A 37-year-old Canadian woman convinced not only her boyfriend, but also her entire town that she was pregnant with quintuplets ... for 34 weeks!
"Donations poured in to help the growing family. Friends, strangers and businesses showering them with gifts." (Via ABC)
But mother-to-be Barbara Bienvenue actually wasn't. And nobody knew until she went to the hospital to "deliver."
"Last week, the Canadian man took his girlfriend to the hospital. Nurses there told the couple they were not pregnant at all." (Via WFXT)
CTV reports the boyfriend, 35-year-old Paul Servat, is devastated.
"The woman had told her boyfriend she was pregnant about a month after they met on an online dating site. At first, she said she was expecting twins. Then it changed to triplets and then quadruplets."
So, what happened? Bienvenue may have even tricked herself.
"Doctors say this is a phantom pregnancy. It's rare."
"There's a process whereby you can convince your body that you're pregnant." (Via ABC)
WebMD explains false pregnancies can have all the signs of a real pregnancy, just without the fetus. This includes a swollen stomach, missed periods and possible milk production.
"This unusual condition accounts for one to six out of every 22,000 live births. In rare cases, even men can have a false pregnancy."
But friends and family have said Bienvenue has pulled stunts like this in the past, once posing as a cancer patient, and another lying about having twins.
"We learned the woman is receiving psychiatric care and her boyfriend is returning all the presents for the babies he could not wait to meet." (Via WRTV)
Servat has been open that he's heartbroken, noting he even got to pick out his fictitious children's names.