A Shocking Secret
Paul Servat stood in the hospital waiting room with a frown on his usually happy face. His girlfriend, Barbara Bienvenue, had been in the delivery chamber for too long. He knew that this was a unique pregnancy, but he couldn't shake the feeling that something terrible had happened.
Eventually, the doctor emerged, but there were no babies in his arms. Paul and his family stared at the medical staff, unable to understand what was happening. The doctor shook his head and motioned for Paul to join him privately, but the expectant father wasn't prepared for the news he was about to receive.
During the pregnancy, Paul and Barbara found out that they weren't going to have one baby but three. There were some initial concerns, but the couple was delighted to have such a large family.
The delivery day came a few weeks early, but Paul and Barbara knew this was normal according to the books on multiple birth pregnancies they had read. However, Paul was soon told that this was no ordinary pregnancy and his babies would pay the ultimate price.
Paul was devastated to hear the news. He was convinced the doctors made a mistake. It didn't make any sense. And the only person who could explain things was still in the operating room. Paul refused to accept what the doctor was saying. He would find out the truth for himself.
The hospital staff understood Paul's frustration and tried to show him the test results. There it was—proof that the person he loved with all his heart had lied to him. But the doctor wasn't sure if Barbara was aware of what she'd done.
In an instant, the atmosphere in the hospital turned cold. This was the worst news anyone could receive. Paul and his family still couldn't believe what was happening. All around them were happy parents holding their newborns, but they were experiencing a tragedy that was so confusing.
The doctors admitted that it wasn't the first time this occurred. Paul couldn't understand how no one had mentioned anything until now. The happiest day of his life soon turned into one he wanted to forget, but there was no escaping these fateful words ...
The doctor told Paul that he wouldn't be taking home any babies that day. It was heartbreaking for the Servat family, but instead of sadness, they only felt confusion. It seemed impossible that what the nurses and doctors were saying was true.
Paul had been with Barbara this whole time, and even though the tests proved otherwise, he had to believe in his girlfriend. Someone must've made a mistake. The doctors sympathized with Paul and began to ask him a few questions. As he answered them, he realized they might be correct about Barbara.
Paul and Barbara met through an online dating site. Both had been single for a while and were tired of watching their friends settle down. Despite an age difference, the two immediately clicked, and Paul believed he had finally found his soulmate.
After chatting for a few weeks, they decided to take the next step and meet in person. Their romance blossomed, and Paul felt like the luckiest man on earth. But Barbara was holding onto a deep secret, and Paul found out about it in the worst way possible.
So in Love
It was rare for two people to have such a strong bond. Paul felt like he could trust Barbara with anything and the couple was soon meeting frequently. Being slightly older than most people on dating apps, Paul and Barbara wasted no time starting their lives together.
They knew their relationship was meant to be and couldn't wait to join their friends on nights out. Paul had everything in life except someone to share it with and got caught up in being the best partner he could. Unfortunately, this made him overlook important details.
A Serious Conversation
Two months into their relationship, Barbara asked Paul to meet. She didn't sound like her usual self, and Paul suspected something was wrong. He had finally found the woman of his dreams and wondered what could be the matter.
Barbara walked into the room with a massive smile on her face. This left Paul perplexed until his girlfriend finally admitted that she was pregnant! Paul was ecstatic! He couldn't wait to become a father, but sadly, Barbara wasn't telling him everything, and soon he would learn never to trust a stranger.
The Next Step
The couple's family rejoiced at the news of a new baby. Unfortunately, not everyone was happy. There was one person who had to endure some pain and suffering—the soon-to-be mother. As Paul watched Barbara struggle with morning sickness and weight gain, he came up with a solution.
Paul asked her to move in with him so he could take care of her. Barbara instantly agreed, and it seemed like they were about to be the perfect little family. But everything changed the moment Barbara went to the hospital, and the doctors found out the truth.
Babara's belly kept expanding, and her mood swings were getting worse. A trip to the doctor revealed that the couple was about to give birth to twins! But apparently, the doctors were wrong because a short while later, the twins turned into triplets.
Paul and Barbara felt extremely lucky. Not many people had been blessed with so many kids at once. Even though they were both first-time parents, the couple felt sure they could handle anything together. But then complications arose.
Running Into Problems
Although they had all the love to give to the soon-to-be children, the couple did not have an unlimited supply of cash. Paul had a stable career which was enough to support one child, but how would they take care of three?
This left the parents with a problem. How were they going to afford these little miracles? Family and neighbors pitched in with whatever they could spare, but it didn't seem to be enough. That's when Paul came up with an idea. However, it would be one he would later regret.
Social Media Sensation
The couple started a Facebook page to share their story, and it touched the hearts of many people. Local businesses donated to the fund, and soon Paul and Barbara had everything they needed to set up the triplet's room.
They posted regular updates on the pregnancy and gifts they received. It seemed like everything was going swimmingly for the little family, and people couldn't wait for the babies to arrive. However, instead of posting pictures of the newborns, Paul was forced to take down the page.
Taking Care of Barbara
Paul enlisted the help of his mother so that Barbara would be taken care of. They made sure that his heavily pregnant girlfriend had nothing to worry about. But Barbara soon felt bored, and this might have been the first sign that something was off.
Paul found activities for Barbara to do so she didn't have to sit around all day. They also began reading everything they could find about premature births. Both parents were determined that all of their children would be born healthy, but they were in for shocking news.
My Water Broke
Barbara went into labor in the 34th week of her pregnancy. The couple was nervous but also very excited. Paul anxiously waited for the doctor to deliver his kids. He knew that his life was about to change forever.
It seemed like forever until Paul received any information from the staff. Finally, the doctor opened up about what he had seen in Barbara's blood tests, and Paul realized he was about to lose the family he had been hoping to create.
The doctor told Paul that Barbara was never pregnant! The expectant father stared at the man, unable to process what was happening. It seemed like the medical professional was also having a difficult time wrapping his head around this.
Paul had witnessed his girlfriend experience all the symptoms of pregnancy. The tests had to be wrong. But as he was prompted about Barbara's scans, he realized he had never been in the doctor's office with her.
The medical professionals told Paul it was a "phantom pregnancy." The family still couldn't understand what this meant. None of them wanted to accept that the past few months had been a lie and the babies didn't exist.
But the tests proved that there were no kids in Barbara's womb. Paul's world crumbled around him, and he was unable to stop it. But there was one thing he had to find out … Why had the woman he loved lied to him and everyone else?
The doctors warned Paul that Barbara might not be aware of what happened. According to psychologists, people who experience phantom pregnancies genuinely believe that a child is growing inside them.
Often, when mothers find out there is no baby, they find it impossible to believe and may even break down. Before admitting the truth to the patients, doctors advise making them feel understood and supported. Paul didn't want to hurt Barbara, but he also knew he had to get to the bottom of this. But he was even more shocked at what he found!
Specialists Get It Wrong Too
There were some inconsistencies during Barbara's pregnancy that caused doubt to enter Paul's mind. He hated to think of the woman he loved in this way, but he couldn't help the nagging feeling at the back of his mind.
The doctors admitted to Paul that specialists make mistakes too and proceeded to tell him about one such incident. They felt sorry for Barbara and couldn't believe she would knowingly do something like this. But there was something off about Barbara, and Paul couldn't put his finger on it. Then it dawned on him!
Even though Paul was experiencing something like this for the first time, it was nothing new to the medical professionals. In North Carolina, two physicians almost lost their license when they attempted a surgical procedure on a woman who wasn't pregnant.
Apparently, they had tried to induce labor without checking for the baby's heartbeat. The supposed mother, in this instance, was baffled by what happened, but Paul wasn't sure if the same could be said for Barbara.
According to medical statistics, phantom pregnancy or pseudocyesis, as it's termed, is an actual condition. It affects approximately six out of 22 pregnant women in the US. But most of these supposed mothers don't know that they're not pregnant. Barbara's behavior, however, was slightly suspicious.
In fact, there was one person who didn't fully believe that Barbara was pregnant. One of Paul's close friends, Genevieve Laflamme, admitted that she was skeptical of Barbara's pregnancy. The woman who had given birth to triplets recently claimed she noticed this about Barbara …
Genevieve noticed that Barbara's proclamation about having triplets had come very late into the pregnancy. From her experience, she knew that doctors pick up on those facts quite early. But that wasn't the only oddity.
Apparently, Barbara was very active for a woman so heavily pregnant. She didn't rest as much as other women did in their final trimester. But Genevieve didn't mention those things because it would damper her friend's happiness. Now, she was seeing Barbara in a different light but still, no one would expect the shocking answer from Barbara.
Benefit of the Doubt
Paul wasn't sure what to think. He knew Barbara better than anyone and refused to believe she would knowingly cause this pain to all of them. There was no logical reason that anyone would do such a thing. He decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.
But he still couldn't ignore the lies that Barbara had told him. She had been going to doctor's appointments for months. It would have been impossible for her not to know the truth. After all, there weren't any records of her pregnancy. That's when he decided to investigate further but what he found broke his heart.
Paul and Barbara had only known each other for a few months. During that time, Barbara refused to speak about her family. Paul could tell it was a sore subject for her and didn't push the matter. But now, he needed to know more about her.
The only thing he knew about Barbara's past was that she had relocated from Quebec, just as he had. If only there were a way to contact her relatives and find out more about her state of mind. Luckily, the opportunity to do that came within hours of the story's release.
A Stranger Reaches Out
A local newspaper covered the story of Barbara's fake pregnancy. After all, the couple was well known because of their Facebook page and the gifts they received. But their tale was far from over. After reading the article, one of Barbara's relatives contacted Paul.
He was shocked to hear from the strange man. Finally, he would get the answers he wanted. But despite everything that occurred with Barbara, he still wasn't prepared to hear this devastating remark.
She Did It Again
Barbara's family member sadly admitted that Paul wasn't the first person to be fooled by Barbara. Paul was stunned. Did this mean what he thought it did? He waited for the man on the other end to continue, but each word stabbed his heart.
"This isn't the first time she's done it." Now there was no doubt that Barbara knew she wasn't pregnant. The man went on to say, "We never thought she was sick enough to do it again."Paul didn't know whether to be sad or angry as he listened to the informant's next words.
The relative claimed that Barbara had cut ties with her family in recent months. She obviously didn't want anyone revealing her secret. Barbara's family felt horrible about what she did and even apologized to Paul on her behalf.
But her illness might not have been the sole cause for this fabrication. Soon after the incident, Barbara's ex-boyfriend came forward and told his story to the Toronto Sun. There was one striking similarity that Paul couldn't ignore.
The ex-boyfriend claimed that Barbara told him she was pregnant while they were dating. As time went on she said they were going to have twins and wanted to raise funds to help support the babies.
It appears Barbara might have been forcing herself to mimic the signs of pregnancy to get extra cash. After a while, the boyfriend found out there were no babies. He never expected she would do the same thing to someone else. Upon discovering the truth, Paul knew what he had to do.
World of hurt
When Barbara lied to Paul about the pregnancy, she didn't just break his heart; she also hurt his friends and family. Paul stated, "my parents, they were so looking forward to having grandchildren." It was a lot of damage to undo, but Paul had to start somewhere.
People who had helped the couple create the Facebook page were angered, but everyone knew how much harder this had to be for Paul. He received tremendous support for his ordeal, but he knew there was still something he had to do.
Even after learning the truth, it took a while for Paul to understand how someone could do something so awful. He was consumed with the idea of being a father since he was in his thirties and wanted to settle down.
"I lost everything; it was my whole life." Paul felt the worst kind of betrayal, and knowing Barbara only used him and his family to get rich was heartbreaking. But he wasn't going to let her get away with everything. There was still something he could do.
The Nursery When Paul came home after learning the horrifying news at the hospital, he knew what needed to be done. He walked into the nursery they had prepped for the babies. It was the worst feeling to know there would be no little ones sleeping in there.
Paul had already made up his mind. He got to work in the nursery while tears threatened to fall from his moist eyes. He picked up all the gifts they received and started phoning the well-wishers to explain what had happened. But not everyone was sympathetic to his plight.
As could be expected, most people were angry at Barbara, but this sparked a debate within the community. Some claimed that Paul should've figured it out sooner. One woman stated, "it's not like faking a normal pregnancy … I'm side-eyeing the people who believed this."
But others felt that mental health issues aren't something a person can be judged on. "She needs help, not criticism!" someone wrote. So, where is Barbara now? And what did she have to say on the matter?
According to reports by the family, they got together and convinced Barbara that she needed professional help in a psychiatric facility. Her relatives believe that without proper treatment, Barbara might do this again.
When describing the treatment for something like this, a gynecologist mentioned that it takes years and years of therapy to recover. But Barbara wasn't the only one to be scarred by the incident. Paul had this to say about his future plans.
Paul had opened his heart to Barbara only to develop significant trust issues. He eventually forgave what she did but didn't think he could ever love her again. When Paul learned that his ex-girlfriend was receiving treatment, he wished her well but knows it will take time before he moves on with his life.
Months after the ordeal, Paul continued to return the gifts and donations that the couple received. He wants to forget the terrible ordeal he went through and live his life away from the public eye.