Tokophobia is the extreme fear of pregnancy and birth. It affects around 14% 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.

Overcoming tokophobia is the kind of thing that can change your life, and yet for many it seems out of reach, impossible almost. But this isn’t the case.

I’ve heard many women talk about how they need to find ways of coping or handling their tokophobia. Some dream of artificial wombs, while others talk of having their tubes tied. Both of these sound like quite dramatic solutions. And they also reveal how women feel about their tokophobia; like they’re stuck with it. That nothing can be done about it.

But that’s not the case. Tokophobia can be overcome.

There is more research into tokophobia now and we know much more about it. We are also fortunate to have a new breed of modern therapies that are delivering remarkable results and positive changes in mental health. Many of these new therapies work quickly which means that we can expect to experience changes on a much quicker timeframe. That’s not to say that this is guaranteed or that everyone will be able to see a positive change.

The challenges in overcoming tokophobia

There are so many variables at play for me to be able to say with certainty that anyone can expect to overcome tokophobia. I think it’s only fair to be completely honest on this point. While I and many who I’ve supported have overcome tokophobia, it doesn’t mean that this is possible for everyone.

Here are some of the factors which may affect the likelihood of you experiencing success in putting tokophobia behind you.

Anxiety

Anxiety and tokophobia are commonly found together. It’s difficult to say as whether one causes the other, but they certainly feed off each other and make each other worse. In the women I’ve worked with, when there has been an underlying anxiety problem, it’s been less straightforward. We’ve had to tackle the anxiety before being able to seriously tackle the tokophobia, so it’s meant that things have just taken longer.

OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is another condition that is often found alongside tokophobia. As with anxiety, it can exacerbate the tokophobia and could lead to women obsessing over their fertility cycle or birth control.

Trauma

Trauma is often a contributory factor to tokophobia. Some traumas can be cleared relatively easily, especially in using some of the modern therapies. However, sometimes trauma is more complex and deep-rooted. This may prevent the tokophobia from being overcome until the trauma has been dealt with more effectively.

Challenges aside, I think it’s worth re-iterating the point that is IS possible to overcome it. We shouldn’t be thinking of it as something that is permanent and impossible to overcome.

Overcoming tokophobia is possible

Unfortunately, many sufferers of tokophobia simply do not know that it’s possible. It’s not their fault mind. They might not even realise that the feelings they have are related to a known condition that has a name. And this lack of awareness around tokophobia is not just limited to those who suffer with it, it’s the healthcare professionals too.

Even if you choose to speak to a healthcare professional about your tokophobia, they might not know about it or understand it, let alone be able to point you in the direction of help or support.

I overcame my tokophobia

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 received emails from women I didn’t even know who were asking me how I did it.

Answering these emails wasn’t a quick task. Within a short space of time, the emails became a bit too much. So much so that I decided that writing a book to explain myself would be quicker. So I did. That book is Fearless Birthing: Clear your fears for a positive birth. It was once that I’d written the draft that I decided to launch the Fear Free Childbirth podcast as a way of getting my message out until the book was ready to be published.

Clearing fears is easy

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, fear-clearance techniques aren’t choosy. A fear is a fear, whether it’s a strong one or a weak one. The clearance technique 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.

Overcoming Tokophobia – the practical steps

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.

I know that this can sound like a scary prospect and that’s why I offer my Tokophobia Support Program with differing levels of support. Some women are happy to crack on with clearing their fears with just a bit of guidance. Whereas others, need someone to be there with them while they face up to them. I think it’s important to offer choice for something like this.

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.

Once the phobia has been picked apart, we can move on to fear clearance. I use the Head Trash Clearance Method™ to clear fears. It’s a technique I developed as I was striving to overcome my own tokophobia. Of course other emotional clearance techniques are available, but I’m wary of talking about them in relation to tokophobia.

I come across a lot are women who feel they have tried everything and it’s just not worked. So I’m only happy sharing techniques that I know work for this. The Head Trash Clearance Method™ is the one that I used and it’s what I use with my clients.

Overcoming Tokophobia Success Story

I run support group for women with tokophobia. The Tokophobia Support Program is a paid 4-week program where we work as a group in overcoming tokophobia. I created this because I know that not all women can afford my private sessions. But I also know that some need support and accountability on their fear-clearance journey. This might be because their fears feel so scary or simply because they need someone to help the keep going.

The Tokophobia Support Program is the best of both worlds; an online program that teaches how to clear tokophobic fears with support from me along the way though weekly group calls.

Here is Nicole’s experience of taking part in my program and overcoming tokophobia in three weeks.

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.

Overcoming tokophobia does not have to follow this trajectory. I know of some women who have been committed to ridding themselves of tokophobia over a number of years. During that time they’ve tried many different things (and spent a lot of money doing so). Some of the things have included education, journalling, meditation, couples therapy, and personal therapy. It’s been the culmination over several years that has eventually lead to them being able to free themselves of it.

What next?

If you would like to have a no-obligation chat to find out whether we might be a good fit in working together then click the link below to book some time.

Book a no-obligation tokophobia chat here

I’d be more than happy to help you to decide which of my tokophobia services might be a good fit for you, if indeed any of them are. If they’re not, I’ll say.

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Alexia Leachman

Alexia is the host of the Fear Free Childbirth podcast and the author of Fearless Birthing, Childbirth, Midwifery & the Media, and Clear Your Head Trash.

Alexia supports families planning pregnancy and birth. She helps them to overcome their fears and feel calm and confident about birth and pregnancy.

Alexia also trains birth professionals in the Fearless Birthing, a unique approach to birth preparation that is ideal for those who have fears around birth.
Alexia Leachman
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