The idea of something growing inside or having a baby move in the belly is the stuff of nightmares for many women.
It’s not all angels singing and babies coo-ing when some women imagine pregnancy. For many it’s downright terrifying and this is often one of their central fears.
Women that feel this way tend to suffer from what is known as tokophobia, the extreme or pathological fear of pregnancy and birth.
Some women with tokophobia fear pregnancy, and some fear the birth. For some it’s both. This often leads to the avoidance of pregnancy altogether, but the reality is much worst than that.
Avoidance of pregnancy
Avoiding pregnancy isn’t as easy as it sounds in today’s world.
Facebook will happily provide you with a non-stop stream of pregnancy and baby announcements in your feed, especially if you’re of ‘that age’.
Families and friends will not shy from asking you when you’ll be having a baby, especially if you’re of ‘that age’, or have recently gotten married.
You see, avoiding pregnancy isn’t just about the woman getting pregnant; it’s pregnancy itself. The very idea of pregnancy is triggering.
This means that anything that can lead to pregnancy will also be problematic for women like this. Sex is the obvious place to start and it is a problem. Many women I work with cannot enjoy sex because they are so terrified of what might happen. This can lead to becoming obsessed with birth control as they simply do not want to take any risks whatsoever. It also means that serious relationships are difficult for them.
One of the main things that happens during pregnancy is that a baby will grow inside the woman. Seems obvious enough, right? But this very idea carries so much more for the woman who suffers from tokophobia.
“The thought of something growing inside me terrifies me”
Something will grow inside of her. This living being will force her body to change in ways that she cannot control. Once the baby reaches a certain size, it will start to move. Once again, her body will be subject to the control of something other than her.
There are two main reasons why this is such an issue for women with tokophobia;
We hate not being in control
The first is around control. As human beings we don’t like not being in control. It threatens our very sense of survival. For many of us, this leads us to be being self-confessed control freaks. There’s nothing wrong with being a control-freak. In fact, control freaks achieve amazing things through their very nature and what it makes them. But it has a bad side too.
It means that if you’re not in control of something, you feel fearful. This fear comes from a sense of being out of control and the fearful mind likes to catastrophise. So it imagines worst case scenarios and this exacerbates the feeling of fear.
When it comes to the idea of something moving inside or something growing inside, the woman clearly is not in control. Nature is. Or the baby is.
We hate change
The other aspect that the idea of “something growing inside me” feeds into is our fear of change. Again, this is a fear that is very widespread among humans, not just women with tokophobia. We don’t like change or uncertainty. This is why the current challenging times we’re living in are causing so much stress and anxiety for people. Things are changing in ways we never even imagined not that long ago.
For the woman who suffers from tokophobia, her body will be changing and it’s change that she cannot control. Her body is likely to change in ways that are not reversible, and she has no idea whether that will be the case for her.
If she is someone who takes pride in her body and has a fitness routine, then the thought of her body changing can be terrifying for her.
There could be more going on for those who hate the thought of something growing inside or something moving inside, but these two are the usual culprits. If there is more going on then it will be specific to the woman herself and other feelings and fears she has.
When I work with women in helping them to overcome their tokophobia, this always comes up for them. It’s very common.
Once this fear is cleared, they are able to not give this any further thought and it simply ceases to bother them. Those who are pregnant go on to experience their baby moving inside them and when they do it makes them happy. They say that they are able to feel connected to their baby and as long as they feel movement they feel more assured that the pregnancy is going OK.
If you hate the thought of something growing inside you or something moving in your belly, the good news is that it’s easy to resolve. I do this with my clients by using the Head Trash Clearance Method. I share this in both my books Fearless Birthing and Clear Your Head Trash.
If you wanted us to work together on this then check out my Tokophobia Support Program, my specialised service where I work with women suffering from tokophobia to guide them along their fear-clearance journey to be free of tokophobia.
- Pregnancy anxiety and COVID - 18th February 2021
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- When the thought of losing control terrifies you - 9th November 2020