Overcoming tokophobia is the kind of thing that can change your life, and yet for many it seems out of reach . Tokophobia is the extreme fear of pregnancy and birth. It is rumoured to affect up to 20% of women so you would think that it was reasonably well known and that help was available. But it isn’t, and help or support is hard to come by.
I used to have tokophobia but I never realised that it was a thing. I just thought that I was weird and alone in feeling that way. This didn’t help my mental state, but it also made it hard for me to seek help for it. The problem with tokophobia is that because there is such a lack of awareness of it, if you do suffer from it, it can be hard to share how you’re feeling openly. Owning up to being scared of pregnancy and birth is often met with comments that merely shrug it off or people who just don’t seem to underdtand. It’s rarely taken seriously and yet, the impact that it can have on women IS serious. Since overcoming tokophobia myself, I now work with a lot of tokophobic women on their journey to overcoming tokophobia and I hear many stories that would shock you.
Some women choose to have repeated abortions of babies they want because this is easier for them than to face being pregnant and giving birth. Others have broken up serious relationships – with men that they adore – because they can’t go through with pregnancy and birth, even though that’s what they want. Some women sabotage their relationships as soon as they start getting serious, because they dread “that conversation”. So you see, tokophobia is serious, and overcoming tokophobia for women like this would be a big friggin’ deal. Life-changing!
The sad thing in all of this is this: overcoming tokophobia IS possible but many tokophobic women just don’t know about it. This lack of awareness is in part due to the overall lack of awareness of tokophobia itself. Even if you choose to speak to a healthcare professional about it, they probably won’t fully understand it, let alone be able to point you in the directiopn of help.
When I succeeded in overcoming tokophobia, I didn’t realise that what I had done was such a big deal. It was only after my second birth, that it started to dawn on me. I was receiving emails from friends of friends who asked me how I did it. The thing is sharing how I did it, isn’t a quick email reply. The emails I was responding with were pretty long (and I was breast-feeding a newborn at the time!). Within a short space of time, the emails became a bit too much. So much so that I decided that writing a book would be quicker. Which is what I did (Fearless Birthing: how to have a stress-free pregnancy and a positive fear-free birth – out soon!). This lead to my podcast and all of my Fear Free Childbirth work.
I’ve since worked with lots of women all over the world in helping them to clear their fears and prepare for birth. What’s clear to me is that a fear of childbirth isn’t just limited to those women with tokophobia – a lot of women have it. It’s just that the women with tokophobia have it much worse. But the good news is that when it comes to clearing fears, the fear-clearance techniques aren’t choosy; a fear is a fear, whether it’s a strong one or a weak one. The approach is still the same. Overcoming tokophobia is possible and there is hope. So if that’s you, then let me share with you how that might look.
The first important step is to want to do this. This might sound a silly thing to say but it’s important to state. I come across a lot of tokophobic women who are fearful of their fears and don’t even want to go there. You have to want to overcome your fears, and this means facing up to them.
If you’re up for it, then brilliant. The next bit is to unpick your tokophobia. What are your fears? Are they linked to events that have happened to you? Write them out and explore all this. The thing about tokophobia (and indeed any other big fear or anxiety) is that we can find it quite hard to break it down at first because it can seem so overwhelming.
The next step is the fear-clearance. I use the Head Trash Clearance Method, which is a technique that I developed in overcoming my own tokophobia. It’s based on Reflective Repatterning which is a therapy I’ve been a practitioner and trainer of since 2010. Of course there are other fear-clearance methods available but one thing that I come across a lot are women who feel they have tried everything and it’s just not worked. So I’m not happy mentioning other techniques. The Head Trash Clearance Method is the one that I used and got brilliant results with and it’s what I use with my clients – who also get brilliant results.
Overcoming Tokophobia Success Story
I recently started offering a support group for women with tokophobia. The Tokophobia Support Group is a paid 4-week program whereby we work as a group in overcoming tokophobia. I created this because I knew that not all women can afford my private sessions. But I also knew that for some because their fear is so scary, they needed support on their fear-clearance journey. So this program is the best of both worlds; an online program to teach them how to undertake the fear-clearance work themselves with support from me along the way though weekly group calls.
Here is one lady’s experience of taking part in my program.
If you would like to be alerted the next time I run the Tokophobia Support Program, then pop your details below and I will keep you posted.