Terrified dad suffered extreme fear of childbirth
Celebrities are not immune. Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren has a deep fear and has blamed her childlessness on a graphic video of childbirth shown to her as a schoolgirl.
But now men are getting in on the act too. Although 97 per cent of dads are at the births of their babies — higher than ever before — a number could faint at the mere thought. A recent Swedish study found 13 per cent of the expectant fathers quizzed reported tokophobia.
Male sufferers experience nausea, anxiety and fainting just thinking about childbirth. For some, symptoms are so severe they cannot be at the birth.
Adam Broomfield-Strawn was one such man. Here, the 42-year-old and wife Nerine tell how his affliction stopped him attending antenatal classes — and explain the process which cured him in time for an important delivery.
Hairdresser Nerine, 39, was thrilled when she discovered she was pregnant — but worried how husband Adam would cope with the news given his fear of medical procedures, including an extreme childbirth phobia.
Nerine, from Havant, Hants, says: “All my friends who had children worried about how their bodies would change and the pain of labour, but my fears were all about my husband.
“I knew I wanted him by my side when I was giving birth but he was too terrified. I was really upset but knew if I suggested him being at the birth, he’d feel faint just at the thought. He couldn’t even attend the antenatal classes.”
Keen to try anything to rid Adam of his fear, the couple visited the maternity ward at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex, where Nerine was due to have their baby.
But ashen-faced Adam had to leave the tour early when he felt faint. He says: “Seeing a delivery room set me off. I felt sick and faint. Even thinking about labour made me feel nauseous.”
Determined not to go through labour alone, Nerine begged best mate Georgia Watts, 43, to be by her side.
But Nerine says: “The further through pregnancy I went, the more I wanted Adam to be there. I knew we had to do something if I was to stand a chance of him seeing the birth of his first child.”
That night Nerine researched Adam’s phobia online and came across a way women had been treating their fear.
But Adam was sceptical. He says: “I never thought it could work, but knowing how much it meant to Nerine, I agreed to go.”
Adam attended his first session with the hypnotist on the morning of one of Nerine’s antenatal classes.
He says: “He taught me to associate a problematic situation with being relaxed and calm. I had to rehearse in my mind being in the birth room and coping.”
A few hours after his first session, Adam then went to his first antenatal class and Nerine was stunned when he made it through graphic descriptions of childbirth without feeling sick.
She says: “I kept looking at Adam, expecting the colour to drain from of his face, but he seemed fine. We were gobsmacked.”
Through Nerine’s pregnancy Adam attended weekly hypnotherapy classes and mentally rehearsed his coping skills.
He had to repeat mantras daily to help him overcome his fear.
On November 6, 2009, Nerine went into labour and Adam was by her side.
He says: “I couldn’t believe how different I felt. When Nerine went into labour, I didn’t even question going with her. All my previous anxieties about seeing her in pain — the blood, everything — were gone. I was by her side holding her hand throughout the whole birth.”
Nerine says: “I was so relieved to have him with me for the most special time of our lives. He even cut the cord.”
Their son Heath is now five. They also have a daughter Satine, three, and Adam was able to attend her birth too.
He says: “If I hadn’t been hypnotised I wouldn’t have been able to go to any of the classes without passing out.
“It allowed me to experience the best moments of my life. The births were incredible.”
Hypnotist Adam Eason says he has dealt with blood and medical procedure phobias before, but it was a first for treating a man with a childbirth fear.
He says: “Good quality hypnosis involves a series of skill developments. It’s not somebody just turning up and I shazam them with a lightning bolt.
“Adam had a deep-seated fear of childbirth. I had to tap into his fear and teach his mind to deal with it.”
— Tokophobia is the extreme fear of childbirth
— It affects one in ten women
— There are two types: Primary tokophobia — fear of childbirth before pregnancy or labour and Secondary tokophobia — following a traumatic birth, bad experience or post-natal depression
— It is more common in women who have already had a baby.
Original and full source article: https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/reallife/145313/i-had-to-undergo-hypnotherapy-to-see-my-baby-born/