Woman Told Her Boyfriend She Was Expecting Quintuplets. When He Took Her To A Hospital For Labor, It Turned Out To Be A Phantom Pregnancy
Montreal woman convinced her boyfriend she was pregnant with quintuplets, but it turned out to be completely untrue
When Barbara Bienvenue told her boyfriend, Paul Servat, that she was expecting, he was elated. At first, the woman told him she was expecting twins, but then, the number of babies changed to three, then – to four, and then – to five, and Paul couldn’t believe his luck.
34 weeks after Barbara’s announcement, Paul learned she's never been pregnant.
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Paul was heartbroken when he learned the truth. He told Toronto Sun:
I lost everything, it was my whole life.
The couple met online and started dating in real life. A few months later, Barbara announced she was pregnant with quintuplets. The couple’s friends, family, and the local community rallied around them to help. Everyone was ecstatic.
One friend even set up a Facebook page to help them, and people sent gifts for the babies.
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When Barbara’s due date came, Paul took her to a hospital where he finally learned the hard truth: There never were any babies. Barbara had what is known as a 'phantom pregnancy', doctors said.
Paul was absolutely devastated. He was so eager to take home his five babies, but it turned out they never existed. He broke it off with Barbara and set out to return the gifts they had received. He said:
I’ll return all these things to people who sent them or give them [away]. I’m a good person and I have nothing to do with these lies.
Doctors kept Barbara under psychiatric observation after the truth came out. It's still not clear if the whole story about pregnancy was an elaborate lie or an idea that Barbara genuinely believed in.
When Toronto Sun published the story, it elicited mixed reactions from readers:
What is phantom pregnancy?
Phantom pregnancy (or false pregnancy), medically known as pseudocyesis, refers to the belief that you are pregnant when you actually aren’t.
According to WebMD, women with a false pregnancy may experience symptoms associated with being pregnant without actually carrying a child.
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These signs and symptoms include the following:
- Absent periods.
- Morning sickness.
- Distended belly.
- Weight gain.
- Swollen and tender breasts, sometimes even with milk production.
- Perception of fetal movements.
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Women who desperately want a baby and/or had a miscarriage or stillbirth in the past may be more prone to false pregnancies.
According to WebMD, having a false pregnancy is not the same as having delusions of pregnancy (which is sometimes seen in individuals with schizophrenia) or faking a pregnancy for profit.
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We don’t know if Barbara’s pregnancy was a false pregnancy or she faked the whole thing, but we hope she and Paul were able to move on with their lives.