In today’s day and age, many women are consciously making a decision to remain childless. It could be due to the pressure of earning and saving more, or maybe, they don’t want to bring a new life into a world they consider unsafe. The spectrum of reasons for not giving birth is a vast one. But, if you are a woman who fears the very process of pregnancy and childbirth – then you are suffering from tokophobia. If you too experience dread at the mere mention of childbirth – you are not alone. Read on how you can conquer tokophobia – the fear of giving birth.
Tokophobia can strike anyone, anytime. Maybe, as a child, you witnessed a woman in pain while giving birth. Or maybe you heard from the women in your house about how terrible it was to go through pregnancy and childbirth. Even the smallest incidences may have implanted the fear of childbirth within you. But overcoming tokophobia isn’t an impossible task. Here’s how you can do it.
Hire a Doula
It may be that you see childbirth as a painful and traumatic process because no one told you how natural yet scientific it is at the same time. Maybe no one was there to assure you that is normal to feel scared of childbirth – but this is a process that comes with a lot of science involved with it. A doula can do just that for you.
Doulas are women who have a degree in dealing with childbirth through evidence. They are the people you go to if you wish to clear any misconceptions about giving birth.
Sometimes, you will see a woman screaming at the top of her lungs while giving birth in a movie, and that will scare the wits out of you. But a doula will tell you that screaming while giving birth is an exaggerated move – neither required nor helpful.
Seek reproductive health therapy
Tokophobia leads you to believe that post childbirth (if you survive one), your health will simply continue to deteriorate. The mere mention of a C-section, being cut open or sewed back to life might be enough to make you sweat in terror. This is where reproductive health therapy can step in and assuage your fears.
A reproductive health therapist isn’t easy to find – since this therapy has just begun to bloom. But once you find just the right therapist for yourself, you will be happy that you tried searching for one. He/she can actively guide and educate you about the changes and risks associated with your health pre, during and post childbirth.
After all, if you can find enough assurance that you will survive childbirth and without risking your health doing the same, half of your irrational fear will dissipate in a few weeks.
Enroll yourself in a birth class
Tokophobia might be a result of the fact that you are dealing with an unknown phase of your life. You have never been in a hospital, never laid on the operation table – the operation lights glaring back at you, or never had your stomach ripped open/vagina dilated beyond comprehension to push a human out of your body.
But what if you have company – the support of people who are also entering the same unknown trajectory that you are? What if there is someone to educate you about the dos and donts of this daunting process?
Being familiar with the process of childbirth will only ease your tokophobia. Join a birth class and understand how can control and be in control of the pain that might grip you on the D day. Breathing techniques, light yoga and exercises and meditation will only help you overcome tokophobia.
Be calm and seek peace
If you are constantly anxious about childbirth, you are anyway not going to able to socialize. But you don’t want to completely isolate yourself either.
What you can do in such situations is that you can surround yourself with people who genuinely care about, can lend a patient ear to you, not criticize you for tokophobia, and provide positive guidance and love.
It is very crucial to be calm and peaceful whenever possible. Any person, place or event that poses a potential risk to your well-being should be avoided at all costs.
You are anyway scared about giving birth to a baby. Any negative intrusion in your life will only worsen your fears and hinder any growth you have made towards overcoming tokophobia.
Many women experience immense tokophobia, couple with an intense urge to become a mother. They do not fear that they won’t be good moms, rather, they were scared about handling the pain of giving birth. If you are someone who motherly instinct pops out every time you see a baby, but your brain goes into a panic every time you imagine yourself pushing the baby out of you – trust yourself.
Yes, it is hard and painful to give birth to a baby. But if you desperately want to cradle a small life in your arms, then you must trust yourself enough to handle your fear. You will get through this. What grips you is an irrational fear after all.
Giving birth isn’t the only to way to embrace motherhood
If you feel the urge to welcome motherhood into your life, but you are struggling with tokophobia – remember that giving birth isn’t the only way to become a mother. You can adopt a baby, or try surrogacy as well.
Maybe you can become a teacher and teach young kids. Or be a babysitter and spend time with the little bundles of joy. Motherhood is about caring for children – no matter where they come from. Do not let anyone invalidate your existence simply because you choose to remain childless due to tokophobia.
Overcoming tokophobia isn’t about being the perfect pregnant women and going through a painless delivery. It is about accepting childbirth for what it is – and if you are already pregnant, overcoming tokophobia is all about understanding that here, the destination is more important than the journey.