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When I was younger, I was resolute that I would never be a mother/have a baby. In fact, I don't think I was very impressed with relationships at all as I also decided I wanted to be a nun. The idea of pregnancy and childbirth filled me with fear and revoltion - it made me think of a parasitic alien feeding off my body.

I didn't become a nun, on the contrary, I had a series of short term relationships and fell in love many times. I fell pregnant with 'the wrong person' at 23 and had an abortion at 8 weeks. I thought that if it had been with the man I loved I would have kept it. I still felt ghastly during the time of that pregnancy and was sick as a dog and just wanted 'it' out of me. After this I had relationships with men who never wanted children and although I often thought I was pregnant during a sexual relationship and tested myself many times, I generally wasn't.

As I got older I longed for a normal life with a steady partner who wanted a family with me. I still had my tocophobia and the conflict between my terror of pregnancy and my longing for a child resulted in a series of phantom pregnancies. These would last approximately 2 weeks and finished when my period started. I lost a few relationships - girlfriends too because of this problem. One of my best friends accused me of being mad (lost her too).

I started having a dream when I was fearing that I was pregnant in my early thirties - about packing for a flight abroad that is on the verge of leaving and not finding my case - I've had this dream so many times and in fact had it again this morning.

I had a lot of therapy about my phantom pregnancies but this didn't really solve anything. The only thing that made any sense was that my sister (2 years older than me) was a twin and her twin was born dead - he had died in the uterus at 16 weeks and was perfect. I came along and somehow my cells absorbed this fact of death. Essentially I fear that I will die if I have a baby.

My longing for a child is now stronger than ever, even though I would be an old mother (47) and may die. When my cousin's wife told me that she had had a baby through egg donation in Chezchoslovakia (because she had no eggs) my face went very red, my eyes filled with tears and I started to shake. Everyone was very concerned about me. 5 years ago I had gynae exploration and it was discovered that I am infertile with blocked tubes. The dream and the longing didn't stop even then. I met my life partner two years ago. He has a child from a previous marriage. His ex wife makes it really difficult for him to see his son and so we've had to go through court to get access to him. I think this has ramified the longing part of my problem.

If I am not actually pregnant this time I am planning to go to Chezchoslavakia for egg donation as well. I have a lot of love to give a child - my own child with the man I love- if only I can manage these palpable terrors. If I am pregnant I will certainly need an exceptional team of people to help me through a pregnancy (if I don't miscarry as is likely in a case like mine).


I understand your natural desire to become a mother and have a child with the man you love, even when there are large obstacles in your path, from phobia to fertility issues. I would suggest you that you dedicate time and carefully plan how are you going to make this happen. First, Czechoslovakia doesn’t exist since 1992., it was one of communist countries who have now turned into other countries. So, find out where could you have possibilities to conceive and see these people face to face first. It’s easy to become a victim when someone sees you want something very much. Have you talked with your partner about the possibilities for adoption? How do you stand on that?


Dear SterlingD,

First I would like to commend you on your brave journey to overcome your fear of childbirth. You have a remarkable circumstance and from reading your post, it seems you have come a long way. I'm not sure if you are aware, but by posting your story, you are helping so many women with the same problem who may be feeling alone.

I am a producer at ABC News Good Morning America in New York and I am reaching out to you because your post has really touched me. We are actually thinking of doing a segment on tokophobia and I was wondering if you would be interested in sharing your story on our show. We will also have great experts on the show who may be able to help you overcome your fears. I know it seems like a strange and somewhat random request, but I truly think you would helping so many women who are struggling with the same problems. If you do not live in the United States and are located in the U.K, we do have an ABC News Affilate in London. If this city is nearby, we could possibly set up an interview there if you are interested.

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Thanks and I'm looking forward to hearing from you,
Briana Stewart
ABC News
Good Morning America