C.T. , June 11, 2018

"Tokophobia isn't something you can just 'change your mind' over; it's a crippling, 24 hour fear of childbirth."- C.T.

Tokophobia is a rare phobia of childbirth. I was unaware of it myself until I did some research, but people are not very understanding of it. I do not like children or babies because of it and a lot of people that I have encountered cannot understand this at all. It is beyond frustrating! I don’t want children of my own and this is another thing that people find hard to accept. Their go-to response is; ‘you’ll change your mind’ or ‘my daughter said the same thing and now she has three kids.’ They are the most hurtful things you could say. This phobia is crippling and affects me 24 hours a day. I want this to become more accepted and I want to bring more awareness of this topic.

I try to explain to people and although they can hear my words, they can never fully understand them. Although some will try, they never will. They can never feel how I feel. They will never feel the complete isolation or hear the hurtful comments, that people don’t even realise or mean to be hurtful. For example, my friend seemed disgusted when I told her and just couldn’t wrap her head around it, saying: ‘I thought we’d both have kids and they would be best friends.’ Other reactions include people laughing in my face and telling me I ‘should be in a mental place.’ I keep trying to explain but it’s so draining when you feel like no one can actually hear you. I feel trapped - trapped in a world where I don’t feel I belong; where I don’t feel I fit in. 

This phobia has turned me into a person that I don’t want to be - into a person that I hate. I am so bitter. The bitterness consumes every inch of my body. I don’t feel emotions like I once did. What’s sympathy? I don’t feel that anymore, not really. I want to fit in! Although it may seem on the outside like I do, like I’m just another person, I know that my inner feelings and thoughts are not the same as everyone around me. I don’t want to see the disgusted looks on people’s horrified faces, when I disclose this ‘demon’ I have to them. I don’t want to feel how I feel. I’m so scared. I’m scared all the time and it never goes away. 

I see everyone’s happy faces when they hear a baby laughing, or when they see a baby smile. They love it! But me? My heart drops into my stomach and I feel sick. I just want that noise to stop. I hate it! I hate it so much. And then…I want to cry and scream and yell and run as far away as I can. Why? Because as I look around at everyone else's faces, it sinks in how much of a freak I must be. I don’t feel what they feel. I feel anxiety, hatred and bitterness. I don’t feel strong anymore; all I feel is broken. Even my family were very difficult to educate on this matter and would often say hurtful digs like; ‘I don’t know why you turned out like this’, but thankfully most of them are now very supportive.

If people could be more sensitive of this matter, instead of just impulsively reacting as if it is a rather strange phobia, it would help a lot. Even asking more questions about it would be better than criticising and judging.

I’d love to hear if anyone else has similar feelings, or phobias. 

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You're not a freak

I am sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time. I know that your phobia is on another level, but I wonder if it might help if you look online at groups of people who don't want children. I know there's a lot of people out there who are in that position and though it's not as extreme as the pain you are feeling, it might be comforting to see that there's millions of people who don't see the world in the closed baby-centred way it must seem to you sometimes that everyone else does. I am horrified by the idea of having children and the sound of a crying child in the street below my window distresses me so much I cry or get very angry. As a woman nearing 30 I feel unable to admit the extent of my feelings to my loved ones as they have reacted in the ways you have described. I don't want to minimise your struggle by telling you about my life, just want you to know there's plenty of people who understand. Be proud of who you are, unique people have much more to give.

You're not alone

CT, You're not alone. I don't want kids. It's not just I don't want them, the thought of ever being pregnant makes me so terrified that I once told a doctor if I got pregnant I would kill myself rather than have the baby. I feel physically repulsed at the thought to the point I'm scared I'd mutilate myself if it were ever to happen. I'm better around kids now, though I by no means enjoy their company and will avoid them at all costs. The comments wear you down so, so much. I know I will never 'change my mind' because of what I've said above but I've started just saying I can't have children. When it comes to the practical side I am the contraceptive patch but also use condoms. I'm currently trying to fight for sterilisation but because I'm young I'm not taken seriously. You're not alone, I've got better from speaking about it. Explain it's a phobia, it's not unnatural and your worth is not defined by your ability to procreate. I sincerely hope you feel better or more able to cope in the future.

Heartfelt and interesting

Heartfelt and interesting article bringing light to what I imagine is a little known topic. Thanks for sharing this with us

Your phobia is not your fault

Thanks for sharing your story! I may not have heard about such a rare phobia before but I can definitely imagine how you must feel. I love children but your damn right they can be creepy at times. I have bipolar disorder and "fitting in" has been a problem all my life. One thing that keeps me going is remembering the simple fact that it's not my fault. And neither is your phobia. And about freaks...well I never met one I didn't like! I appreciate how harrowing your situation might be, but honestly what I just read is simply fascinating. I'll make sure to talk to people about Tokophobia to raise awareness in my limited capacity.

Phobias - just plain horrific.

I have a phobia. My phobia is that bad it's a struggle to even type what it is and how I feel about it because when I do start to talk about it, it becomes real, and it is real, and regardless of anything my phobia IS going to happen to me. My phobia is the end of life, my end of life when everything just stops. I can't say the 'D' word - it's too brutal. I don't want to leave my family, I don't want to leave my husband and my children, I can't bear the thought that one day I won't be there for them and share their lives. It's too painful for me to comprehend. Like others, you get the comments from people..."it happens to us all....enjoy it while you can...you need something more fulfilling in your life....." stop talking about it! Then there are the adverts about plans to pay for it all, I could actually throw up too when these come on the TV. What next, how can you just not be there, why does your body just give up? It's too much to bear some days and then the palpatations begin and slight panic attacks. I don't feel I can get help for my phobia, what's the point, it's going to happen to me anyway....

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