Tokophobia and the scariest thing yet this Halloween

Picture this: the cold lights on the ceiling are passing by really fast, doors open automatically as you approach, people get out of your way and stare at you. The crowd opens as you enter the elevator and once you get to the desired floor, you are moving fast, through halls and more halls, endless halls. You see spooky balloons and decorations that announce that Halloween is coming, but nothing else can scare you as much as you are frightened right now.

Are you a celebrity running away from papparazzi in a airport? No, you are being wheeled by a somewhat panicked hospital orderly from the Emergency Room to Labor and Delivery. Although human beings are taking you there, you find this to be the loneliest, and the longest, ride you will ever take.

Now, let's rewind a few years back.

I am reading online that perhaps I have something called Tokophobia, which is an irrational fear of child birth. Tokos comes from a Greek word that means childbirth and you know what phobia is.

People with Tokophobia can not talk about pregnancy, and sometimes can not even look at a pregnant person. Tokophobics have trouble watching movies or videos where a woman is in labor and view the whole process of pregnancy as a very alienish and foreign experience.

Tokophobics dream of storks.

When I thought I was pregnant about a year ago, I rushed to a bookstore to read more about the whole process. I ran into a book that had a nude picture of an expecting mother throughout the nine (more like ten) months. I immediately started hyperventilating called a friend crying, feeling terrified.

A former client who is a psychologist told me I needed to work through this phobia before I ever considered getting pregnant and what do you think I did instead? I got knocked up.

Let's go back to this past Saturday and the nurse is placing a heart rate monitor and other machinery on my belly.

I am twenty six weeks pregnant and was having contractions, followed by cramps, when I told zen teacher these symptoms (to get to know zen teacher, go to the post called "Prenatal Yoga"). Once I saw zen teacher lose all her zen demeanor, I knew I had no business being zen anymore either.

My nurse assures me not to worry because nothing bad ever happens to her patients and I know it's a lie, but it makes me smile for a split second. I hear other women going on labor and other heart rates in other rooms that sound like horses galloping. On the walls there are posters of what a ten centimeter dilated vagina looks like and it seems it is almost impossible that that can happen with anybody.

This is a center for distressed women and to a tokophobic all it needs is the soundtrack from the movie "Psycho" and flickering lights to complete the horror scene.

Strangely, I am calm (under the circumstances). I hear the noises, I feel the contractions and the baby kicking frantically, but I have gone to another place in my mind, a place that longer cares about me and my pain.

I think instead of preemies and how pink and little they look and how they could be blind, and have lung, heart and mental issues. I know that if he comes out now he will reject my milk and he will be staying in intensive care for another two to three months. I know I will go home with an empty womb, empty handed, and with an empty heart.

So here is my note to all the friends that don't know yet if they will have children and to those that are just too frightened by the whole thing: after you feel the baby kick for a few weeks and a few months, something drastically changes inside of you. Your brain completely erases any selfish concerns you may have for your own pain and your own discomfort.

Unconditional love is a strange thing. How can you love so much someone you have never even seen?

I am back home and all is well now and, as I write this, I can't believe how sarcastic I had been in the past about the whole thing. The whole thing being, becoming a parent.


  1. I had a preemie and went home with an empty womb and empty handed but as you already know, not empty hearted. It is truly amazing how your heart grows while the baby inside you grows. So glad that all is well

  2. Jayme, I didn't know you had a preemie!!! Oh, wow!
    Oh, I think I didn't use the metaphor right. I mean there would be a hole in my chest.


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