Can pregnancy phobia really cause women to abort healthy babies?
If you lost your baby just weeks before giving birth, would you be too scared to have another? This is the fear 24-year old Charlotte Arnold faced after she first baby was stillborn. When she found out she was pregnant a second time, the fear she had of losing the baby again led her to abort the fetus. Arnold suffers from tokophobia, which is the fear of pregnancy and/or childbirth. Surprisingly, one in six women suffers from the condition causing them to go as far as inducing miscarriages, seeking sterilization or, as was the case with Arnold aborting their babies.
Arnold developed this phobia after she was forced to deliver her dead baby at a hospital where she received insensitive treatment. The heartbroken mom had nightmares and flashbacks and the fear left her left her paralyzed when she found out she was pregnant with her second. How sad!
The first experience had left her emotionally wounded after her doctor in Cyprus failed to diagnose her with preeclampsia which caused the deceased baby, George to suffocate inside the womb. Then, the hospital didn't even let her hold her dead baby son after they delivered the stillborn via c-section. Parents are supposed to be given the opportunity to grieve with their baby, as well as something in memory of the child (like an imprint of the babies hand or foot or a lock of hair) but the hospital provided nothing.
To make matters worse, when the family arrived at the cemetery, the babies grave was not dug, and Arnold's husband Mario had to dig the grave himself with the help of some family friends. Eventually, they moved the babies casket to a family plot nearby, but not before Arnold had a total breakdown.The priest even refused to say a prayer because George had not been baptised
I can't imagine what it must feel like for parents-to-be to be told that their baby is dead just weeks before it was supposed to be born. I can understand how Arnold may have developed tokophobia since losing a child has to be difficult to cope with--but to abort a perfectly healthy baby when you clearly wanted to start a family is pretty outrageous. According to the Daily Mail, Arnold was always opposed to abortion but during her second pregnancy she felt that it was the solution for her to escape the fear.
After getting pregnant again, she was warned that she may suffer from preeclampsia with her second baby-- which fueled her decision to have the abortion. She was later placed on antidepressants to cope but stopped to receive counseling instead. She and her husband Mario plan on trying for a third time to conceive, but this time she's hoping to get rid of her tokophobia for good.
It's scary to think that so many women out there have tokophobia, but hopefully Arnold's story will help shed some light on a problem that is rarely talked about. It's sad to think that a woman would miss out on the joy of having a child because of paralyzing fear. Hopefully Arnold can get better, overcome her trauma and become the mommy she always wanted to be.
Image via Thinkstock