‘ An estimated 2 million women have tokophobia ‘ an extreme fear of pregnancy or childbirth
‘ The ‘Phobia Guru’ reveals why the birth of the new royal this week will cause panic and anxiety for women with tokophobia
‘ Tokophobia can cause relationship breakdowns, severe anxiety and can lead to avoidance of childbirth
This week, the world welcomes a much-anticipated addition to the royal family with the Duchess of Sussex giving birth to a healthy baby boy. While many of the British public will be celebrating the birth of the new royal who is seventh in line to the throne, 14% (2 million) of women across the country will be feeling extremely anxious and uneasy.
Many of these women across the UK suffer from a condition called tokophobia, a severe fear of pregnancy and childbirth which will ultimately be heightened with the announcement of another addition to the Royal Family this week. The inevitable discussion around the royal baby can be a cause of panic, anxiety, and distress for women with this condition, affecting more than two million women in the UK with a fear of pregnancy or childbirth (assuming half of the women in the UK are of childbearing age).
Adam Cox, or better known as the ‘Phobia Guru’, is a Harley Street based Psychologist and Hypnotherapist who is predicting a huge increase in the number of people seeking help for tokophobia as a result of this high profile childbirth.
As Cox explains, ‘Phobias are an unpleasant emotional reaction caused by a stimulus. Since this is the first child of Meghan and Harry there will be more media coverage than if they have a second or third child. Therefore, the topic of pregnancy and in particular the birth will mean it creates thoughts or triggers memories for those with tokophobia. For women with this condition, they are sensitised to any topics and conversations around pregnancy and childbirth.
‘Most tokophobic’s are more anxious about the idea of childbirth than pregnancy so it will encourage thoughts about bearing a child. While these thoughts are harmless to most women, they can be distressing and potentially cause a panic attack for a woman with tokophobia.’
While women are often celebrated for being maternal, caring and nurturing, Cox notes most women with this condition will often feel ashamed for having this fear and keep it a secret.
Using an alias, Mia Revera, 36, works closely with Cox regarding her tokophobia and finds the idea of childbirth extremely off-putting.
As Revera notes, ‘For me, pregnancy is like having an unwanted parasite growing inside of you, I find the idea terrifying, especially how much having a child wreaks havoc on your body and as far as I can see your entire life too. Why the royals are having more children when we are destroying the future for any future generation is beyond me, they’re not good role models.’
Describing Revera’s thoughts, Cox wants to stress that phobias are an unconscious reaction to a stimulus, not a choice.
‘People don’t choose to be frightened of pregnancy or childbirth, and often it’s a result of hearing distressing stories of painful labour as a child or due to family members also having the fear. The impact of these fears and phobias can mean that women with this condition often avoid long term relationships, become serial daters, or communicate a desire never to have children very early in a relationship,’ notes Cox. ‘The good news is that no matter how severe the phobia is, psychological tools such as hypnotherapy, CBT and NLP can eliminate a phobia in just one or two sessions.
‘As a hypnotherapist based in Harley Street, many people are not able to afford my therapy. To make my services accessible to as many people as possible I’m currently offering a free video download that will give women tips and resources to make immediate progress and improvement on their fears or phobias when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. Given that I can often eliminate a phobia in just a single session, it’s still possible for a woman with tokophobia to be free of the fear with the birth of the royal boy.’
All phobias can be crippling but with the help of a professional, they can be overcome and conquered.