Meet Barbara Bienvenue, a woman from Quebec who managed to fake a quintuplet pregnancy (yup, that’s five babies!) for a full nine months. You might need a minute to wrap your mind around that. It took me 10. And once you do, you’ll likely move right along to asking WHY? and HOW? and WTF? Don’t worry, I’m getting to that.
Her boyfriend — well, ex-boyfriend now — Paul Servat met the 37-year-old on an online dating site last summer. After one month of seeing each other, Bienvenue told Servat she was pregnant with twins and before long the number of babies in her womb grew from from two to five. That might have been his first hint, but for all intents and purposes, Servat had no reason to question the veracity of the pregnancy. After all, Bienvenue was exhibiting all the signs of expecting quintuplets — including lactation and morning sickness. Still, he probably shouldn’t have waited until the 9th month to go to the doctor with her because it was until her delivery day that Servat was informed that there were no babies. A hospital staff member was left to break the news to the excited dad-to-be.
“She told me she was not pregnant,” said Servat. “The doctors told me it was a phantom pregnancy.”
It was a phantom pregnancy meaning that Bienvenue didn’t even have to wear a fake belly, or anything crazy like that. She was so convinced that she was pregnant, that her belly swelled naturally.
One of Bienvenue’s relatives revealed that this wasn’t the first time she’s done this. (God, I’m dying for more details, but sadly, there aren’t any.) Bienvenue is currently under psychiatric evaluation. Doctors suspect she’s suffering from pseudocyesis, which is “the belief that you are expecting a baby when you are not really carrying a child.” Sufferers can exhibit all the signs of pregnancy, minus the actual fetus (or fetuses, in this case).
“I lost everything, it was my whole life,” said Servat. Now he has the painful job of returning all the gifts showered upon the phantom babies that never were by friends and family.