No, I hadn’t either. But I was reading a pals blog, a lovely happy post, then I clicked on one of the related posts at the end. It was this the truth about tokophobia. Tokophobia apparently means an extreme phobia of pregnancy.
So there is a new word for me to remember.
I am terrified of pregnancy. Terrified of birth. Terrified of labour. I have flash back phobia related dreams. I imagine myself in labour, even though I am only dreaming I feel the pain. I feel cramping sudden pain like smaller contractions. Until I wake up I am back there. Things didn’t go well for me at the birth of my first son. Apparently it was all fine and not medically unusual. But I kept saying “something is wrong. Something is still inside me.” They didn’t believe I knew my own body, first time Mother, what would she know? “Its probably just a strange feeling dear, you’ve got to get used to not being pregnant now.”
It wasn’t that. But I couldn’t get them to hear me, to listen, to believe me. I was released from hospital, only to return days later from post partum hemorrhage. Extreme bleeding of a type only girls can experience. I was told I’d die, by doctors. I might die in my sleep or even before then. I told them to leave my bedside, I said goodbye to my son. He was 5 days old, and I was saying goodbye, telling him “if Mummy doesn’t wake up look after your Daddy. If I don’t wake up, I don’t blame you son, this is not your fault. You are perfect son, you are special, and if I die its worth it because you are safe. I know you don’t understand my words, but Mummy loves you forever, wether I wake up or not. Look after Daddy as I love him.” Those words hurt to say, they hurt to remember.
It took me years, and several panic attacks to convince myself I’d cope and not die and that things would be better the second time. Doctors said severe bleeding again was rather unlikely. I became pregnant easily, too easily, and very fast. I didn’t have time to panic. But I was kind of in denial. Repressed memories relating to the first birth, and the bleeding. Memories that resurfaced whilst heavily pregnant. I thought I was going to miscarry, I thought I was going to bleed to death, and my baby too.
A couple of months before the due date I was struggling massively, phobias set in. I think I went a bit nuts. The birth was fast, but hell for me. It left mental scars my therapist is still working on now. He arrived in a very short time, I was home alone. Midwife wouldn’t come, I phoned 999 I was told get a bus. I said there wasn’t time, they said something like “calm down, you’ve only been in labour for half an hour, you’ve got time.” They didn’t realise I was telling the truth – baby was coming in a hurry. I went door knocking, begging for help. I was alone for Gods sake! A neighbour I had never met let me in. She counted my contraction times and her face went pale, she knew this was too fast. She helped me to her car, I was screaming and crying and hysterical. She stayed calm, but clearly this wasn’t fun for her either. She supported me as I waddled in to the hospital. Minutes later my second son almost ripped out of me. No painkillers and a whole lorry load of trauma. The midwives had left the room to discuss my state of panic, I yelled and yelled “come back, baby is coming NOW”, they came back, but I was alone as he crowned, as the waters went. In the safest place but so overwhelmingly afraid. Stress and fear and panic. I had my second son, he was alive but I expected to die, to bleed to death.
But it does not just go away. I am so terrified of the bleeding I am terrified of becoming pregnant. I am so terrified of pregnancy I am afraid of bedroom time. I can not be pregnant ever again. I take contraception daily, despite there being almost no possibility of it happening, as I can’t get close like that often. I love Blokey, but my phobias just increase and I become afraid of more and more things as they become associated to the existing phobias.
I wake up sometimes dreaming I’m pregnant, to most Mums that is a good dream, to me its a nightmare. A no win situation. If I get pregnant I could die, the baby could die and my two sons lose their mum. It.just.makes.me.so.frightened.
I can see a pregnant lady and cope, but if she grabs her bump, and shows any hint of labour I will be screaming inside. Freaking right out. If I became pregnant the fear would be too much, and two likey outcomes would be “getting sectioned” or self harm. Just thinking of being very pregnant makes me feel sick, and labour, well I can not find words without enough flair and feeling to explain the fear attached to it.
I wouldn’t mind another child, its not being a Mum to one more that bothers me, its the logistics of it. I CAN’T DO IT. I just cannot do pregnant.
My name is Julie, and I am Tokophobic.
Did you have phobias? Anxiety? Talk about it, write about it.