A recent article from the London Evening Standard reports that,
Between 6% and 10% of women suffer from tocophobia – an intense anxiety or fear of pregnancy or giving birth […]
…some women who suffer from the condition avoid childbirth altogether and use multiple forms of contraception simultaneously – even if they are desperate to have children.
Other women can overcome the avoidance of pregnancy, spurred on by their desire to become a mother, but they often spend the whole nine months of pregnancy living in fear.
This could result in the women deciding to have an abortion or to seek an elective C section, she said.
Connections have been drawn to tocophobia and eating disorders, as both seem to stem from a desire to “have control” over one’s natural bodily functions and shape. Both conditions, I think, can be traced back to how our society has begun to view childbirth and the female body. I see a connection between the rise of tocophobia and an increase in the desire to have “control” over our biological female functions by way of medical intervention. As I’m starting to show during my own pregnancy, I would certainly say that 1 out of every 10 people (both men and women) I’ve casually spoken to about my pregnancy have told me that they are “uncomfortable” with pregnant bodies to some degree. This ranges from general unease to, in some cases, disgust.
In 2010 a 23 year old student told ABC News,
“The more I learned about childbirth, the more afraid of it I’ve actually become,” DuVall, a college theater major, told ABCNews.com. “I’m afraid of my body being ruined. I’m afraid of having an aneurysm and dying. I’m even afraid that when I get married, my husband won’t be attracted to me anymore after giving birth. I’m afraid that I just won’t be me anymore.”
How women define themselves has altered so drastically from what our bodies in fact are, that perhaps an identity crisis wrapped up in our appearance versus our biology is to blame. In any case, tocophobia is a serious disorder that ought to be addressed and recognized as the result of a serious problem in how women are being educated about childbirth and how we, both men and women, view the female body.by