I can even think about carrying one inside me. I feel like the only person I know who feels like this, everyone thinks I'm a freak. I have never really liked kids even though I used to child-sit for friends because I can treat them as adults. the many years I went off children completely. In the last 2 years I had a boyfriend that had 2 kids (3 & 4 years) and started to try to face fears and communicate with them. So my boyfriend I'm with now of 1 and half years has 5 year old niece that I get on with now that I have faced that fear but he is pretty clever for his age, anything younger I don't like, any'thing' 'without a brain' is how I put it. I have tried cognitive therapy for other anxietys I have, not terribly successful but helps I guess. I don't think it can help with this though. So far all I have said to my current boyfriend is that I will try to get over it so we can maybe have a surrogate but thinking of having 'it', a baby, in my house terrifies me.
I'm in the exact same boat. I'm 27 and for as long as I can remember I never desired to have children one day. The idea of getting pregnant and having kids feels like a prison or death sentence to me. I fear a lot of things from my body changing, it wiggling around inside me (kicking), labour pains, blood, being ripped in two, the constant screaming and never being left alone for a second, and breast feeding.
I don't even like kids and never got on with them. I want a quiet life and knowing that will all change once I have kids.
I do get frustrated because no one understands and I fear I'll forever be alone. A relationship will inevitably end if you and your partner want different things, especially having a family or not one day. I recently dated the guy of my dreams, who was very vocal about wanting to be a father one day and loves his nephews. He is very broody. At the back of my head I knew this relationship would never last. He even asked how I felt about kids to which I replied with "I'm ambivalent"... Anyway, I really wish I was normal and like everyone else, not some freak. I can't even watch movies with birth scenes without feeling like I'm going to vomit and have panic attacks. I feel faint when I hear my friends talk about their experiences. I wonder if I'll ever be normal or actually meet a guy who doesn't want kids either, but that is very hard to find.. They don't have to do all the leg work!!
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