Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Don't Say That

So when do common pregnancy jitters cross the line into a clinical phobia? And, if [tokophobia] is as prevalent as some research suggests, why isn’t it more widely recognized? The answer may have to do with the difficulty of being open about not looking forward to something that most people consider a miracle—especially when more than six million women in the U.S. alone have problems getting or staying pregnant and may dream of having children.
Too Afraid to Have a Baby
When I read this, I found myself wondering if this was a gendered phenomenon. After all, according to Wikipedia, about 14% of men are infertile, but I was never given the impression that I should hold back from saying that I have never wanted to be a father because it's possible that the person I was talking to may have been unable to have biological children of their own. Perhaps its because I don't spend much time with couples contemplating childbirth - being in my mid-forties, the time that people tend to look forward to the birth of a child is long past for most of the people in my social circles.

Maybe it's another part of the tough guy stereotype - men aren't supposed to display emotionality in public, so while an infertile man might be crushed by the idea that I have never had any intention of being a parent, they just can't admit to it. But even as I write that, it sounds to silly to be rationally considered.

I suspect that it's simply a part of women's socialization - the role of mother is considered much more central to "womanhood" than the role of father is to "manhood." But while that makes a certain amount of sense to me, it does so because it fits into my stereotypes about gender stereotypes. Although it's possible that this is simply one of those situations where there is some truth in stereotyping.

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