A Canadian woman in Quebec told the folk in her town, including her boyfriend, that she was pregnant and expecting quintuplets. She convinced everyone to show some support and open their wallets to help with the financial burden that would soon arrive with the babies. To the shock of everyone, she did not give birth to quintuplets; in fact, the pregnancy did not occur at all – a rare case of “phantom pregnancy” and a devastation to her boyfriend.
When the woman broke the news, Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu the small town where she lived all united to support her. The woman’s boyfriend created a Facebook page in order to update everyone. The couple had met online and the news of her pregnancy was revealed one month following the first time they met. The initial news was that she was expecting twins, this later grew to triplets, then quadruplets and lastly, a quintuplets.
A fellow resident who befriended the soon to be mother and has triplets herself, gave the woman tips on handling the children, where to find support financially, and where to get sponsors for diapers. However, holes in the woman’s story made the mother suspicious. The woman then supposedly got another ultrasound before revealing that she was about to give birth to quintuplets.
The mother who offered support told CTV Montreal that she did not believe the news of the quintuplet pregnancy. This, however, did not stop supporters on Facebook from showering the woman with gifts.
On Tuesday, she was taken to the hospital after 34 weeks by her boyfriend, and to his devastation, it was revealed she did not have quintuplet children and more so, she was not pregnant and either imagined or faked the story, a case of what is known as a “phantom pregnancy.”
CTV reports that phantom pregnancies can be broken down to two different types, according to Dr. Haim Abenhaim of the Montreal Jewish General Hospital. The first is pseudocyesis, when there are actual signs of pregnancy including morning sickness and missed periods, but the pregnancy does not occur. The second is known as delusional pregnancy in which an individual is under the belief that she is pregnant but in fact, it is not actually the case.
WebMD makes it clear that delusional pregnancy is different from claiming one is pregnancy for financial gain. In the case of the woman with supposed quintuplets, it is still not know what caused her delusion and she is currently undergoing psychiatric evaluation, thus why her name cannot be revealed.
Literature on delusional pregnancy and incidences of it is scant. However, there are cases where men also get diagnosed. In 1989, Pub Med reported on a case in which a young, unmarried boy with retardation and epilepsy believed he was pregnant, which was found to be due to significant brain damage.
According to CTV, the post on the Facebook page says Paul is devastated by the phantom pregnancy and being deceived that he would have quintuplets when there was nothing at all. Gifts received by the couple were given back and some items were given to charity. The boyfriend is said to have cut off all ties with the woman.
By Kollin Lore