So, the consultant obstetrician I met at last week’s appointment has told me she’s willing to offer me an elective c-section.

And I’m thinking of taking it.

I realise this will be fairly shocking to quite a few of you. Most women, after all, live in absolute dread of the possibility of having to have a c-section: and I do, too, actually. I’m not going to pretend the prospect of surgery doesn’t terrify the life out of me, because trust me, it does. It’s just that the idea of natural childbirth scares me even more – and it always has.

My fear of giving birth is a lifelong one, and it’s one of the reasons I spent most of my adult life determined to remain childfree forever. It’s so bad, in fact, that within minutes of meeting the consultant (Who, to be fair, had already been prepped for the meeting by my midwife…), she’d very kindly told me that what I have sounds very much like tokophobia: an extreme fear/phobia of childbirth.

This wasn’t news to me, by the way. I’d read enough about tokophobia over the years to know that I tick pretty much all the boxes for it, and I also knew that many women who suffer from tokophobia end up having elective c-sections: not because they’re “too posh to push” (God, I HATE that phrase!), but because they’re just too terrified of the alternative to even be able to contemplate it.

As strange as I know that probably sounds to those who DON’T have this phobia, this makes perfect sense to me. The thing is, most people, when hearing about my health anxiety, assume it means I’m scared of medical procedures – that I’m probably terrified of needles, and faint at the sight of blood or something. Actually, though, while it’s true that I’m not overly fond of those things (I watch a lot of TV shows through my fingers these days), I can generally grit my teeth and deal with them if I have to. No, what I fear most is the complete loss of control I associate with childbirth and hospitalisation – that chaotic, long-drawn out trauma I’ve read about in so many birth stories now, and which I’m absolutely certain I will not be able to cope with.

I’m terrified of the pain: of the contractions, the pushing, all of it. I know people tell you that it’s OK, because you just “forget” the pain once it’s over, but, I am not other people – and, of course, the idea that I might forget it at some point in the future doesn’t really help me NOW, does it?

I’m scared of all of the things that can go wrong: the tearing, the haemorrhaging, the word “episiotomy” and all that it entails. (Er, don’t Google that last one if you have any degree of anxiety AT ALL: trust me on this…)

I’m frightened of having to be induced: of being in hospital for days waiting for it to take effect, and of being totally alone for much of that time. (The consultant confirmed that the hospitals in our area all have a “no partners” policy for everything other than active labour, so if I did have to be induced, I’d be on my own, with all of my anxieties…) Even if I DON’T have to be induced, I’m worried about those labours that seem to last for days, and can’t imagine how on earth I’d cope with a prolonged period of pain/loss of control. “Not well,” would seem to be the most obvious answer to that one…

Most of all, I’m absolutely terrified – to the point of having nightmares from which I wake up in a cold sweat – of having to have a general anaesthetic. This is a full-blown phobia for me, so my biggest fear – other than, well, DEATH by childbirth, obviously – is that some scenario crops up which leads to me having to have an emergency c-section, involving me being rushed to theatre in a panic, and immediately “put under”. I’m hyperventilating just thinking about it, seriously.

Oh yeah, and I’m also scared of DEATH – either mine or the baby’s – obviously. But that goes without saying, doesn’t it?

So, now that I’ve made myself sound absolutely insane, three quick points about all of this:

Yes, I’m getting counselling. Next week, in fact.

Yes, I’m going to be doing hypnobirthing.

Yes, I know that most – if not ALL – pregnant women have these fears, to a greater or lesser extent.

I mean, childbirth is probably one of the most extreme things any of us will ever put our bodies through, so I guess it’s pretty natural to be at least a little bit afraid of it, isn’t it?

Should I have an elective c-section?Fears, however, are not the same as phobias, and tokophobia goes far beyond the natural level of fear most women have. I mean, I know that, in all likelihood, I’m probably going to get a lot of responses to this post from people telling me it’s not that bad, that I’ll just deal with it the way everyone else does, and that I’m “stronger than I think”. All I can say to that, though, is that unless you’ve dealt with an ACTUAL phobia, you can’t really understand how impossible it is to just rationalise it away like that (And also that no one who knows me in real life thinks that I’m “stronger than I think” or believes that I’ll cope just fine with childbirth – seriously!) – which is one of the reasons I went into last week’s appointment feeling pretty sure that I wanted an elective c-section, and that, if I was offered one, I’d accept on the spot.

Why? Well, as I said, I’ve read – and been told – a lot of birth stories over the years. They’re all different, of course, but one of the things the elective c-sections tend to have in common is the fact that they’re often described as “calm”, fairly positive experiences, which are over relatively quickly. Yes, it’s major surgery, and the recovery process can be longer and harder, but, for the most part, it seems to me to be the only real option where I’d go into hospital knowing exactly what to expect. (Er, other than a baby, obviously.) Most crucially for me, I also knew that most elective c-sections are done under a spinal block these days, as opposed to a general anaesthetic, so while there are no guarantees with ANY form of birth – and the doctor was very keen to stress that to me – this option does offer me the best chance of avoiding my biggest second-biggest fear.

Just to add to this – and, again, I’m prepared to be judged harshly for this admission – I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to experience natural birth. None. I’ve said this before, but I got pregnant because I wanted a baby, not because I wanted a birth experience, and my main aim for the birth is for both of us to get through it alive. If that can also happen in the least-traumatic way possible, then that would be even better, as far as I’m concerned.

I know that’s not a popular opinion. I know I’m supposed to want to know what it’s like to push a baby out of my body: to experience the pain, and to prove I can deal with it. I just don’t, though. I mean, fair play to anyone who DOES want those things, and I cast no judgement here at all: I just don’t relate to those feelings in the slightest. So I won’t feel like a failure, or less of a woman/mother if I don’t have a natural birth: I don’t view childbirth as a competition, and I know I won’t feel like I’ve let the side down, or am “missing out” if my experience is quicker and less painful than someone else’s.

Literally ALL I want is a safe, health baby – and to not die having him. Which made an elective c-section seem like the obvious choice for me, really.

So, I went into the appointment thinking I knew what I wanted, and that it was a planned c-section. I left the appointment feeling 100% sure that I can’t POSSIBLY have a c-section, and that, actually, there is no possible way of getting this baby out of me in a way that doesn’t scare me half to death, so he’ll just have to stay in there forever. Sorry, baby!

None of this was the doctor’s fault, I hasten to add. Quite the opposite, really: she was, as my midwife had told me, absolutely lovely, and very, very understanding of my anxieties – she didn’t even mind when I started crying when I was trying to explain the whole, “I’ll definitely die if I have to have a general anaesthetic,” thing. In fact, she listened carefully to what I had to say, agreed that planned c-sections can be a good option for people with my level of anxiety, and told me that, if that’s what I decide I want, she will support me 100%.

She also, however, asked me to think it over some more, and told me that she wouldn’t be doing her job properly unless she outlined some of the risks, which are as follows:

[TRIGGER WARNING: I’m guessing this was probably clear from the title, but just in case it wasn’t, the rest of this post will probably be triggering if you have tokophobia or health anxiety, or are facing a c-section and worried about it!]


Risk of death or serious complications to me or the baby

And, I mean, I’m not stupid: I was obviously aware that any kind of surgery carries a risk, but somehow hearing an actual doctor say it really scared me, and, well, I cried all the way back to the car. Yes, really. My big fear here is that I bleed to death on the table –  which the doctor told me is highly unlikely – but I was also really upset when she mentioned a small risk of the baby being cut during the surgery, or having breathing difficulties, which I just don’t think I could stand.

Of course, while there is a risk of Very Very Bad Things happening during surgery, my doctor was also quick to reassure me that that doesn’t mean the risk is a terribly high one, if that makes sense? The fact is that most c-sections are straightforward, most people DON’T die during them, and while there is obviously going to be bleeding, my general health is good, and there’s nothing to suggest –  no, not even the fact that I’m a redhead, and yes, I did ask! – that I’d be taking a huge risk by going ahead.

It’s also worth mentioning – although the doctor did NOT tell me this, as I’m assuming they’re not supposed to – that although there are obvious risks associated with surgery, it doesn’t follow that there are NO risks at all with a vaginal birth. Both options come with risks, so choosing a vaginal birth doesn’t mean I’m guaranteed an easy run of it: I could still haemorrhage, I could still have complications – I could still, in fact, end up having to have a c-section ANYWAY, even with the best will in the world. So that’s… reassuring. Not.


Slower recovery time with a c-section

Again, I already knew that c-sections are typically harder to recover from, but I’d kind of discounted that, on the basis that, “Well, the worst will be over by then, and I’ll have my baby, so I’m sure I’ll cope!” HAHALOL.

Actually, I still feel a LITTLE bit like that, to be honest, although, having taken the time to think about it some more, I’m a little more daunted by the prospect of a long recovery than I was previously. I’m very lucky in that, despite all of my anxieties, I’ve always been a fairly fit, healthy person, and some of the information I’ve read has made it sound like I’d basically be unable to function for a couple of weeks afterwards, which is scary. I’ve also read a few really horrific stories about c-section recoveries which involved unbearable pain, and people being rushed to hospital thinking they were dying, only to discover that it was actually just trapped wind. Which sounds very, very un-fun, no?

I suppose I should also add here, and sorry for repeating myself, but I have to say again that while the recovery from a natural birth is normally much faster and more straightforward, that’s not guaranteed either, and I do know of people who had very traumatic vaginal births, which took a long time to recover from. It’s maybe not likely, but that doesn’t mean it definitely won’t happen.


Risk of DVT

OK, so this one scared the crap out of me. DVT is one of my big health-anxiety fears (In fact, I’m pretty sure it was the thing that kicked it all off): I worry about it far more than is reasonable, and there’s a part of my brain that’s totally convinced I will one day be going about my business and just drop dead from a blood clot (I actually once had a colleague who this happened to…), so the news that THAT DAY COULD BE COMING SOON freaked me out pretty badly.

So, yeah, there’s a higher risk of DVT with surgery. I’d be wearing surgical stockings for the procedure, which is fine, but I’d also be sent home with a series of injections which I’d – get this – HAVE TO ADMINISTER MYSELF. Which, HAHA, NOPE. I mean, it’s really cute that my doctor thinks I could give myself an injection, but there’s absolutely zero chance of that happening: I’m actually NOT scared of needles when someone else is on other end of them, but the thought of having to puncture my own skin makes me want to pass out with fear – as does the thought of basically being a ticking time-bomb, just waiting to drop dead. (Which, yes, is how health anxiety works. It’s not how NORMAL people work, I know, but… let’s just end that train of thought there, shall we?)

Terry has bravely offered to step up and do this for me. I am still not keen. Moving on…


More time in hospital afterwards

This is something that people always use as an argument against c-sections, so it’s another one I was already aware would be thrown at me (Actually, I’d done my research, so really none of this – other than the injections part – was news to me: as I said, it’s just that having it all laid out in front of me by a doctor, in the context of, “These things could actually happen to YOU, Amber,” made it all a lot more REAL, somehow…). This time, though, I have my response ready-prepared, because what most people who make this argument seem to forget is that while it’s true that most women who have c-sections have longer hospital stays AFTER the birth, women who have vaginal births are generally in hospital for much longer BEFORE the baby arrives, particularly if they have to be induced. I have two friends, meanwhile, who had natural births, and were in hospital for two weeks afterwards: that’s obviously not the most common outcome, but it does happen, and there are no guarantees it won’t happen to me.

In my case, I have a huge fear of hospitals, for reasons that would take too long to go into here, so I’m obviously really keen to minimise the time I spend in one. Given that I can’t avoid it completely, though (My anxiety dictates that, although I hate hospitals, I do want to give birth in one, so a home birth isn’t an option I’m considering …), if I have to be in hospital, I’d still rather be there AFTER the birth – when the “worst” will be behind me – than before it, when the anticipation of what’s to come is liable to turn me into a nervous wreck, and make everything seem 100x worse. My biggest fear here, as I’ve said, is one of those never-ending inductions (Which seem to be frighteningly common, by the way: almost all of my friends have had to be induced, which makes me wonder if ANYONE actually goes into labour spontaneously, or if that’s just in the movies?) during which Terry would be sent home, and I’d be left all on my lonesome – nuh uh. My doctor has already told me that, due to my age, they wouldn’t be keen to let me go much beyond 40 weeks, which, given that first babies are often late, means I’d be more likely to need one, too. Awesome!

Also, although she did give me the whole “longer time in hospital” speech, my doctor was also quick to reassure me that, with elective c-sections, they’re done first thing in the morning, and, assuming all goes to plan  the average stay in our local hospital is just one night – even I could cope with that, surely?

   *   *   *

So. As I write this, I’m sitting here with the paperwork in front of me which would allow me to formally request an elective c-section, if I decide I want one. I’m just… not sure I do, really. The problem is, though, that I don’t want a vaginal birth, either – and I really, REALLY don’t want to either be induced, or end up having an emergency c-section. So, rock, hard place, ME, basically. And I know that ultimately people are just going to tell me I should “do what’s best for me” – but what about when you don’t actually KNOW what’s best for you? What then?

There are, however, some things in place to help me make up my mind:


I have my first counselling appointment next week.

It’s in the hospital, which strikes me as almost hilariously stupid (I mean, sure, let’s tell the woman who’s scared of hospitals that we can only help her IN THE HOSPITAL!), but hopefully it’ll help. I mean, it never has before, to be honest – and seriously, if they make me fill out that freaking multiple-choice questionnaire they use to diagnose anxiety ONE MORE TIME, I swear I’ll scream – but we can but hope. My main issue with counselling in the past, however, has always been that I get very emotional when I try to actually TALK about my issues, so I generally start crying, and find it really hard to express myself, at which point I start to downplay my fears, or just blindly agree that yes, I expect I’ll be totally fine, just to get out of there. So, in that respect, I guess posts like this one are a kind of therapy for me. I REALLY hope y’all don’t charge by the hour…



Which will apparently help me whichever kind of birth I end up having, although probably not so much with the “I’ll just stay pregnant forever, thanks,” plan I’ve been harbouring


The doctor is arranging for me me to speak to an anaesthetist, who will talk me through what would happen if I did have surgery.

I’m a little nervous about this, not only because it has the potential to be hugely triggering for me, but also because I honestly have no idea what to even ask, other that, “Can you promise me you won’t kill me?” Which might not be all that tactful, really?


Tour of the labour ward.

The doctor is also arranging for me to go to the labour ward, see the facilities, and speak to the staff there, who will hopefully help put my mind at ease. A lot of this is geared towards helping with my general fear of hospitals, which encompasses a lot more than just the, “What if I die?” stuff I’ve mentioned here: in particular, I’m worrying a lot about the isolation, if they really do force me to go it alone for a large part of the process, and I also really worry about the loss of privacy/control etc I’ve witnessed in hospitals. In our area, you can’t book private rooms in advance, and even if you do get one, partners aren’t allowed to stay in them with you outwith visiting hours: my doctor and midwife have told me they’ll do their best to see if an exception can be made on the grounds of my extreme anxiety, but they have warned me that it’s not hospital policy, and that it can never be guaranteed. These are obviously minor concerns compared to everything else, but I have considered going private, just so I can stop worrying about them: unfortunately it seems I’d have to sell a kidney to be able to afford it, and hey, that would require a hospital stay! And a general anaesthetic! And surgery! So, yeah, maybe not.

So. If you have any positive birth stories – of any kind – I would love to hear them right now. And, similarly, if you died on the operating table, and are reading this from beyond the grave, maybe you could take pity on me, and just keep that story to yourself… for now?

c-section or natural birth: which is best for someone with extreme anxiety/ tokophobia?
  1. I think that what is important here is that you go with what ultimately makes you feel the most comfortable and safe. There is a lot of bullying towards so-called ‘natural’ childbirth these days, but the truth is that what is ultimately best for you and your baby is what you and your doctors agree is best. It sounds like your medical professionals think this would be a good option for you, so if it alleviates your fear, go for it! People who dismiss phobias have never felt what it is to have one.

  2. If a c section scares you less then natural birth then for the sake of your sanity it may be worth it- the thought of a c section is usually a daunting thing and most women won’t consider it unless it’s absolutely required so if that scares you more then it speaks volumes about your phobia and how significant it is- I can’t really give a good story ( as I haven’t given birth ) apart from I don’t know any horror stories told to me first or second hand- everyone in my life has had a pretty uneventful birth scenario- either through natural birth or c section ( which were required either from previous injury or because my tiny cousin cooked a very large baby) so yea- it’s totally, completely and utterly possible and very likely that everything will go well.

  3. You need to do what is best for you. Haters gonna hate no matter what you do. No child cares how they were born, why should we? It’s society who has decided that cesarean sections are bad and that women have given birth for millions of years and were fine. Well actually they weren’t fine. So many women died in childbirth and from post birth infections. OK rant over.
    Bottom line, do what you want, it’s your body, your baby, your decision. Good luck!

    1. Amber McNaught the best option is happy Mama. If an elective cesarean where you have the control, your partner can be there, and you aren’t absolutely freaked makes you happy, then that’s the best option.
      A good obstetrician should be happy to discuss options multiple times, happy Mama equals happy baby.

  4. If I went back and did it again, I’d have an elective c section in a heartbeat. I nearly did have an emergency one, but somehow managed to give one last push. But that was in an operating room, and to be honest it was the calmest moment of the whole thing as it felt like the right place to go through a medical process. They were brilliant in that room, so supportive and actually made the whole process more lighthearted. It felt far more controlled than labour, and because there were quite a few people in the room, it felt safer. All hands on deck.

    Also, have you looked at booking a private room on the ward rather than going private for afterwards? They’re not cheap at around £100 a night (although we ended up getting it for free as Oscar needed extra care), but it felt far better, especially at night.

    1. You can’t book private rooms in Scotland, unfortunately (or at least not in our area): I’d have been happy to pay for it, but it’s just not allowed 🙁

  5. Have you been to any anti natal classes ?? I can recommend the nct ones enough.. you’ll get so much info on both options xx. I have friends in the last year who have chosen to have a c section . And I was totally obsessed with no having one as I wanted to have no restrictions on holding baby and driving . As soon as you have a baby/ become pregnant it feels like you scone public property and everyone thinks they have a right to judge and share their thoughts , regardless of you requesting them. I feel given your career you are for armed for this ! Do what appeals to you and works for you xxx

    1. The midwife and consultant actually feel the classes wouldn’t be a good idea for someone with tokophobia, as the information given would likely be so triggering for me and I’m not able to rationalise it: they’re arranging for me to speak to people one on one instead!

  6. A spinal block (and the varying complications, some of which happened to people I know well) terrified me more than birth so therefore it was a natural birth (not even epidural as again… spine!) or nothing.
    I would really recommend a water birth. I found it really helped with the pain and with keeping me calm.

  7. Oooh thought I should probably add that I have had two births, first was the water birth which was actually lovely. Sure it hurt at times but I also really enjoyed parts of it! I’d do that birth over and over.
    Second one was two fast for the birthing pool, 48 mins! That sounds like it would be great but really it was way too fast and left my baby and I in shock! Comparing the two, the water really helped.

  8. Hi Amber,
    I’m a control freak and not fond of hospitals too, I don’t have the same anxiety levels than you regarding clinical procedures, but I have suffered anxiety attacks and been diagnosed with anxiety for other reasons, I know what that b*tch can make to your mind.
    I’ve given birth twice in the last 5 years. The first time I really wanted to be in control, I had my birth plan and everything uber planned in my head, and things didn’t go as planned. My waters broke at home without any contractions, therefore I had to be induced and I chose to have an epidural, I didn’t feel a single contraction for 25 hours until the baby was out and healthy. I learned to let go and have other people taking care of me, including an episiotomy that I didn’t feel at all. No pain, God bless the epidural.
    The second time I was more relaxed I knew what I wanted but I wasn’t precious about it, I wanted to push but I was scared of the pain. I wanted a birth in the pool and I wanted to be in control. I got what I wanted. My contractions were like my usual menstruation pain, very manageable, I used the TENS machine for distracting myself and I ended up having a quick labour with a pool delivery and another healthy baby. This time I felt in control and there was pretty much no difference from the previous one.
    Main differences:
    -Staying in hospital due to epidural for much longer than natural birth (a couple of extra nights).
    -The room in the Edinburgh Simpson birthing center are amazing: shower, sofa-bed, nice TV, the pool, intimacy with your husband but only with natural birth. The Livingston ones are nice too.
    – On your first born you may want some extra care from nurses regarding nursing and breastfeeding, so staying in on your own could be a plus.
    – Staff in birth centres are lovely, they really understand what you are going through.

    I really hope this helps you with your decision, just a final thought: whatever you decide, it will be the right thing, from now on your mother instincts will be right. Remember this because it will be very important once the baby is here. Mummy knows better.

    Best regards,


  9. I can’t say much re: childbirth, but I do have HA experience of self-administering injections. When I first told to do so by a consultant, I FLIPPED OUT in quite spectacular fashion because OBVIOUSLY I’d screw it up etc. etc. health anxiety usual nonsense.

    However, I have pernicious anaemia and realistically need a B12 injection every day. So I either had to learn to live with the really not-fun B12 deficiency symptoms or suck it up and learn to self-inject (or let Paul do it). I had a lesson from a nurse which convinced me I’d NEVER be able to have injections at home and I’d wasted 45 minutes of her and my time… but it’s amazing how the process became incredibly easy in a very short space of time. It’s not my most treasured part of the day (fun fact: B12 stings when injected!) but I adapted to it very quickly. When you’ve done the first one — I got Paul to do the first one — then everything is a lot easier after that. So while it’s tough with HA and self-injecting, it is doable. Just wanted to put that out there.


  10. If anyone judges you for having an elective C-section (if that’s what you decide to go for) they are idiots. Whatever’s the best option for you is the right one.

    For what it’s worth, everyone I know who’s had a Caesarian – which seems to be most mothers I know – have come through it quite happily with no complications.

    1. I honestly don’t care if people judge me, to be honest: I know they will, but I also know that anyone who would judge me probably hasn’t dealt with my level of anxiety, so they have no idea what they’d do in the same situation!

  11. I totally relate to your fear which is why I opted for a c-section with my second child. I had one with both my pregnancy. First time round I advised to as she was breech which I was very happy about lol! Which a lot of people couldn’t understand. It was a calm organised and even I’d say a beautiful experience! The staff were lovely and explained everything and it all felt very controlled. I went into the hospital at 8am and had her by 10.30 safe in my arms easy pleasy! I wont say I wasn’t anxious, I was but it was wholly preferable to the uncertainty of how a natural birth would go. I only stayed in hospital one (hellish) night and recovered extremely fast no problem. Second time I ‘opted’ for the c-section after such a positive experience before and due to the sheer fear of birth. But it wasn’t quite as good. I waited all day long because it was elective and other births took priority which is fair enough but worth being aware that this may be the case. And the recovery was far longer and more painful but I think that’s more to do with my age and the fact it was a second procedure. It was a different hospital and not so nice and I felt a little ‘attitude’ almost because of my choice. But maybe I was just paranoid. Anyway I hope me sharing my experiences helps! I think if you can’t mentally get to a place where you really want to give it a go naturally then the chances of it going well are less because as with everything mindset is so important. Don’t feel bad about making a choice that suits you! My other main tip would be if you can get a private room so that your husband can stay with you that first night do it, you’ll need the support as it’s very overwhelming at first trying to feed and care for the baby alone all night. And he can help you shower and get to the loo etc. Good luck. You and your baby will be fine I’m sure! Focus on how YOU want it to go best case scenario and dont contemplate the worst too much! Xx

    1. The private room would definitely help, but, as I said, you can’t book them in advance here and they don’t allow partners to stay even if you do get one 🙁

  12. Take it I begged for one I would take it. Who cares how the baby comes out as long as your okay and so is the baby. I have a fear of childbirth I faint at smears and go grey and queasy if I see childbirth on tv. I said paracetamol and an epidural and a magazine and that’s what happened. I will never ever have another child mainly due to the sickness from day 1 to the day I gave birth.

    1. I have had a fear of giving birth since I watched a video at school. Was like pulling a melon through your nose, I nearly had a section as my placenta was low. Smears well I tense up go grey faint have to lye down after the list goes on. Women’s anatomy makes me go grey I could never be a gynae nurse 🤣🤣🤣.

  13. You need to do what is best for you ,like others have said the more you feel happier with your decision the better for you. I had a section so cant comment on a vaginal birth. If it is best for you then it is best for baby . Xx

  14. I gave birth naturally with limited pain relief (gas and air, it ran out at the critical time!).
    Yes, it did hurt but not any more than I could take. I never felt out of control. I did feel like I was in my own little bubble during transition but that I could easily get out of it if I wanted to.
    My recovery was fine, a few stitches which I really didn’t notice being put in. A few grazes which did sting post partum peeing but to be expected.
    I would do it again but I only wanted 1 child!
    Every birth is different just as every woman is dfferent. The best outcome is healthy mum and healthy baby and how you get there really makes no diifference.
    I hope you get the support you need to make your choice and have the best/safest birth for you and your son. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

  15. I totally understand your fear. I don’t have tokophobia but when the consultant outlined the risks of a c-sec I almost changed my mind despite their strong recommendation I have one (big baby, came out at 10lbs 6oz!). I actually went into labour the morning before my elective, and did 12hours before the consultant advised to go for the op. Having done both, I can honestly say the c-sec was by far preferable! It was quick, controlled (a big thing for me as I have generalised anxiety), and totally painless. I won’t describe the contractions, but they weren’t fun and it was 12hours of my brain going into overdrive about what could go wrong. It is true that recovery was prob harder, but I wasn’t completely useless like I imagined. I’m 9wks post now, and more or less totally recovered. Even right after coming out of hospital I could do stairs and pick my baby girl up without too much pain. Compression socks sucked (get a second pair so you can wash them regularly), but the jabs were fine…husband did them for me and it’s a very very thin needle, barely feel it. Def not like a normal injection. Trapped wind was awful, thought I was having a heart attack, but if you are prepared for it it’s bearable. Get peppermint water from Holland & Barrett because tea wasn’t enough for me!
    Basically, elective gave me what I really needed in the run up to the birth…a sense of control which helped keep my anxiety in check. The waiting and wondering “will it be today?” with natural labour was unbearable for me, and it took that away. I will happily answer any questions you’ve got if that would help. Xx

  16. In the past I’ve printed my blog entries or copied pages of my diary to my therapist, when I fear I get too emotional to speak. Or even emailed them beforehand.

    I have a intense fear of childbirth and hospitals, too, but also a great wish for another baby. I’ve put off having another for eight years now, because of the fear. Your posts have helped me tremendously, partly because I’m not great at putting feelings and fears into words and partly because I think this is a subject that should be talked about more. So thank you for these posts!

  17. I had three babies in 4 years (mad!). First was emergency section, second induced then forceps/episiotemy (or however the heck you spell it) and third all natural, but with lots of people around because it was vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC). So I’ve tried them all 🙂 And I would say go for the section. It is worth asking a bit more about the epidural as there are sometimes side effects with that. (Don’t google, ask) I haven’t had that bit as it was emergency so I was knocked out.

    When it is your first baby, there is no comparison about recovery period. It was only after having the other two that I realised how much longer it took to recover. But when it is your first you are kind of overwhelmed with everything anyway. I refused to leave the town I lived in for 3 months in case something happened to the baby. The second flew to Canada at 7 weeks old… The short term discomfort of the episi-wotsit was much worse in memory than the longer term section. And a few days in hospital are not bad. I was moved to a single room after a few days and really should have been in one before (NHS not private). The hospital did prioiritise putting post op patients in those so there may be some available – depending on how many babies are born at the same time.

    To know the date and be able to plan, as much as you ever can with a baby will reduce the anxiety. It was brilliant with number 2 knowing that he would be born on a certain day. And kind of annoying when I didn’t get that with number 3!
    And who cares what anyone else thinks, if the medics are willing to do an elective c-section, if it will relieve some of the anxiety then go for it. The more relaxed you can be after the birth, the better for you and your baby and it sounds like this might help.

  18. You do whatever you decide is the best thing for you. I think you are incredibly brave because you are not letting your phobia stop you from becoming a mother, despite the terrible anxiety you are suffering.

  19. I have tokophobia which has kept me child free. Now I’m trying to conceive and very frightened. Mine comes from being a nurse and seeing the worst of the worst. Counseling helps. There is also a good Facebook group for women to chat.

    Whatever you decide will be the best for you and your family.

  20. I hope the counselling and hypnobirthing helps to take away some of the fear for you – I found hypnobirthing invaluable in the build-up to giving birth. In the end I had a natural birth that I look back on fondly – as crazy as that sounds! BUT if you still feel that you want to go for an elective c-section I say go for it! We’re lucky to live in an era and a country where we have a choice in how we give birth. Whatever you choose to do, being fully informed about it (which you obviously are) will help you feel more prepared and in control, as will the hynobirthing. Best of luck with it all – I know you’ll do great! X

  21. I only have one piece of advice: do what’s right for you. It’s your pregnancy, your childbirth, your baby, and you don’t need to justify your choices to anyone (as long as you’re not endangering yourself or anyone else, of course, but that’s certainly not the case here!).

    I also have tokophobia (I think it’s surprisingly common, as my two closest friends are the same), so I completely understand your fears, and they are a large part of why I do not have and never will have children. I’m terrified of everything associated with pregnancy and childbirth, so going through the process is unthinkable for me. (I also know I’d not be able to cope with motherhood either, but that’s another story!)

    Anyway, I just wanted to say, from one tokophobic to another: you’ve been incredibly brave to get this far, but there’s no reason to make life harder than necessary for yourself, especially not to appease anyone else, and no virtue in doing so. So, if having an elective c-section is what you need to be able to cope, then do it, with no reservations.

  22. Hi Amber, thank you for writing this post, I think you should do whatever you feel is best for you and your baby. Anyone who unfairly judges you on any decision hasn’t walked in your shoes xx ( no pun intended 😜)

    (I hope that my story is a positive one for you and isn’t too triggering)

    My mum had me as an emergency c section after developing pre eclampsia and actual eclampsia. She went into a coma and I was delivered by c section 7 weeks premature and weighed 2lb 5oz. In 1981. My mum made a full recovery and had my younger sister By planned c section 4 weeks early because they watched her like a hawk all through her second pregnancy.

    I was the first baby in my hospital to survive at this weight and gestation ( I hope that’s the right term) and they had no idea if I would survive, have brain damage, be disabled etc. I spent the first 5 years of my life in and out of hospitals for tests for sight, deafness, development stages etc.
    At 12 years old they thought I wouldn’t be able to have children because I might not have developed enough to have children. I was told this age 12. I was pretty gutted. Thankfully, this is not the case, even though I don’t have children yet , I have since been told I can.

    Considering the health problems I could have had, I’m a healthy 36 year old woman with no problems ( apart from coeliac disease, but. Think i’d have had that anyway) I do have anxiety, depression and PTSD but that is not related to my birth)

    As you can imagine, I’m also very worried about having children myself and my fiancé is terrified I might die during childbirth too ( maybe I shouldn’t have told him about my mum!) but I think if I was given the option of a planned c section, I’d take it ( I might not have a choice given my mums history!) where I also suffer from anxiety and PTSD, I am struggling with the thought of childbirth and I’m not even pregnant!

    My mum always says to me that whenever anyone “slags off” c section birth, she is reminded that it is because of c sections that she’s here, I’m here and my sister is here, we are all healthy and a family and that’s all that matters to her. How we got here, to her, is irrelevant. ( I’m not paraphrasing, she actually said that.

    I wish you all the best with your pregnancy and know you will make the right decision for you and your baby xx

  23. At the end of the day you do what feels right for you. It won’t make you less of a Mum by having a c-section and I think the phrase ”too posh to push” is ridiculous.
    I absolutely hate how everyone has an opinion on the ”right thing” to do during pregnancy.


  24. I had both my kids via elective c-section due to previous surgeries I’d had making me worried I might run into complications – which I was told most likely wouldn’t happen – but I was still a little nervous and didn’t much like the thought of an emergency section. Like you, I wanted to be awake when my babies were born and preferred that it was all planned beforehand so I had the best chance of it running smoothly. Both my sections went without any problems whatsoever and my husband was allowed to stay with me every step of the way, he never left my side. It all seemed to go by really quickly.
    I found the recovery no problem at all, the midwives while I was in the hospital were so helpful. I felt back to normal within a few days. I only found the recovery a little harder after my second because I already had a 1 year old at home to look after as well.
    If it was something you felt able to do, I would 100% recommended it👌❤ (and the injections at home weren’t as scary as they sound 😊 my other half helped me with mine) x

  25. I usually read all the comments on your posts, but decided not to so I could respond just to your post. I am really glad you are getting support, even if that means it increased your anxiety as you get more information. I do sometimes think ignorance is bliss as you can’t worry about what you don’t know.

    In response to your request for positive births my two births went like this:
    1) I was induced (I wanted this as I just wanted the baby out by this time) and lay in the hospital bed for about 6-7 hours with nothing happening. The midwife told me I was having contractions (???) but during evening visiting time (fathers only) I started to feel my contractions and within about 30 minutes they were powerful and five minutes apart. I settled down and my son was born just after 2am, so it felt like about 7 hours in Labour. I had stitches as I had an epesiotomy and the salt water baths helped healing.
    2) I was induced again this time, at about 11am on Saturday 18th May 1974 (significant date see below). Luckily my husband came in early for the afternoon visiting time at 2pm. as I was in the Labour ward and the hospital policy had changed so he was allowed to stay. He brought very big cream cakes (!!!) and kept putting them under my nose – I thought I was going to be sick over them so the nurses enjoyed them with their break. Our daughter was born just after 2pm so a Labour time of only about two hours. I had an epesiotomy again and had to heal.
    The date: when my husband went home he wouldn’t give my dad the news until he told him the score in the Scotland-England match – so their questions were alternating “What did she have?” To “What’s the score?”
    AND this was one of the few occasions Scotland beat England (Raymond informs me it was 2-0).

    Yes, I too was really scared of childbirth, especially the first time, and it was extremely painful and I don’t believe you ever forget it. I know other women report greater difficulty healing with a C section.

    Apart from medics nobody was allowed in the Labour ward until about the mid 1970s and there was no recourse to this, but it did mean there was no decision to be made. Decision making is a whole area of study/research in psychology/philosophy/ethics etc and is very complex. Suffice it to say that the more choice, the more stress inducing it can be, while the fewer options, might reduce stress levels, although the converse can also be true. The decisions you are trying to make at the moment are huge, and you can’t maintain control of events. You have time to let all of the options wash over you, but even when you have made the decisions, you understand that this may change.
    When asked many years ago about a single factor that might affect schoolchildren, my response was immediate – change they have no control over. I understand that’s where you are right now, but this too will pass.

    You are healthy and fit and your body is strong – women undergo a lot and survive, and you are a strong woman. Think of all you have experienced in life, you can do this.

    One last thought, take your post with you when you see the counsellor so if you do cry and are unable to talk, the counsellor can see your thoughts and fears, especially the bit about saying you’re fine, so you can escape from the situation. It will give you a starting point and hopefully you will be able to speak in a further appointment.
    With much love and light.

  26. I had two c-sections. Several people told me how sad it was that I did’t get to experience childbirth. That is nonsense. I was just grateful we live in a time that enabled me to have those c-sections when they were necessary. Natural delivery and c-sections both have difficulties and drawbacks. After all, no method of getting a small human out of your body is going to be easy. However, the important thing to decide is which drawbacks and difficulties are less overwhelming for you. It sounds like you are very good at knowing yourself and ultimately deciding what you can do. I admire your strength and honesty in writing these posts. I think all too often pregnancy and childbirth are portrayed as these magical times and, obviously, there are magical moments but there are also anxieties and stresses and overwhelming decisions. I worry about commenting because I don’t want to say the wrong thing but I just want you to know I am across the Atlantic cheering you on.

  27. This is actually refreshing to read compared to all the ‘natural wonder woman birth’ stuff that seems to permeate at the moment. I had a long labour and ended up with an epidural after many hours. The epidural was wonderful. The whole giving birth thing was fine (but long and tiring). Recovery was okay really – I would say the worst part are the very crazy hormones you experience after birth regardless of which way the baby comes out! My closet friend who had an emergency c section after being induced for her first baby, opted for a c – section for her 2nd as she actually found it was easier to manage and recovery was absolutely fine apart from not being allowed to drive for a while.

  28. Just want to give you a bit more perspective on the elective c-section. In the country I live in most women opt for it. Really. Here you can request a c-section and if it’s not too late (labor has already started) you’ll have one. It’s so normal and common that women that are giving natural birth are actually seen as strange. I gave natural birth without any anesthetics and everyone I know considers me crazy. In the hospital I was like a rare animal – the doctors were coming to see me just to meet the woman who didn’t want c-section since I was the only one who gave natural birth .
    With this I don’t want to say that the c-section has no risks. I want to say that this choice should not be judged. Both options do have their specific risks. But I think there is a reason for you to be offered a c-section… Extreme fear during natural birth could be a very difficult thing to deal with. All risks are beyond your control. But there is one thing which is – the way you give birth. One of the options is more controlled and calm than the other. I think this is a big thing.

  29. I had an assisted vaginal birth, which was so difficult, I ended up with PTSD. 60% of all births in this country require assistance, and up to 90% of women giving birth vaginally will tear, or have episiotomies. I didn’t know those stats then. If I did, I’d have probably opted for elective C-section, or induction + epidural straight away. I did get an epidural after demanding it, but had to endure many hours of pain beforehand- unnecessarily, in my view. The risks associated with epidural are exaggerated – don’t listen, in this respect, just to the natural birth/NCT brigade. Female doctors I know have tended to opt for elective CSs, and if I ever had another child, I’d, too (or at least painfree birth, with all the drugs and epidural – but most likely CS),

    1. I do wish that these kind of stats on natural birth were more readily available: I’ve been given a ton of literature on c-sections which lists every possible complication, no matter how unlikely (while saying nothing about the positives!), but says absolutely nothing about the comparative risks of natural birth, which does make it hard to compare the two! One of the things that made me consider a c-section was the fact that while I know the short-term recovery will be harder, I wonder if, in the long term, it might be easier in terms of not having to deal with incontinence etc caused by tearing. It does bother me a little that the NHS say they want me to make an informed choice, but then make that harder by not providing honest information on BOTH options…

  30. I genuinely believe that the safest scenario is the one in which the birthing mother feels most secure: only you will know what that is, and a supportive medical establishment (which you clearly have) can only make that better. In birth there is a physiological ‘norm’ but that’s absolutely not the same as saying that’s what every individual ‘should’ do. My MIL suffered from severe fear of giving birth – she ended up having an unexpected C-section and honestly says to this day that she’s delighted that happened because she couldn’t bear the thought of going through a vaginal birth. I had a very calm and orderly home birth and I wanted to avoid an epidural at all costs because of many years of back problems and surgeries. In the end, whether by choice or circumstance, we each had what made us safe, comfortable and happy. And so should you. Wishing you smooth sailing. x

  31. I knew what I wanted, but ended up with a c-section under general anesthetic. (long story which I will spare you!) Not the plan, but baby was completely fine once born. I left the hospital less than 48 hours after the surgery (that’s England for you).

    Recovery was ok, I suffered a lot more from exhaustion than anything else. It did take me 2 or 3 weeks to be able to lay flat on my back, I spent weeks propped on pillows, it took longer to be able to lay flat on my front, just felt weird.

    Do you know what? I am nearly glad I didn’t have to follow the surgery live, and the weird feelings when you are under local. My husband missed the birth (you can’t stay in delivery room in that case), I missed the first minutes of my baby, but he was given to his dad very quickly. The plus sides: my down there area is intact, going back to the toilets after was no issue, there was no possible complication from a natural birth.

    One thing: women say you do not care about your surroundings when you are in labour. That’s NOT TRUE! Maybe some aren’t, but I was! (before reaching the theatre and be put to sleep).

    Good luck, things don’t always happen according to plans – friend of mine gave birth in her car on way to hospital, that was not her plan at all!

    Happy to give you more gory details about my private experience if you wish.

  32. This is the only suitable option with tokophobia in my opinion (I personally think it’s the best option for anyone full stop, but for you it’s a no brainer).

    I really don’t think you’ll get any crap for it but good luck all the same!

    Really glad you got a good consultantant.

  33. The thing about ‘natural’ childbirth, is that it is so unpredictable. With your anxieties, I would be tempted to go the c-section route. There are risks, but you are surrounded by medical staff the whole time, which is more reassuring, than labouring with just a midwife and your husband present. I’ve had both emergency section, after several hours of labour, and an elective section. And the latter was a much, much better experience. As for recovery time…due to unforseen circumstances, I had to walk 1.5 miles with baby in the sling, pulling a small suitcase on wheels, about 4 days after my section. They encourage you to get up and move around asap anyway. There isn’t much time for leisurely recuperation in NHS hospitals. Do NOT get induced. It’s too rapid and unpredictable.

    1. I told my midwife this morning that if the baby is late, and they want to induce me, I would definitely choose a c-section over an induction, no question – I reeeeaalllly don’t want to be induced!

    1. Hahaha natural childbirth isn’t just a “day” of pain. There’s the episiotomy (or tearing) and the pain of trying to deal with that while going to bathroom or just trying to sit. I have had both. My first pregnancy, I had a c-section with my twins. The only pain after that was while the incision healed, but I only needed an over the counter pain killer for that. Going to the bathroom was fine. Sitting was fine. Ten years later, I had a natural birth. We prepared for it and even had a doula. I was given an episiotomy, but I tore anyway. Dealing with the pain from that was far worse, and lasted months longer than the C-section.

    2. This is the kind of judgemental comment that I was worried about: if you read the post, you’ll see that I’m not considering it purely to avoid “a day of pain” – which, as Donna points out, isn’t always the case with a natural birth, anyway. Also, I’ve read probably hundreds of birth stories now, and haven’t come across any of these “lots” of women who don’t “feel like their organs are in correctly” – or any who’ve had “a lifetime of pain” either – sounds a bit like scare-mongering to me, to be honest 🤨

    3. Yeah, that too. I’m 50, and during both of my pregnancies, after reading many, many stories about different types of child birth, this is actually the first time I’ve ever heard of a story about any woman claiming they didn’t feel their organs were put back right. Not saying you didn’t read that somewhere, but I’m highly skeptical it actually happened to any of those women.

    4. Donna Earl Leonard It’s also worth pointing out that many women don’t actually get the choice of whether to have a c-section or not, they just have to have one, because it’s medically necessary – so as well as it being a little cruel to intentionally try to scare someone who already has severe anxiety, scare-mongering comments are really unhelpful to people who are facing c-sections they *didn’t* actually choose!

    5. Every woman I know what has had a c section has described it the same way. When you post private things publicly, you have to know people will respond. If you don’t want them to respond, simply don’t post. After all, you’re making it public for a reason.

    6. Cassidy Rose Hetrick And when you post comments that are obviously designed to scare or belittle people, you have to know that the people you’re directing them at will respond, too. If you don’t want people to respond to your comment, simply don’t post it: why would you think that you should be allowed to tell me that I’m risking “a life of discomfort just to avoid a day of pain,” but that I shouldn’t be allowed to respond to that? As I said, I might end up having to have a c-section anyway, whether I want one or not, so telling me that every single woman who has one has a lifetime of discomfort is unhelpful at best, and actually quite unkind given the mental health issues I’ve been diagnosed with. (It’s also simply untrue, as other people have pointed out.) Someone disagreeing with your comment isn’t the same as someone telling you you’re not allowed to post it.

      1. My god Cassidy what a stupid reply. Sorry but it’s just such an incredibly banal and stupid thing to say. You’re mad because people actually responded to your comment, telling you’re being rude? Then don’t be rude, if you get so mad at people calling you out of it… Lol.

  34. Amber, given that it’s so difficult right now to make a decision, I have two questions for you to consider:
    1. How long can you wait to make the decision, and:
    2. Will you be able to change your mind at the last minute and have the other birth method instead?

    Knowing those two things might help.

      1. I do understand – but knowing you have an “out” might feel empowering. I know you’ll make a good decision eventually.

  35. Trust your instincts, they are there for a reason. If you are happier having an elective c section then do it. I have had 2 c sections and they both were fine. The recovery time is longer but it also gives you lots of extra time in hospital to get used to baby and I really valued this both times.
    You just need to do what you are comfortable with.

    1. Extra time in hospital is one of the things putting me off a c-section, unfortunately – I have a really bad hospital phobia, and am really worried about how I’ll cope (especially as our hospital won’t allow partners), so that’s one of the things making me think it won’t be right for me!

  36. Amber. I just have to say that I think you are the bravest and most couragest of women. To go through everything you have to be even be pregnant right now you are so brave and strong. So what ever you chose I know you will get through it with the same strength.
    You have done your research and only you can know how each scenario will effect your mental health and I think that is the important thing. What ever decision you make you will be in control of that. I believe your body will do a great job of getting your baby out but the effects the experience will have on your mental health is what would lean me toward the c section. If you watch YouTube Mrs Meldrum had a c section and she seemed to recover really well so it is possible.
    I guess you still have some time to think it over and work out what decision you are happy with and plan every detail so it is a birth you are in control of and are happy with.

  37. you wanted happy stories so here goes: 2 vaginal childbirths went just fine. Two great kids (great adults now). One water broke 3 d after my due date; 2nd induced on my due date; 24 hours labor the first time, 6 the second time. Epidural with both (i had thought I wanted “natural” childbirth till it started to hurt with the first). Epidural with the second from the start; when I said I was becoming aware of pressure and needed more epidural; they said, no, now you need to push, and she was born shortly thereafter. Mine were both easy and EXCELLENT pain control with epidural.

    However, if I had your health anxieties, (even tho I don’t really understand them) I would probably, without any shame, opt for the elective C-section. I hope Terry is allowed in with you for the counselling, to verbalize for you if you freeze up.

  38. I started reading this to try and show some support as a fellow never-had-kids-terrified-of-childbirth person but I didn’t even make it a third of the way through before I had to stop reading and put my head between my knees…. Xx

  39. I had a baby in June and ended up having an emergency c-section after 30 hours of labour. I’ve had a lifelong fear of childbirth too, so to be honest I was almost relieved when they said I was going in for surgery. I didn’t have general anaesthetic, just local, and the actual procedure wasn’t bad at all (I had a nap while I was being stitched up lol!). The first few days of recovery sucked, not going to lie – the worst part was not being able to twist round in bed to pick up my baby – I could barely even get out of bed and didn’t change her nappy until she was a few days old. Luckily my husband and lots of lovely midwives made things much easier and were always there to help. After the first few days it wasn’t too bad at all – I couldn’t use my stomach muscles much for a few weeks but that was about it. I will definitely be opting for a c-section again if I have another.

  40. I had a natural birth with a double episiotomy and a graze. It was a fairly difficult birth in that my little one was back to back, and squint. The pain from contractions was manageable with gas and air until a point and than I had morphine. I had wonderful midwives and felt in control of my labour the whole time. It was not anywhere near as bad as I was expecting, and I had quite a long latent stage that I managed at home. I got advice from a friend who had had 2 difficult births about the episiotomy before hand. She said that it was not anything to worry about, and in my experience she was right. It was the right choice for me over a C section at the time.

    However, if I have another baby and they offer me an elective C section I am saying yes.

    It comes down to this – you know yourself and no one has any right to tell you what’s best for your labour. You have thought carefully about this, and whatever you choose will be the best thing for you and your baby.

  41. I had 2 planned C-Sections due to medical reasons. I’m just so grateful I had 2 healthy babies as the alternative could have been life threatening to both myself & my boys. Go with your gut! You know your body Better than anyone else xx

  42. You need to do what’s best for YOU. Taking everything into account. If it helps I just visited my friend who has a 5 week old baby. She had a planned C section and said that it was really smooth and calm. She found it a positive experience overall. Best wishes for making your decision.

  43. I had an elective section after a LOT of fighting with my consultant. I had a frankly hideous pregnancy that shattered me emotionally and physically. My son was huuuuge and as much as some women say that they had a wonderful birth experience by trusting their body, I didn’t trust my body with s**t. I couldn’t have picked up a kitten, let alone labour with a GIANT baby.

    My point is, the 45 mins or so that started from the second they administered the spinal block to the moment they gave me my son were more peaceful than I’d had in the previous nine months. The anaesthetist was some sort of goddess, I’m convinced of it, and all the other staff that were in there with us were the most professional and friendly people I’d dealt with over the course of the whole pregnancy. To anyone who is in a position to get a c section and is worried about a “natural” birth (God, I hate that term) I would recommend a C section in a heartbeat. It absolutely sounds like your best option.

    A little sidenote: it won’t matter how quickly you want to get out of the hospital. After the birth the whole ordeal sort of catches up with you, and you’ll be happy enough for things to go at their own pace. The recovery isn’t so bad as long as you have ALL the help at hand. Pro-tip: try to get up to walk as soon as the maternity nurses suggest it, usually 24 hrs post baby. If anything gets you out quicker, it’s that.

    1. “My son was huuuuge and as much as some women say that they had a wonderful birth experience by trusting their body, I didn’t trust my body with s**t.”

      This is totally me: I just have absolutely no faith in my body at all, especially after miscarriage etc – I’m honestly amazed that it’s managed to get me this far, but I have a lot of trouble trusting it to know what to do at the end of it all!

  44. I’ve had two elective c-sections, and I am well and have two healthy happy children.

    The recovery time is a downside but if you have a partner who can be home most of the time for the first six weeks it isn’t really a problem. Extra time is hospital I didn’t enjoy, but mainly because I didn’t sleep as well there as at home. Here the standard stay is 5 nights for a c-section, and that was too much for me!

    Honestly my choice was made out of fear of childbirth and how it might mess me up due to existing medical issues. I’ve had my doubts about whether I should have taken that risk, but I really am glad I didn’t have to face a vaginal delivery. I don’t care about missing a birth experience, and I didn’t even ever go into labour.

    1. Yeah, my mother-in-law just got out of hospital a couple of weeks ago, and she barely slept while she was there: she really isn’t a complainer, and doesn’t suffer from anxiety at all, but she had a really tough time with it, and also felt very isolated, all of which has basically confirmed my fears about it, unfortunately 🙁 I’ve just spent the last half an hour Googling private maternity hospitals because I’m getting more and more anxious about it the hospital stay (The doctor told me the normal stay is one night, but that seems suspiciously short to me – most people seem to have 3 – 5 days!), but it seems they’re all in London – not that I could have afforded it, anyway, mind you!

  45. If it makes you feel any better, I’m due Dec 11th but I have a second appointment with a birthing consultant. next week as an elective c-section mama too, for all the exact same reasons you’ve pointed out.

  46. After reading your post I had all sorts of things I wanted to share, but then going through the comments section it looks like others have shared such a wide variety of experiences that much of what I was thinking would just be repetitive.

    My 2 cents (pennies?) – for what they’re worth…..

    It’s pretty obvious from all the stories out there that childbirth is a pretty major event for a woman’s body to go through, whether that happens via a c-section or a vaginal birth. You will find both ‘quick and easy’ and ‘long and complicated’ stories in either case. Every woman is different, after all!

    While both options scare me quite a bit (going through the motions of pushing a human out of my vagina or having said human pulled out of a mad-made hole in my abdomen…. sounds like something Jigsaw would come up with), personally, I lean ever so slightly towards a vaginal birth, simply because the thought of having to have actual surgery scares me that much more.

    I remember watching an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (ages ago now…) that showed Kourtney giving birth (to her second child, I think), and, at that time, it was refreshing to learn of a vaginal birth experience that was calm and where the mother didn’t seem to be traumatised. There ARE a variety of options, tools and methods that can assist with the birth process, whichever way one decides to go. It might be worth watching that episode, or even just reading about Kourtney’s second birth, and finding out if you could plan for a similar experience, which would mean your being in control when giving birth and also minimising the need to stay in hospital after?

    Ultimately, I think what will help you most isn’t hearing more birth stories, but coming up with a plan that makes room for contingencies, and going over this and agreeing to it with your support system of family members and medical professionals.

    I know this isn’t easy. All the best!

  47. hello Amber! I have not one, but THREE positive birth stories for you! I had all three of my kids by c-section, and although the first was an emergency, I was able to have an epidural so I did not have to be put under:) All three of mine were perfectly safe and babies and I all came through with flying colors. I, too, do not feel like I “missed out” by not having a vaginal birth – in my mind, any healthy baby is a successful delivery!!! Here are some tips for you to consider and maybe ask your doctors about… 1. In the USA, during a c-section the mom’s arms are usually stretched out to her side and strapped down to prevent her from accidentally touching anywhere in the sterile area and de-sterilizing things. During my first c-section, I didn’t know this ahead of time and it totally freaked me out having my arms strapped down. Before my second c-section, I asked my doctors if I could avoid that experience, and after PROMISING I wouldn’t touch a thing, they let me just lie with my arms folded over my chest, which was way better! So ask the ob/gyn and aneasthesiologist about that 🙂 2. Those operating rooms are COLD – my second and third c-sections were at a different hospital than my first, and the second hospital had HEATED BLANKETS – it was heavenly to have those warm toasty blankets covering my legs (and my arms) during the surgery. Definitely ask if there will be blankets lol. 3. During a c-section, they have a screen between your head and the rest of you, so you can’t see what’s happening. Having it right up by my chin freaked me out also, so for my second and third, I asked the doctors and they kindly moved the screen a few inches down my chest so I had a bit more breathing room. 4. There are different types and methods of painkillers for after a c-section – with my first, I had a morphine pump that I could only pump every so many hours. With my section, they gave me some kind of drip with the same medicine as the epidural and left that in for 24 hours after the surgery – so much better! I also found out that I could ask for extra pain meds above the IV – the nurses told me not to be afraid to ask for extra pain meds. The goal is to get you moving as quickly as possible and if you are not in pain it will be so much easier to move, which helps you heal faster. 5. Talk with Terry ahead of time about what kind of touches you might find most comforting…my husband kept me sane during my first by stroking my forehead and hair (I swear his touch was the only thing that kept me from having a full blown panic attack lol). 6. The sooner you get up and walk after a c-section, the faster you will heal and the better you will feel (see tip #4). After my second, I didn’t get up soon enough. With my third, I got up as soon as they would let me and started doing laps around the hospital floor. I walked as much as I could (albeit VERY slowly) but felt SO much better SO much faster! 7. You won’t be able to lift anything heavier than the baby for six weeks, and probably won’t be able to drive for two, so take advantage of any help that is offered! 8. I never realized how much stomach muscle it takes to push a grocery cart around the store…I wouldn’t recommend doing that for a few weeks lol! I hope these tips haven’t been triggering but rather that they will be helpful in giving you ideas for discussion when trying to make your decision!

  48. I have a great positive birth story. I started contractions at 9pm, went to the hospital at 6 am the next day (may 7th) where they allowed my husband to stay with me even though we weren’t married yet, then my midwife broke my water at 10 am, and checked again at 11 am and said “looks like we’ll have this baby by noon” and he was born at 11:35 am, and he weighed 8lbs and 0.8ounces and was 21 inches long. Then while the nurse was doing the check he peed on her for 20 minutes because I had drank a gallon of water on the way to the hospital because I was worried they wouldn’t let me drink anything. The nurse finally stopped doing the apgar tests long enough to toss a diaper over him and exclaim “WHY ARE YOU STILL PEEING”
    The whole first night he was alert and aware and didn’t cry and took right to the bottle and was just generally a lovely baby.

  49. People have covered it so well, and as someone with anxiety myself I would never want to stress you out more. Also, I am from the US so my experience is a bit different anyway.

    I had a vaginal birth with some ups and downs. We overcame them, and I have a wonderful kid to hold. Those ups and downs were hard to bear, and while my doctor was experienced and worked through them, I would have taken a c-section at any time to make the scares stop.

    I was definitely hoping you would have an uneventful vaginal birth if that is what you wanted, but elective c-section is also a wonderful option. So much of the data that makes vaginal births look better favors maternal health-if you are better served by the c-section, then do it and don’t look back.

    Best wishes for all of you!

  50. I am the opposite to you. It’s not childbirth I’m afraid of, but pregnancy. The thought of having something else GROWING inside me for 9 months completely freaks me out. Plus all the associated sickness, stretchmarks, discomfort… for NINE WHOLE MONTHS! I frankly think that anyone who can go through it is a saint. Birth, for me, would be welcomed as a way out! I also have had body acceptance issues in the past. I am in a good place right now, but I worry that being pregnant, especially after pregnancy, would set those issues off again. I have some friends who have bounced straight back into shape, and others who’ve lost their figures forever, and I am terrified of being the latter, and then feel guilty for being so shallow! So far I haven’t wanted kids badly enough to overcome the fear. I could never elect for a C-section, as the idea of a scar scares me stupid, but I’m not judging anyone else for having one, and it sounds like it’s definitely an option that would help you.

    1. I felt exactly the same about pregnancy – it’s the reason I was sure I would never, ever have children, in fact! I always said that if pregnancy was just one month, say, that *might* be OK, but NINE just seems totally unreasonable! Then I found out that it’s more like 10 😩

    2. It has helped me a lot to read your blog posts about your anxiety. It’s made me realise that maybe I could actually do it, if I really wanted a baby, and I had a good support network! But then again, maybe not… still I’m glad to find I’m not the only one going through these kind of issues! I used to think I was the only person who felt this way, who was such a screwball that I couldn’t face doing what every other woman seemed to do without batting an eyelid! I’ve thought about adoption, and I think if I was going to go that route I would try to get a slightly older child. I don’t know if I would cope well with the whole sleep deprivation thing, getting a good night’s sleep is the only way I can face the world the next day. But then I’ve heard that adoption isn’t easy or straightforward either. Like you are facing now, there are no easy choices… maybe I’ll just date someone who already has kids 🙂

      Sorry for such a long ramble, but it’s the first place I’ve been where I’ve felt like there is someone who ‘gets’ how I feel about it, even though I’ve never met you!

      1. Oh don’t apologise, I totally get where you’re coming from, and I felt *exactly* the same – I just couldn’t understand why I seemed to be the only person in the world who couldn’t face this thing that everyone else seemed to find so natural! I still do feel a bit like that, to be honest, because I’ve seen how hard it is for a lot of people to relate to how I’m feeling, but I’ve also discovered a lot of other people who feel the same way, and just don’t really talk about it, for fear of judgement etc. I think a large part of the problem comes from the way pregnancy and childbirth is venerated in our society, and women are encouraged to only speak about the positives – I’ve really worried about my posts being the exact opposite to that, but I really wanted to write honestly about it because I think it’s so important that we start to change the dialogue around pregnancy/birth, and acknowledge that while, yes, it’s wonderful, it can also be one of the hardest things you’ll ever go through as a woman. So I’m really happy to get comments like this, because if I can help even one person feel a bit less alone in feeling this way, then at least that’s a start!

        (Also, I’m *really* worried about the lack of sleep, too: I don’t cope well with that AT ALL!)

  51. Dear Amber,
    An elective c-section seems a good way to deal with both tokophobia and fear of loosing control.
    I’ve had two deliveries, both with emergency c-sections. For the second one, I really would have preferred to be spared the 28 hours of labour, with epidural only after 25 hours of painful but useless labour before the procedure. Eventually the operation was made in a rush to save my life and my son because the cervix never dilated but my uterus could not bear more contractions and started tearing. It sounds a bit scary but in fact two days after, I was able to walk with my son in the hospital. Some mothers to be, visiting the hospital and meeting me in the corridor, asked me if everything went okay and I would say: not at all because of my body, which I couldn’t make to obey me or do what other women do, but everything is fine now thanks to the skills of this staff. And in fact, they told me it was more reassuring to see someone who went through a traumatic experience and had finally a lovely ending to tell, and a healthy baby to show than to get their fears dismissed by the usual “everything went just fine”.
    So in fact c-sections, even in an emergency, is a procedure the obstetricians are really good at. If you get an elective one, you’ll have the best chances of everything going fine.
    Concerning post birth comparisons…
    The recovery from my second c-section was in fact less long and less complicated than the first one (which was not unbearable), because I knew then I had to be gentle with myself and not to hold heavy stuffs for 3 months. That is the mistake to avoid: thinking you’re really fine, just sucking up the little pain in the belly, and carrying heavy stuff. It’s not good to be brave like this, the first time I damaged the internal stitches. But everything ended well with some extra care.
    Now I have two nice and really healthy children and I can do everything I used to do before.
    I did not get pregnant a third time because my husband did not want to risk to loose me again. (I think this could be called male tokophobia!), but my obstetrician told me in fact, if we had wanted to, I could have had a third c-section two weeks before term to avoid any violent contraction in my uterus and be just fine with a third baby.
    When I hear people saying natural birth is painful but magic, I just feel sad my body could not offer me this (I just had the pain for many hours). But when some criticize “unnatural birth”, I resent their lack of sensitivity and absurdity. Each woman get what her mind and her body can bear, or she should get it without being judged afterward. I think with your anxiety and the tokophobia (which is far from absurd), you might really feel more confortable with an elective c-section which will lessen most of the downsides of an emergency procedure.
    Finally I have to say I pondered a lot since yesterday about telling you my story because of what I understand of your HA. I first read all the previous comments before deciding to tell. As everything in the end went well for my daughter, my son and myself, I concluded it might help you to weigh the pros and cons. If I misjudged, I am very sorry and I hope you will forgive me.

  52. I can’t actually speak about the elective c-section because I have never had one. All four of my kids ended up being “natural” births because I had to choose between getting pain meds and slowing things down or getting it over faster. They were all different, too. But here’s the thing; I really disliked the doctor’s partner in my first birth and had to decide what to do about that. I ended up deciding that even if he were there, I’d still end up with a baby and could leave. It is true that the last push, I was afraid it would hurt and was quite willing to leave the baby in there but it wasn’t an option, fortunately.

    No matter what you decide, you can second-guess yourself from here to Kingdom Come and be no better off. No matter what you choose, there very well could be something you don’t like about it. It sounds like the uncertainty of waiting for things to happen is going to be very difficult because of your fears, so elective c-section might be good because you can choose the date. A definite is easier with fear than the unknown.

  53. In your situation I’d choose the elective C section. I think there’s a far higher chance of feeling calm and as in control as possible. Plus I think they typically happen in the morning which seems very civilised and means you don’t have the baby when already sleep deprived. I had one assisted and one natural (home) birth so I can’t advise on recovery but my cousin got home quite quickly after her second (elective) section and she felt recovery went a lot better than after her first (emergency, but not really just not planned) one. I think that knowing your recovery needs mean you can plan for them better. I hate the policy of not allowing partners though.

    Whatever you decide will be right for you. There’s no very easy option but there are options and I’m glad you have been offered them and seem to have a supportive consultant/midwife. Plus I went to NCT classes in the Edinburgh area – I’m not suggesting you go, but our teacher had had 3 c sections herself and was wonderfully unbiased and informative about the process. Speaking to someone like her one to one would be extremely helpful I think.

  54. I couldn’t do the DVT injections myself, either – I still don’t know how Steve managed to do them for me. *shudders*

    As you know, my labour was a largely positive experience (even though I ended up needing assistance) and I’m expecting the next one to be positive, too. But that’s ME. I know plenty of people who’ve had elective c-sections – for assorted reasons – and they’ve all, without exception, had a positive experience. In fact, if your decision was based purely on the percentage of people *I* know who had positive experiences of c-sections versus the percentage of people *I* know who had positive experiences of vaginal birth, c-section would win, no question.

    Whatever you decide, it sounds like Terry is hugely supportive and is going to be great with both you and your baby during your recovery period, and that’s invaluable.

  55. I just got back from my 20-week appointment with my OB (I’m in the United States) and I decided I am going to be having an elective c-section. i have severe anxiety and OCD (all of which revolve around health related things) and when I got home I just randomly decided to google “should I have an elective c-section” — yours was the first blog that came up and honestly, it’s like I wrote it (well, at least the top part) myself. I didn’t even realize there was a WORD for being as terrified as childbirth as I am (probably because my doctors don’t want to give me more diagnoses to keep track of, haha) but it’s so refreshing to know I’m not the only woman out there who is thinking like this. I said to my doctor today “my goal is to be a mother, not a martyr, and I don’t think that pushing my son out of me while I’m terrified is going to prove to anyone that I love him anymore than if I elect to have a controlled, planned surgery.” (The biggest difference between the two of us is that I am HOPING they’ll do mine under general anesthesia because while the idea of surgery itself doesn’t freak me out, the idea of being AWAKE during it does – we discussed today the option that I will be awake for as long as they need me to be, and then they will give me the option to be knocked out, haha… but at that point I will be holding my son so I’ll probably want to stay awake.) So … thank you, I guess. For being so honest, and writing this post. And expressing what I’ve had trouble expressing. And good luck making your decision!

  56. I can’t believe I forgot to tell you about the most amazing childbirth experiences I have ever heard of.
    A colleague (who had a large family of about six kids all born vaginally) related how she cried when the last of her children was born because she knew it was the last and she would never experience it again. BECAUSE it was amazing – better than any orgasm. It was glorious.
    Never heard of it before or since, but I guess it must be very rare.

  57. I’ve never had a baby nor plan to in the immediate future. I would probably go with a vaginal birth if I did, because I have no particular fear of natural birth (supervised by medical professionals obviously). BUT, don’t let anyone shame you into having a vaginal birth merely because it’s more “natural.” Medical advances are a great thing, and something being “natural” does not automatically make it better. Both of the options have risks, and both have benefits. Listen to your doctor and also to your own instincts, and make the choice that seems best and least traumatic to you. You are not the first woman suffering from tokophobia to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby – and you won’t be the last either! That baby is coming out one way or another, and you will be just fine!

  58. Amber, it’s horrible to read about your terror and the Catch-22 of fearing both options. There are so many positive birth stories re C-sections and natural birth out there but of course the demon HA sends you off to the worst possible outcomes instead, so you’re sure that these are what will happen to you even though there’s every chance they won’t. Are there any OCD strategies that could help you? It’s awful to think of you living with such a lot of fear. And PLEASE print this blog post off and let your counsellor read it; you mustn’t let the stress of the counselling session itself stop you telling her what’s going on if there’s any chance she can help.
    Lastly here’s a positive story, though not a birth one, to hold onto if it helps. When my granny was very old indeed, she needed surgery. There was of course a higher risk to her system from anaesthesia given she was ninety something and so she had a spinal block. She hummed a song through the operation and chatted to the staff and my auntie who was with her. Recovered just dandy. Thought the whole thing was an utter miracle as she felt nothing, and had so little pain in recovery. Modern medicine does save so many lives.

  59. I haven’t got experience of tokophobia but I have experienced pregnancy after loss and all of the anxiety that comes with that. I have no idea which decision is best for you and I’m not going to offer an opinion but it sounds as though you have fantastic care in place which would give me confidence with whichever route you decide to take.

    For what it’s worth I had an emergency c section following an induction, both of which I was petrified of happening. Both of these were completely fine, calm and I felt controlled and safe throughout. I now have a healthy 15 month old and feel very positively about the experience which feels like a very small part of my overall experience of motherhood so far.

    I sincerely wish you all the best for whichever path you decide to go down. I don’t think there is a right choice to make here just one you feel supported and respected in making x

  60. I hate hospitals…. never had to spend any time in one (luckily) before my daughter was born. So I researched my options… I ended up going with a family birth centre. It’s like a little house filled with midwives that’s attached to a hospital. So me and hubby (who was allowed to stay at the birthing centre) could be together and I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital. It had a double bed and private bathroom and a cute little courtyard and birthing pools. I am in Australia… so not sure if they have anything similar where you are in the UK. My birth plan was quite similar to yours… I basically told them to do whatever was needed to get my baby out safely and I didn’t have any preferences for pain meds, vaginal birth or c section. I tried to focus on that rather than thinking about exact options or what the birth would be like (denial much??! I’m a psychologist so I should know better lol). I ended up having a completely pain med free vaginal birth as I had a quick labour… not even time to pop a couple of panadols lol. I got to the birthing centre at 530pm and had my baby in my arms at 535pm… yep nearly had her in the car!!! And was home in my own bed by 11 that night. A really positiv birth story!! 😊 I hope that you are able to read all hear women’s stories and find something that you connect with and helps you make a decision! It’s so tough to know what the right thing will be for you and your baby before it actually happens! X

  61. I understand you so well! I felt all this fear before having my son. No matter what anybody said I couldn’t deal mentally with a natural birth. I just couldn’t! So I had an elective C-section with a spinal block. I was afraid of the surgery, sure, but nothing compared with the blind panic I had when thinking about natural birth. For me it was the best decision ever. I was awake during the c-section and I saw my son when they took him out. And the recovery wasn’t as bad as I was told. Maybe I was just lucky, but I recovered better that a friend of mine who had a natural birth. So my advice to you is to try and choose what makes you less afraid, natural birth or c-section. And I wish you all the best in the world!

  62. I had two straightforward c- sections. First was recommended as I was having twins. Second, elective. No regrets at all! Three healthy babies and calm, simple births. Second c- section took bit longer to recover from but the first was very quick and pain free. Huge advantage in planning it all and knowing exactly what to expect.

  63. I thank you again Amber for being so open about your anxiety. I don’t have health anxiety, but have generalized anxiety, mainly about money or house filling up with crap (of my own purchasing) or otherwise becoming “out of control.” I wonder if out of control is at the root of much anxiety? ANYWAY. My point, and I do have one, have an electric C-section, if it’s not too late to post on this topic. There is absolutely no reason not to. Oh and, HA, apparently celebrities have them all the time and then fake like they’re still pregnant (have a C section a month before they’re “due” to the public eye) which gives them one less month to gain weight and one more month to lose it. Gross, ha?

  64. Have to say I agree with your comment don’t want the baby out either way. I saw a c section movie during classes and said “nope, not doing that” next week was the natural birth, well after seeing it I thought baby is just staying in 😉. Nobody would have babies if you saw this before getting pregnant. The human race keeps going though. Two natural births later all is good, but I understand you being terrified either way. Babies do mean loss of control and not just during birthing. Good luck whichever way you go, I will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way. xx

  65. Honestly Amber, I can’t tell you how much I admire you for even falling pregnant, let alone dealing with the loss, plus the healthy anxiety etc. I was scared of childbirth for sure but I don’t have a phobia and both of my vag births were fine in the end, the second was the wham, bam, thank you mam kind thankfully after a long-ish first one. I cannot imagine dealing with appointments, birth etc with tokophobia mixed in, you are a brave, brave lady and clearly your posts are helping others dealing with the same issues.

    I saw up thread in the comments that you can leave it late to decide or even change your mind so I just want to send good thoughts and wish you the best, between you and Terry you’ll come to the right decision. An elective sounds as though you would have a modium of control which might help you. Good luck and know that we are all rooting for you x

  66. No judgement here – you gotta do what you gotta do to get you through your anxiety. I had a shitty birth experience with my first one. It wasn’t so much a day of pain as dayS of pain. If you do end up going with vaginal birth an epidural can be very helpful. For me that was the best part of my labour experience and enabled me to keep a reasonable amount of control over the whole situation.

  67. I had a very successful natural birth with my daughter, but years later with my son I had to be induced. My experience of being induced is that it is actually much faster, especially when they bring out the Syntocin drip! It was also much more painful, but that was only because I was in the rare position of not being allowed an epidural, as I had a low platelet count. I think you need to do whatever you need to do to get through with the minimum of anxiety, and if anyone wants to judge you they can keep their mouth shut! XX

  68. I have had a planned c section because my son was breech. It was fine, I felt slightly as if I had failed due to the attitude of a couple of natural birth loving friends, but pressed on with life anyway, when my son was about 17 I read that Alan Sugar, my utter all time hero, was born by c section, so instantly recovered from my feelings of slight inadequacy.
    My daughter was born in a drug free utterly natural quick birth which was also fine.
    Years later, they are 20 and 16 now I have to say, I am sure this won’t affect your decision and actually the decision might not be yours – you will find in labour you just have to go with the flow and go with the advice of the doctors and mid wives in attendance, but I am very vain (sinful I know) and not mad keen on my scar – I cannot understand how Victoria Beckham has had x4 c sections – crumbs – she must be a lot less vain than me – am I more vain than Victoria Beckham? I need to calm down!
    Much love to you and Terry, Amber – I know you will do this and it will be brilliant – you will surprise yourself x

  69. Thanks for your article, I stumbled across it, as I have Tokophobia also, and having been doing more research on it.
    Tho I have no children yet….
    My anxiety is so intense to even fall pregnant or go through child birth, that I keep putting it off and will talk myself out of having children, but the horrible thing is I’d love to have one, one day, but just cannot for the life of me bring myself to do it… and time is ticking..
    It’s such a horrible horrible feeling.
    My absolute fear is the pregnancy and the labour, the pain and how the effects of my body will be after.
    I’ve gotten to the point that “when my time comes”, I’ll be opting for an epidural (even if that petrifies me also)
    I can’t believe how “not well known” tokophobia is and most people know nothing of it.
    But reading so many articles lately on it, I can’t believe how judgemental some people can be.
    But I think what it comes down to, is how comfortable it’s going to make you feel.
    No one knows how you feel or your experiences and fears with Tokophobia, as no one will ever understand mine.
    Only you know what is best for yourself and baby.
    As long as your baby is safe and healthy that’s what matters

  70. Hi Amber,

    I was reading about the Superdrug Colour Effects shampoo and saw your question regarding tokophobia and c-sections on the side bar.

    I haven’t read all the comments but I just wanted to say that I had tokophobia too. I had elective c-sections to have both my daughters (now 8 and 5), and even now after all these years, I am so glad that I chose to do so.

    Both my c-sections went really well. I spent three nights in hospital with my eldest daughter, and only one night with my second. I recovered really well and was out and about within days. I was able to fully care for my babies, and just asked my husband to lift any heavy things, as you would with a normal birth, I guess. Also, I didn’t particularly feel any pain following the birth; the painkillers worked wonders.

    I did lots of research before asking my NHS consultant for a c-section and was so glad when she finally agreed to one. I found the NICE guidelines contained lots of statistics on complication rates. I’m not sure if they’ve changed the way they compile the stats, but at the time (in 2008) the stats were based on data for all c-sections, irrespective of whether they were emergency or elective. This is something to consider as the statistics may be skewed.

    Your decision is totally up to you, but my experiences were both positive and I do not regret my decision. Good luck with the birth. Feel free to email me with any questions or for a chat because I remember feeling so alone in feeling so terrified about the birth and whether I was making the right decision.

    Best wishes,

  71. Amber, I feel like I could’ve written big chunks of this-I feel very much like you do (so much so I’ve avoided even thinking about kids for years). I’m not pregnant yet, but if I do end up in the club I’ll be requesting an elective c section, for very very similar reasons to you. Thank you for writing this, I feel a lot less alone/bonkers. Oh and on the risks of vaginal birth and lack of info-couldn’t agree more!!!!-I’ve even FOI’d My local trust to get the stats on tears/inductions/instrumental births as they were so difficult to get hold of! Contemplating doing one on long term effects of vaginal birth v c section. I hope your birth goes well, and thank you once again from another woman with huge anxiety and phobia X

  72. Hi Amber,
    I have Tokophobia and am currently fighting for an elective c section. How did you get on? Which birth method did you choose? How was your experience?

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