Meet the woman who fears pregnancy so much she deletes friends on Facebook

by Staff writer

A woman has spoken out about her crippling fear of pregnancy which has cost her hundreds of pounds in pregnancy tests and left her unable to look at friends’ scan pictures online.

Lizzie Doxsey, 39, keeps a stash of pregnancy tests by her bed for when the anxiety gets too much and she needs to put her mind at ease.

She suffers from tokophobia – a medically-recognised fear of pregnancy and childbirth.

Her condition is so bad she even has nightmares about expecting and feels sick and panic-stricken around mums-to-be.

Originally, Lizzie, from Swansea, was doing tests costing £7 to ensure she wasn’t pregnant, but then she realized Poundland did £1 versions.

Lizzie keeps a stack of tests at home to ease her anxiety when it gets the better of her

She said: “I do the £1 versions now – but if they don’t alleviate the anxieties, I do the £7 ones.

“People don’t always understand tokophobia. They either think it’s funny, or get offended.

“I feel guilty when it upsets people, because I don’t choose to feel this way.

“I keep a stash of pregnancy tests by my bed, and whether I’ve been seeing someone or not, once that seed of doubt is in my mind, I’ll have to take one to calm down.

“I’m fine around older babies or toddlers. It’s just newborns as they’re so fragile that you feel as if you’re going to break them. I’m not sure exactly what it is about pregnancy that frightens me.

I think it’s the loss of control, almost like something is invading you and taking over your body.”

Though she isn’t sure exactly where her phobia stems from, Lizzie recalls feeling “uncomfortable” around pregnant people as a youngster.

Lizzie remembers feeling uncomfortable around pregnant people as a youngster (Photo: PA Real Life)

Over the years, her fears worsened until the very idea of childbirth made her feel sick and panicky.

She continued: “I just couldn’t handle the idea of something moving around inside you.

“If there was a pregnant person in the same room as me, I’d need to know where they were at all times.

“It’s the same sort of panic as an arachnophobe being trapped in a room with a spider.”

As her friends reached child-bearing age, Lizzie’s fear was worse than ever.

She recalls avoiding one pal for the entire nine-month duration of her pregnancy.

Thankfully, the friend understood, but as more and more of Lizzie’s social circle discovered they were expecting, pregnancy became harder to avoid.

Lizzie, pictured with her friend Carly, who she unfollowed during her pregnancy (Photo: PA Real Life)

“Pregnancy is meant to be a happy time so people don’t quite understand why I’d be afraid of it,” she said.

“My Facebook feed is always filled with people sharing scan pictures. It’s horrendous, because I never know I’m going to see them.

“I usually just hide people from my feed for the duration of their pregnancies, but one person kept sharing videos of the baby moving around in the womb. I couldn’t handle seeing that so I had to delete them.”

Thankfully, over the years Lizzie has learnt to manage her fears.

Though she’s never had any professional help, she said when her best friends got pregnant, she couldn’t avoid it and so had no choice but to face up to her phobia.

She’s also found solace in an online support group for other tokophobia sufferers.


“I didn’t even know there was a word for it until about 10 years ago. My friend Toki was googling her name and what it meant, and a page about tokophobia came up,” she recalled.

“She said, ‘Look, Lizzie. My name means the same thing as your phobia.’

“It was relief to know there was other people like me out there. It validated my feelings whereas before I’d felt ashamed. Now I’m more open with talking about it, my fears aren’t actually as bad.

“I hope by sharing my story people will understand more about tokophobia, and that just like any fear, there’s not always a rational explanation.

“I’d like people to try and think about how they feel when they’re confronted by a snake or spider and that’s how I feel about pregnancy. Just because it’s not a common fear doesn’t make it any less scary.”


Reminds you of Sammy from Quarter of a Blue Moon, right?

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