The Unexpectedly Non-expecting Co-Worker

by admin on June 11, 2014

I’ve worked in a few different restaurants since I began college, and I could tell mountains of stories about rude customers (once a man even threw a pager at me!). This story is about one of my co-workers though.

For a bit of background, I was hired at my place of work (as a hostess) before it had officially opened. So my coworkers and I started off in training and orientation together. Of course people came and went, but a group of about eight of us girls stuck around consistently and grew somewhat close.

About a year after the restaurant opened, one of the youngest girls, we’ll call her Samantha, announced that she was pregnant. She was quite young, only 19, but she seemed genuinely excited so we were all excited for her. As the months went on, we were given updates. Normal things like the sex of the baby, the name she and her boyfriend picked out, she brought in ultrasound pictures etc… At around her fifth month of pregnancy, she finds out that her baby is suffering from some rare birth defect and her and one of our managers grow close because his son had actually died from this condition. He helps her with the how-to’s of caring for a child with this condition, all her paperwork so she could get paid maternity leave (our restaurant was fantastic to its loyal employees), and gave her the coordinator position on Friday and Saturday nights. (Two hosts stood in the box, one greeting the customers and putting them on a wait and the other ‘coordinated’ the seating. Three to four other girls would then take the customers to their seats. She said she had to have the coordinator spot because she was restricted from carrying anything or walking around.)

Fast forward another couple of months and she goes into premature labor. Around this time, my boyfriend and I go on vacation for a couple of weeks so I was only given a retelling by my other coworkers. Turns out Samantha HAD NEVER BEEN PREGNANT! We were all Facebook friends and one of the other girls found it odd that Samantha had always posted picture after picture of her nieces, but she hadn’t posted a single photo of her own son. Then the manager she had grown close to kept trying to schedule a visit, but she said the hospital was restricting access to immediate family only. She returned to work about two weeks after the birth, while her made up son was supposedly still in the hospital! Finally, one of the other girls in our original eight called the hospital to inquire about the birth and was told that no child with that name had been born there in the last month.

Obviously, Samantha was immediately fired. Looking back, it’s easy to see the signs that maybe everything wasn’t on the up and up. The name she chose just so happened to be the name of our local college’s quarterback. She gained a very minimal amount of weight, but we just put that down to her being so small to begin with. She also got a piercing during the pregnancy that we were all slightly horrified by. I’m not sure if its safe of not, but I most definitely wouldn’t have ever taken the risk.

The saddest part is that our manager genuinely just been trying to help and it obviously brought up some horrible memories of his son dying, only for it to turn out to be fake. She kind of disappeared after that. Her Facebook page said something about her breaking up with her boyfriend, who also thought she’d been pregnant this whole time, and moving to a different state. We still have no idea why she did this, or quite frankly how she came up with the ultrasound pictures! 0604-14

Münchausen syndrome but also Münchausen syndrome by proxy in regards to a fake fetus.   It’s beyond sad that some people are so desperate for attention that they will fabricate drama and catastrophes to get it.

{ 115 comments… read them below or add one }

Harry June 11, 2014 at 2:56 am

How awful for your manager, having a very real tragedy made into an attention-grab story like that. As bad as I feel for him, I have to feel bad for Samantha too. When people make up stories like this they always – ALWAYS get found out in the end, and then they have to move on to somewhere else where other people don’t know that they are liars.
So even though she grew close to someone by confiding in them, once she was found out, she lost the friend she took all that trouble to make. And her boyfriend to boot.
If she does this a lot, I wonder if she views her friends and acquaintances as temporary, or whether she really does feel like she has to start again each time – moving around must be hard work.

I knew a girl “Claire” who did something very similar. She was new in town, and claimed to get pregnant. (we were about 14 or 15 at the time). She had all of our classmates (and some teachers) giving her support and advice on what she could do, how she could get support for herself and her child. Word got around the school that she was pregnant (‘someone’ leaked her ‘secret’… except looking back, she didn’t really seem that upset that everyone knew about it). When on a school camp she claimed that she couldn’t take part in the same activities (hiking, rock climbing, etc) as the rest of us, and got ferried around in a car from place to place. She kept everyone awake all night crying, saying she had ‘stabbing pains in her stomach’, but refused to be taken to hospital. She flashed around ultrasound pictures as well – this is why your story reminded me of her.

Eventually, she disappeared from school for about a fortnight. When she returned she proudly showed off pictures of ‘her’ child, and said her grandparents (who she lived with) were taking care of the baby while she went to school. Except there was no baby – her Grandparents came to the school a few weeks later, and took a few of her closest friends aside quietly and explained that she was never pregnant, the photo was of her newborn cousin. Looking back, the signs should have been obvious – she never got bigger, no one ever saw the child, or her home while she was supposedly preparing for its arrival.

I guess Claire was lonely, having just moved to our town and saw how much attention and care her auntie was getting because she was expecting a baby, and thought she wanted that attention too. I wonder if some people like Samantha actually mistake people feeling bad for them and trying to help them for a real friendship.

Claire made up a lot of other stuff too, like a sexual assault (which was investigated thoroughly by the police as the claims she made were serious!) and being abused by her grandparents (showing off her eczema and claiming they burned her with a lighter). Each time, a responsible adult wound up revealing the lies, and eventually Claire moved to a new school.

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Mya June 11, 2014 at 6:41 am

Wow. This seems disturbingly common among young teenage girls. When I started Secondary School at the age of 11 (I live in the UK) there was a girl in our year, we’ll call her ‘Jo’, who, in Year 7 (Secondary school is years 7-11) at the tender age of 12, claimed to be pregnant. There was a massive hoo-hah at school about it as a pregnant 12yo was a massive child protection issue. The police were called, social services involved etc.

IIRC, Jo’s mum was rumoured to be a ‘lady of the night’ and was rather eccentric. Jo herself was a touch strange and the pair of them dressed like they were going clubbing all the time. I ran into them years later in a bookshop and Jo’s mum was really nice and Jo seemed to be pretty normal so clearly they grew out of their ‘phase’ together. I get the impression that Jo’s mum was a teenage mum herself when she had Jo so I suspect Jo’s childhood was difficult and her mum was inexperienced.

So all the while this hoo hah is happening around this ‘Pregnant year 7′, she’s basking in her notoriety, getting stopped in the halls by the ‘cool year 11’s’ who wanted to coo over her and touch her ‘baby bump’ claiming (at less than 20 weeks) that they could ‘feel the baby kicking’ and going on about how ‘firm’ her ‘bump’ was. I witnessed this spectacle myself a few times and have to admit she certainly committed to the cause – she got in a LOT of trouble with the school (An all girls Catholic school tends to consider expelling students that get pregnant) but stuck it out until at around 6 months, when her bump was still minuscule, she came in one Monday morning telling everyone she’d had a miscarriage over the weekend.

By this time plenty of people were smelling a Rat and I assume the convenient timing of the ‘Miscarriage’ was designed to try to salvage what little attention she was still getting from those who had not cast doubts on her scheme. It went very wrong and she went from being a ‘celebrity’ in the school to being ostracised and reviled by the very groups of older girls who were cooing over her non-existent ‘bump’. Not in the least because you don’t miscarry at 6 months and turn up for school on Monday like nothings happened. I miscarried very early on in a pregnancy last year and was still deeply affected by it and in a lot of pain so I can’t imagine what it must be like to miscarry at such a ‘late’ stage.

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Enna June 13, 2014 at 8:32 am

What about a boy in a Catholic School getting a girl pregnanat? Or if he was in an all boys school and the teachers found out he had got a girl pregnant?

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Mer June 11, 2014 at 3:16 am

How did you find that she was never pregnant? I do wonder if there happened a miscarriage earlier and she just kept on “being pregnant”.

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Rosie B. June 11, 2014 at 8:46 pm

That was my thought. Maybe it wasn’t so much that she wanted paid leave or special treatment at work, but that it was a coping mechanism for grieving the loss of her baby. It still doesn’t make what she did okay by any means, but I feel like this woman needs a therapist more than anything.

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Calli Arcale June 12, 2014 at 11:42 am

It’s possible, but completely made-up pregnancies happen often enough that it’s more likely she really did make the whole thing up. The baby acquiring a diagnosis similar to what the manager’s son had is a major warning sign that it’s all an attention-getting scene. Considering the circumstances, it’s probably better that it was a fake pregnancy; I’d be very worried about someone like this becoming a Munchausen-By-Proxy case. That’s also a “factitious disorder” (the technical term for made up disease), but instead of the person making up a problem with themselves, they invent a problem with their child, which winds up with the child enduring lots of needless tests, taking medicines that they don’t need, missing school pointlessly, and, in the worst cases, actually being harmed in order to produce symptoms. All in all, I’d say society got off light with this lady just having a fake pregnancy. But it probably won’t be the last time she preys on people’s sympathy.

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Brit June 11, 2014 at 3:43 am

That’s disgusting. That’s just absolutely disgusting. What a sick, horrible person Samantha is.

I worked with a girl once whose young child had to have some medical tests – our boss had two disabled children so he told her to take whatever time she needed to deal with this.

Tests done, her kid was fine. Only then she started taking days off because ‘J didn’t sleep well’. Or ‘J was grizzly’. Or when she’d been out drinking the night before but claimed J ‘was a bit under the weather’. She ripped off his generosity that came from coping with his seriously ill children, and he found it too painful to confront.

In the end I put in a formal written complaint to HR to stop it. She never spoke to me again, she knew I’d done it, but she did slap paper around a lot in front of me while making PA comments. Which I ignored. What she did was disgusting as well.

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Tara June 11, 2014 at 4:09 am

This really isn’t an etiquette issue, OP. This poor woman was mentally ill.

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Dee June 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Or at the very least a personality disorder. Sad for all parties involved regardless.

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Elizabeth June 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Agreed

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Ellex June 14, 2014 at 9:54 am

Yeah, this seems more like gossip than an etiquette issue to me. It’s sad and deplorable, granted.

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MichelleP June 11, 2014 at 4:12 am

Sadly there are many people in the world like this. I knew a girl in high school who fabricated a pregnancy, although didn’t take it quite this far.

OP, don’t let people like this stop you and that lovely manager from helping people.

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Marozia June 11, 2014 at 5:06 am

I really feel pity for your manager who’s own child died of the condition, when he was only trying to help your co-worker. She duped you all and played on your manager’s emotions. A very sick girl!
I only thank the good Lord that she DIDN’T have a baby. Goodness only knows what would’ve happened! There have been many cases of Munchausen’s By Proxy reported in the media.
Just now, as I am watching the news in Perth, a woman has been caught feeding her daughter chemotherapy drugs, faking cancer in her child, so she could get attention. She has a serious personality disorder.

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Agania June 12, 2014 at 12:55 am

And has been sent to jail for it. Thankfully the child seems to be relatively unharmed by the drugs. But she does face the possibility that she will be infertile.

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Puzzled June 11, 2014 at 5:06 am

I had a boss who did this. When I worked for her, she told us she had to have a hysterectomy. A couple of years after I left, she told everyone she was pregnant and was showing everyone ultrasound photos. Turns out she had stolen the ultrasound picture from someone she knew and cut out the identifying information. Her husband found out and divorced her. Turns out this wasn’t the first time she pulled this crazy stunt.

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JO June 11, 2014 at 5:38 am

Coinsider the possibility that Samantha actually believed she was pregnant – especially if she may have been pregnant an suffered a miscarriage, or if someone close to her had lost a baby recently. There is a real mental illness (I can’t remember what it’s called) where a woman can want a baby so strongly that she comes to believe she is pregnant, and even develop physical symptoms of pregnancy like weight gain, which you mention. Or possibly she has Munchausen, as admin suggested. Either way, you and your friends, especially your manager, are certainly victims of her mental illness as well. But hearing this, I get the feeling that Samantha didn’t intend any harm, but rather simply thought she was telling the truth or was too ill to know the effect she would have on others. My sympathies to you all.

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Kippie June 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm

That condition is called pseudocyesis. (It can happen in other species, as well.) However, if she was bringing in ultrasound pictures, she was obviously not being truthful.

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JO June 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Thank you! Yes, the pictures do add a sketchy element. she clearly has SOME kind of mental issues going on here, even if not that particular disorder!

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AnnaMontana June 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

I think you mean a ‘hysterical’ or ‘chemical’ pregnancy.

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Thistlebird June 11, 2014 at 2:18 pm

A chemical pregnancy is not the same thing as a hysterical pregnancy. There’s no psychological component to a chemical pregnancy, and in fact it’s not a false pregnancy at all–it’s just a very early miscarriage. The embryo fails to implant but since conception did occur, the usual pregnancy hormones get kicked off, which is why the pregnancy test is positive and why it’s called “chemical” (although it seems like hormonal would be a better term.) So a chemical pregnancy isn’t something that would continue for months like in this story.

I think it’s important to share this info because “chemical pregnancy” is a term that’s not widely understood but it does mean a miscarriage, and miscarriage is a sensitive subject. I had a chemical pregnancy (at least that’s what the doc said, though mine seems to have gone longer than usual–eight weeks) and when I told people about it, I just called it a miscarriage because I had a feeling the “chemical” term would confuse people and they’d think I had a false pregnancy. I know that if people had gotten that impression and therefore blown it off or found it weird, humorous, evidence of my being unstable, any of those reactions that people might have to a hysterical pregnancy, that would have been very hard for me emotionally at a time when I was grieving. So, in case some other woman uses the real term after her own experience, I’d like people to know what it means.

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JO June 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm

A chemical pregnancy is actually not a mental issue, it’s when an egg fertalizes and produces hormones that can result in a positive pregnancy test, but doesn’t implant. It’s considered a form of miscairrage. Hysterical pregnancy might be a name for it though

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jen d. June 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm

I think it’s called a phantom pregnancy. I just remember historians talking about how Queen Mary (of England) possibly had a series of them.

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Ruby June 11, 2014 at 6:03 am

I’m a teacher. A few years ago, we had a young co-worker suffering from stage IV ovarian cancer. She worked at 2 schools as an itinerant. She came to work with a mask on because of the chemo (she never lost her hair) and even with a feeding tube up her nose (she had not lost any weight). She would lie down in the nurse’s office rather than teach.

Co-workers gave her money for rent, plane tickets to see her dying father out of state, and other gifts. Then the two schools decided to throw her a joint fundraiser benefit. They sent out the invitations, etc., and decided to invite her mother. Well, surprise, surprise, her mother knew nothing about the cancer, the father had not been sick and definitely not in the state where the plane tickets had sent the co-worker.

Yes, the whole thing was a scam. No cancer. She left the state and who knows what she is doing/scamming now.

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just4kicks June 11, 2014 at 7:56 am

The same thing happened in our area a few years ago. The young girl had leukemia, and the parents had lots of fundraisers and collection jars in alot of local businesses. Long story short, the girl’s grandparents came forward to say the girl was fine, never had an illness. The parents were just “cashing in” and keeping all of the money collected. They hightailed out of town as the true story came out and there were rumors of the parents being brought up on charges of fraud.
What made this especially heinous was the summer before, a teenage boy was killed in a terrible accident on his families farm when he and his father drove over a propane tank which caused the truck to explode. The boy burned to death and his father almost died trying to get his son out of the burning vehicle. Our community raised lots of money for the family and the dad’s medical bills.
I heard through the grapevine that the family who said their daughter was sick, got the idea to do this horrible charade because of the boy who died and “how much money the suckers that live in the area forked over for THAT dead kid and his family!” Truly despicable and disgusting.

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Amy A. June 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm

My mother had cancer, went through chemotherapy, and never lost her hair. But because she works with children, her doctor suggested she wear a mask due to her compromised immune system. While I am sorry your co-worker lied, it’s not always a scam.

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Ruby June 11, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I never said it was.

I hope your mom’s doing well.

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Eddie June 11, 2014 at 6:22 am

I had a similar experience with a family friend who maintained her “pregnancy” for 11 months before anyone seriously asked questions. Her body type was able to hide the “non-growth” of pregnancy so everyone thought she was legitimately pregnant. She even accepted multiple gifts and had a baby shower where she was given an array of gifts and quite a bit of money.

When she was found out, she originally tried to say she had a miscarriage, but those in our circle who had unfortunately experienced miscarriages challenged her account and she eventually admitted to her deception. She eventually apologized, sought counseling and has three real children.

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WMK June 11, 2014 at 6:26 am

While it’s very easy to get angry at ‘Samantha’ for what she did, sadly, this girl may be very ill.

I just hope that in time she received the help that she so obviously needed.

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kit June 11, 2014 at 6:58 am

I am surprised that her being small was for you a reason for her to gain minimal amount of weight – if anything, I would expect a chubbier woman with some “reserve weight” to gain only a bit. And how came you didn’t notice the absence of belly which should have been very visible in case of a smaller woman?
Also I don’t understand why should choosing her child that certain name arouse suspicions. As in “only women who were not really pregnant could have liked local college’s quarterback’s name or been fans of himself”, or what?

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technobabble June 11, 2014 at 9:57 am

That is probably OP’s hindsight speaking. Generally, when somebody tells you she is pregnant, you are inclined to believe her, visible symptoms or no (especially if the girl is somebody you considered a friend). That is not really something most people lie about.

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Abby June 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

It’s highly, highly, unusual, but some women are able to carry a baby to full term without appearing pregnant. Plus, the OP says Samantha claimed to go into labor prematurely, so she wouldn’t have been full term. The “prom moms” of the late 90s were averaged size teenage girls and still managed to make it full term without anyone realizing it.

But yeah, generally speaking, the smaller you are, the quicker people will notice you are pregnant, unless you maybe retain major fluids and gain weight everywhere, and people will just assume you gained weight.

I agree with you that the name thing is not “evidence”. If this girl has been lying about her situation for months, she’s certainly had time to think of a fake name. It’s not like someone asked her unexpectedly and she was put on the spot and blurted out the first thing she thought of.

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Lanes June 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Some people do carry small, regardless of size. A girl I used to know was small herself and still carried very small – at 7 months, she only looked about 4-5 months gone. She carried the same for both of her pregnancies, so it’s just her body type.

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SororSalsa June 11, 2014 at 9:50 pm

I had a friend in college who was pregnant and carried a baby to term without ever showing. And I saw this girl naked, so I know that she didn’t show. When she went into labor, she asked me to drive her to the hospital, and I didn’t even know why I was taking her at first. If I hadn’t seen that baby being born, I wouldn’t have believed she really was pregnant. She had a second child a few years later and barely showed…full term, she only looked 4 or 5 months pregnant. And she was very skinny. I’m sure that’s pretty rare, but possible.

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Calli Arcale June 12, 2014 at 11:45 am

I have a cousin who is like that; tall and very slender, and doesn’t really show much while pregnant. Her kids were born completely normal. Me, I looked like a balloon. :-D

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NostalgicGal June 13, 2014 at 7:40 pm

My mother gained 7.5 # with me and I was born at just over 7 months. She didn’t look it at all. Only thing was she had a sweet tooth the size of a bus and craved as many popsicles as she could get ahold of. I have some issues related to that as well….

Friend’s mom was rather large and had an irregular cycle; her last three she finally got clued in she was carrying about 2-3 weeks before she delivered, every time. You didn’t know she was carrying.

The Elf June 11, 2014 at 7:10 am

Some people love, love, love to be in the center of attention. What horrifies me the most, however, is that she hurt the boss by deciding her fake baby had the same condition as the boss’s real son, which likely brought up some terrible memories.

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Lerah99 June 11, 2014 at 7:13 am

There are some forms of mental illness that are just heartbreaking.

This girl is so desperate for love, attention, and compassion that she used your manager’s grief and your coworkers’ good natures.

Sadly, people this sick cannot be trusted. They are unstable and some become violent when their lies are uncovered. Others go an extra step to make themselves or someone in their care actually sick to keep getting attention.

I am so sorry for your manager having the death of his child being dredged up like that. I am also so sorry for Samantha. I hope she gets the help she needs.

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MyFamily June 11, 2014 at 7:34 am

How is calling the hospital proof she didn’t have the baby? Granted, I’m assuming this story took place in the US, but I’m basing that on the grammer and spelling. And it is possible this story happened many years ago, but if anyone had called the hospital after I gave birth to my children (all within the last 10 years), they’d have gotten the same response – no child by that name was born here – HIPAA applies, even to new-born babies. Granted, maybe they had other proof, but the hospital’s denial of birth is not necessarily proof that she did not have a baby.

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technobabble June 11, 2014 at 10:01 am

Wouldn’t the hospital say something along the lines of, “I can’t divulge patient information”, and not outright lie to inquiries?

When one of my in-laws’ foster daughters ended up in the hospital with kidney failure a few years ago, I showed up at the unit she was in to visit without knowing that they’d moved her to a different room than I had been given the previous day. It was my first visit, the nurses didn’t know me, but I provided her name to the front desk, and they were able to at least tell me that she was on the unit, then escort me to the room.

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Kendra June 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Actually, no, they can’t say ” can’t divulge patient information” because that still confirms such patient is or was in that medical facility which is against HIPAA. According to HIPAA, hospitals aren’t allowed to confirm that they have any patient by that name being treated.

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Abby June 11, 2014 at 11:45 am

That’s what I was thinking! In what world do hospitals give out information like that to any random stranger that asks? I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to OP that she has confirmed somehow that Samantha did indeed lie (as opposed to having a miscarriage and keeping it quiet), but I find the coworker who called the hospital to be an incredible busybody.

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Enna June 13, 2014 at 8:49 am

I work as a GP receptionoist – this answer the hospital gave could have been a way to not give anything away. Did the coworker report the response form the hosptial correctly? I would be a bit cautious about this coworker if the coworker tries to glen confidential medical information from a hospital.

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ohboy June 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

I agree — hospitals do NOT give out this information.

Two things – why is this an etiquette issue and why would someone get fired for this?

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Heather A June 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I’m guessing the firing comes as a result of fraud. She used her fake pregnancy to get lighter job duties and to sign up for fictitious paid leave through the company. Bosses tend not to like it when you lie to them and can use it as a reason to fire you (deception/fraud) or just simply because they feel you are no longer trustworthy. If she was an at-will employee, as most restaurant workers are, they can fire you for most any reason or no reason at all unless you’re in a protected class.

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MichelleP June 11, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I hope you’re not implying that she shouldn’t have gotten fired for this. She absolutely should have.

It’s an etiquette issue because someone took advantage of others’ kindness, and I’m fairly certain that’s considered rude.

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Lanes June 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Re getting fired, I assume because she falsely claimed leave she wasn’t entitled to?

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wren June 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm

In my city, the newspaper publishes births, as in “Smith, Jane and John, boy.” They are listed under the different hospitals as a matter of public record. I’m not sure whether a person can opt out.

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Emma June 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm

OP Here. This is exactly it. From what I understand in our state, all births and deaths are a matter of public record.

And as for the firing, we as employees aren’t allowed to be told by management the information of other employees, but I do assume it was because of the false paperwork, missed shifts that were now not excusable since she was not in fact giving births, etc…

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MyFamily June 11, 2014 at 7:19 pm

You better be able to opt out – there are many valid reasons why people wouldn’t want this information to be published.

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Jenn50 June 12, 2014 at 7:25 pm

I don’t know if you can opt out of the newspaper notice, but for certain, you cannot opt out of it being public record that any person can look up in civic records. At least not in Canada. Births and deaths are a matter of public record.

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Wendy June 12, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Hospitals can certainly tell you that a patient is in what they can not say is their condition and so forth. If you call your local hospital and sayy
Friend jane smith just had a baby there can you please put my call through they will. Unless there is a request from the patient or a legal authority which case they are flagged.

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Lo June 11, 2014 at 7:47 am

I hope she gets the psychiatric help that she needs.

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Cecilia June 11, 2014 at 8:02 am

I had a co-worker who also faked a pregnancy. The whole nine yards, too, like “Samantha”, right down to morning sickness, ultrasound pics, baby showers (1 at work and 1 at a friends home), and paid maternity leave. She was still living with her parents at the time and if you visited, you could not talk about the baby because it “upset” her parents that she was unmarried, yet there was a room you were not allowed to see because her parents were decorating a nursery!

She went on maternity leave and when you called to ask about her, she always had a story. The one that was her undoing was when she said was going to have a C-section but the doctors keep rescheduling it because “the nursery at the hospital was too full”. Finally, someone called, got her dad and asked him if Kim was ever going to get her baby delivered. He said “Baby? What baby? Kim’s not pregnant”. Within 15 minutes, Kim called to say that she had been pregnant, but miscarried in her 3rd month and was so devastated that she could not face reality. Her plan had been to get another job while on *paid* maternity leave and just never come back!

Kim’s actual reality had been she broke-up with her boyfriend and faked a pregnancy to try to get him back. Unfortunately, it did not work and he ended up marrying another woman and by then, I think Kim was in so deep she did not want to admit she had lied. The thing that really got me was that the company allowed her to come back to work, even after all that lying and getting paid maternity leave when she was never pregnant!

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PWH June 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

It’s a sad world we live in, that we have to be sceptical of everything we see and hear. This type of things seems to be prevalent in today’s society, whether is be from people who are genuinely mentally ill or from people who are just out and out liars. I’ve seen a number of similar things in the media recently – the lady who convinced her entire community and boyfriend that she was pregnant with triplets, the lady who told a couple they could adopt her unborn child though she was never pregnant and closer to home we had a woman convince everyone she had cancer. She shaved her head and eyebrows, plucked her eyelashes and starved herself and claimed to be raising money for cancer research. In the end, she pocketed well over $30, 000 in donations before she was arrested and charged with fraud.

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Yvaine June 11, 2014 at 9:23 am

This isn’t just a Today’s Society(tm) thing. Mary I of England had two false pregnancies–I think one of them was a phantom pregnancy that she talked herself into because she wanted it so much, and the second was actually terminal cancer. The Internet has given people new venues in which to lie or be genuinely mistaken about medical conditions, but liars and mental illnesses have always existed.

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technobabble June 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

I heard about that girl who faked the cancer too. How sad.

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DGS June 11, 2014 at 8:12 am

Truly sad and disgusting and a glaring case of real psychopathology, whether its Munchausen’s Syndrome, like Admin suggested or something else. For those of us who have lost babies (at 20 weeks and beyond, it’s no longer a miscarriage, it’s either termed a stillbirth or an early neonatal loss if the baby is born live but succumbs to the complications of extreme prematurity), what a stab in the heart and the gut to have someone so callously misuse this type of information. My hope is that she will eventually get the help she desperately needs, and that your boss who was so generous and giving with her, would get some additional support to help him or her cope with the reopening of old wounds.

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babs June 11, 2014 at 9:26 am

Apparently from the responses, this is more common that most of us ever imagined. This happened in the large church that I worked in. A woman had a very difficult “pregnancy” with twins. Much drama throughout her pregnancy. She started a blog to track the progress, filled with so much medical info, no one even thought to question it. Later, when I found out that she was a nurse in a trauma unit, I realized how easy it was to gather that information. I really think she was living someone else’ life that she experienced through the trauma unit. She fooled her husband and everyone around her, and we found that she had “miscarried” before under suspicious circumstances, after receiving a lot of emotional and financial assistance from her husband’s workplace and their former church. It was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced.

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JD June 11, 2014 at 9:42 am

Wow, this is sad, but it brought up a memory — when I was in high school a long time ago, a girl in the class below mine started gaining weight in her belly part way through the year. Her close friends said she’d been “eating a lot of milk shakes.” She finally disappeared as soon as school was out and “spent the summer with her aunt in California,” something she’d never done before, and it was the first we’d ever even heard of an aunt in California. She came back magically thinner in the fall. I had known her casually for most of my life, and like most of the other girls, pretended I believed it and kept right on being friendly with her at all times, but it was a very small town and everyone knew what had happened. The lengths she and her parents went to, to disguise her pregnancy is so opposite to what we see here — a young, single girl faking pregnancy.

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EchoGirl June 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm

There was an episode of a TV show I watch a couple of years ago that touched on this…it really is sad how the pregnancy was so “shameful” back then that girls were isolated and sent away lest anyone ever know the truth.

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Renee June 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I remember a book about this exact thing with the title “gone to an aunts”. http://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/0771069715

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monkey's mommy June 11, 2014 at 9:48 am

I had a friend like this. (Note I say HAD). She got pregnant and “miscarried” frequently. I believe she could’ve been pregnant the first time, but it was a bad situation, and she later confessed the miscarriage was an abortion. I didn’t judge her and life moved on. Fast forward a year and she started dating a guy who was very much in a different league in life in many ways. Low and behold, she got pregnant a few months in to the relationship. They moved in together, he told his family, tbey announced to facebook, and then… She miscarries. We all feel bad for her. A few months later, she is pregnant again! This time, she calls me and says she was in pain, so she got up and went to the hospital, leaving the boyfriend and her daughter at home in bed asleep, and low and behold, miscarried again. With no witness, no support, nothing. At this point, boyfriend knows something is weird and starts to check out. He meets someone else and asks her to move out (there was a bit more involved, like I said, they were in two differnt leagues in life but this really wore on him). After he tells her to leave, and gives her 3000.00 to get a new place rented and buy furniture she sold to move in with him, she claims she is pregnant again. At this point, he hands her an extra 1000 and says go take care of that, then. He wasn’t a heartless guy, he was just sure she as lying for the 3rd time. I don’t know what these women are thinking. (She was 30 at the time, not a kid).

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kingsrings June 11, 2014 at 10:41 am

How truly heartbreaking especially for the co-worker who had really lost a baby due to this condition. Like he hasn’t been through enough already! I really hope Samantha got help for her mental illness before she took advantage of more innocent people.

I’d heard of Munchausen when it came to parents intentionally making their kids ill to get attention. That one always horrified me because innocent children were being hurt and sometimes even killed! I didn’t know however that this situation is also considered Munchausen. And I guess those that fake cancer and other illnesses about themselves also have Munchausen?

This thread also reminded me of something that happened last year. A friend of mine announced on Facebook that she was pregnant with her fifth child. It wasn’t planned. That announcement was the last that any of us ever heard about the pregnancy. I don’t know what happened, and it was awkward. Something similar happened three years ago when a friend announced that she was going to be an aunt on Facebook. That was also the last that was said about it. In both thee cases, the baby never was born I don’t know if miscarriages or similar happened. And I know it’s their right to not have to say anything to anybody regarding such a painful and deeply personal issue as to why the pregnancy didn’t progress. However, by announcing it to everyone, you’re putting yourself in a position where people are going to ask questions, because you told them you or someone else was pregnant.

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Margaret June 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I believe Munchausen is when you fake illness in yourself, and Munchausen by proxy is when you fake or induce illness in someone else, such as your child.

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Lera99 June 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Munchausens is when someone fakes illnesses or in extreme cases actually make themselves sick for attention.

Munchausens by proxy is when someone fakes the illness of another person (usually their child) or in extreme cases actually poison another person (usually their child) for the attention and admiration that they receive for caring for the sick person.

These people desperately want to be admired. That want to be told how brave and inspiring they are. They want people to pat their hand and say “I just don’t know how you do it”.

Sadly, in extreme cases, they end up killing themselves (Munchausens) or the person for which they are caring (Munchausens by proxy).

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kingsrings June 11, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Such an interesting and heartbreaking psychological phenomenon. I don’t know how they deal with the guilt of hurting someone else or the pain of hurting themselves with what they’re doing, but in that kind of mental state, they’re probably just focused on themselves – an extreme narcissism that drives them to this behavior. The film “The Sixth Sense” had a munchausen by proxy storyline.

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AnaMaria June 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

I’m not a parent yet, but, throughout my childhood and even as an adult, I know my dad cannot stand to see me sick or in pain. My friends who are parents feel the same way when their children are sick or hurt. I shudder to think what kind of mental illness would twist someone’s mind and parental instincts to the point where they would rather inflict illness on their children and watch them suffer just to get attention, rather than do anything to see them happy and healthy.

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JO June 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Feigning illness, pregnancy, etc. in one’s self is munchausen. When it’s a parent or caregiver causing or feinging the illness in someone else, it is ‘munchausen by proxy’

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Calli Arcale June 12, 2014 at 11:52 am

If it helps, the technical umbrella term for both conditions is “factitious disorder”. It refers to any and all conditions that have been invented by somebody in order to gain sympathy and/or attention.

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Ashley June 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

I know someone who faked a pregnancy and then subsequent miscarriage as a way of trying to get her now ex bf to stay with her.

He caught her out on it by saying he wanted her to go to the doctor and get a pregnancy test. Told her to set up the appointment and he wanted to be there to find out the results. Magically the next morning (when her period was due anyway) she had a miscarriage.

I don’t really know that any of these stories count as an etiquette issue though…

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Ange June 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Both of my brothers and my husband have had this happen to them. It’s scary how many women out there are perfectly happy to manipulate and lie about something meant to be a personal and happy thing in order to get their own way.

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WMK June 13, 2014 at 5:33 am

What’s even scarier is that I read a story a few months back where pregnant women were selling their used positive pregnancy tests online, to woman that were hoping to fake pregnancies to trap their boyfriend/significant others.

First of all…ICK!

Second, I just can’t wrap my head around deliberately deceiving another person into thinking that one is pregnant. Having experienced a miscarriage myself, false pregnancy is no laughing matter to me.

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B June 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

Having just found out recently that I’m expecting, horror stories like this just make it that much more uncomfortable to share the “good news” with people… There’s a definite mental illness element to it, but there is also the underlying dishonesty and playing of people in order to essentially “steal” items or funds. Despicable is the only word that comes to mind that I can “type in polite company”. I think this is all tied to our society’s need for attention and validation… The same stories we hear about “big” announcements, then followed by the requisite party/soiree/lookatmeandmyohsosuperspeciallifeevent… People want the attention and will (sadly) do some pretty heinous things to get it (along with any financial benefit). I have a horrible feeling we will see more and more stories like this. The comments alone after the OP are proof!

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lakey June 11, 2014 at 11:26 am

I had a friend in junior high and high school who either exaggerated events or outright made them up. It was never anything as serious as a fake pregnancy. She would do this with events I had been present at, and retell them to other people in a way that was far from truthful right in front of me. I was so immature that I never corrected her. I also had a relative who does this with matters that are less important than a pregnancy.
Both of these women had an extreme need for attention. The sad thing about this is that the person wants to be admired and liked but ends up getting the opposite reaction because people see through this behavior.

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Wendy B. June 11, 2014 at 11:40 am

Unfortunately, this sounds like my husband’s daughter. She makes up these wild stories that, on the surface, seem plausible, but then you start digging and things don’t look right. And she keeps doing it and denying that she ever lied all the times she was caught…we’re all out to get her, you know. Unfortunately, this has resulted in our not believing her when her stories are seriously true: such as losing twins halfway through the pregnancy, or her house burning. We actually drove to her city to see the house for ourselves because her stories are that involved.

I have a feeling this girl will be doing this the rest of her life until she gets help.

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Hanna June 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

Is it possible that the girl actually WAS pregnant, and that her baby actually DID have a genetic disorder, and it died in utero and she was too torn up about it that she went into complete denial about it all?

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Calliope June 11, 2014 at 2:04 pm

This was my first thought, too. Of course, it’s also possible that she made the whole thing up, but given the sensitive nature of the situation, I find the OP’s tone to be rather cruel. Digging into a coworker’s personal life, even going so far as to call the hospital, was inappropriate.

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Kendra June 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm

That is very possible. I would like to add that is is also possible that she WAS and the baby DID, and the girl opted to terminate the pregnancy because of the genetic disorder and then didn’t know how to tell her coworkers especially her manager who had the child with the same disorder. Either way, my heart hurts not only for the girl, but for everyone who was touched by this drama.

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hakayama June 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm

You ARE such a trusting and compassionate person.
Would you like to buy the Verazzano Bridge? It’s much longer than the Brooklyn. ;-)
I imagine that recovery from late term losses require more time than just a weekend.

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Calli Arcale June 12, 2014 at 11:53 am

The idea is that she might have had an *early* miscarriage but continued to pretend she was pregnant until eventually having to fake the late miscarriage as the due date approached.

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Politrix June 12, 2014 at 10:56 am

That’s entirely possible. A lot of scenarios are plausible here, none of which make me think this young girl was trying to run a scam (as opposed to “Kate” from this past Monday’s post, who seemed like a real piece of work). At the very least, this girl has deep psychological issues, and needs a ticket to a psychiatrist who can help her sort out her issues, NOT a ticket to e-hell. OP should just be glad she and her friends don’t have to deal with the fallout anymore, and stop gossiping about an obviously troubled individual.
On a separate note, I love how some people dismiss those who don’t share their narrow, myopic view of the world as naive. ;)

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vanessaga81 June 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

How did she file the paperwork for maternity leave if she wasn’t pregnant? Mine had to filled out and signed by my doctor. Did she forge it?

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LovleAnjel June 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Mine didn’t require anything from the doctor. I spent about 10 minutes filling it out and 15 minutes chatting with HR. Easy peasy.

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Markko June 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

A long time ago when I was young there were some amazing liars and fabricators too; the difference is that there was no price tag on their lies, and it was attention they sought without the money too. I will admit the lies were not of this magnitude, and made people mad, but didn’t hurt them. Of course, without the net there was no examples of this sort of thing readily available to be copied.
I will maintain that even if the person who does something like this is truly mentaly ill and not just greedy, the pain they cause is the same. I do not give “free passes” for the sick minded to afflict innocent people any more that the greedy minded. Think of the people who view every plea for help with suspicion because of what these liars and extorters have done.

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Kendra June 11, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I do give “free passes” for mentally ill. As I would give “free passes” to someone who is ill or bereft or has something else going on that makes it impossible for them to function in polite society. Yes, the pain they cause is the same whether it is by flaw or design. The difference is that mentally ill aren’t doing it on purpose, they aren’t setting out to be hurtful. It’s like the difference between a tornado or a bulldozer tearing down your house. You can’t blame the tornado for tearing down your house because it wasn’t intentional, but you sure can blame the driver of the bulldozer for tearing down your house.

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Tracy W June 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

One of my great-uncles, born in the 1930s, went through life lying about everything. He was once imprisoned for theft, while a policeman, from the police’s social fund.

I don’t think there’s much new under the sun.

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Cat June 11, 2014 at 11:52 am

It does not surprise me at all that someone would do this. A teacher at my school pulled a stunt that was new to me. Being too old to be with child, she announced to her classes that her doctor told her that she was dying and would be dead within two weeks. Girls went home in tears.

The principal got calls from parents asking how they could help that poor, dying teacher. It turned out that the doctor had said that, if she did not change her diet and get some exercise, it would eventually kill her. That is true of most of us if what I read in the papers is correct. Death was not, however, knocking at her door within the fortnight.

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Library Diva June 12, 2014 at 10:32 am

That reminds me of a funny story from high school (funny in a karmic kind of way). I was in the musical in ninth grade and it was very intense — the cast, crew and pit band were together every night from 4-6 and 8-10 PM and Saturday mornings. The band’s trombonist told the conductor that his girlfriend’s father had died and that he needed to take a night off to spend time with the family. The conductor told him, of course you can. The stupid part? The girlfriend played flute in the regular concert band and was well-known to the conductor. He called her house to tell his mother how sorry he was to hear the news about Katelyn’s father and ask if there was anything he could do. It turned out that the kid wanted to go out for his birthday. The lie fell apart on the spot, the trombonist got kicked out of the band and replaced with a teacher, and at the next rehearsal, we all get yelled at for our shirking ways (a common theme of that musical experience; the director had bitten off waaaaay more than she could chew with a dance-heavy show and few talented dancers, and we were all bearing the brunt of it).

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Kirst June 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I’m always surprised by the number of people who are qualified to diagnose mental illness and even particular conditions over the internet.

Not everyone who does bizarre or unpleasant stuff has a mental illness or psychological condition. Some people are just selfish, or rude, or greedy, or cruel.

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hakayama June 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Hmmm… There’s an old saying to the effect of “If it walks like a duck, … etc.” ;-0
I don’t think there are verrrrrrry rigid definitions of mental illness as such, and not all psychological conditions have to be extreme. “A little bit will do ya.”

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Kirst June 12, 2014 at 1:19 pm

There are very rigid definitions of mental illness, in DSM IV and DSM V. And they are diagnosed by qualified professionals, not people who read a story on the internet.

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Lo June 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm

That level of fabrication begs for therapy, at the very least.

You don’t have to be clinically insane to need psychiatric intervention.

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AnnaMontana June 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm

I really am pregnant. 35 weeks. I haven’t had a baby shower. I haven’t even consulted my managers about my pregnancy apart from telling them that I am pregnant and how far along.
To me the indicators of fake-pregnancy are those….that the ‘pregnant’ woman talks about it a lot, asks for tons of drama and keeps asking for special dispensation due to her ‘condition’. There are two of us at work at the moment, pregnant (me and another lady, 16 weeks, we are both very discrete) and we both perform our routine tasks as we always have. Yes, lifting, carrying, you name it. We do it because we CAN and WANT to keep our jobs and we enjoy doing them.
The ONLY dispensation to my current condition is that I am allowed to wear professional, dark t-shirts that fit over my growing tummy, as I no longer fit into the blouses and shirts I used to wear.
Honestly, I read so many horror stories about fakes pregnancies, people ‘stealing’ babies (from the mother, out of prams, from hospital or even in gruesome cases, cutting the mother open) and other horrors that now I don’t believe anything anyone tells me without concrete proof.
Lack of a tummy on ‘Samantha’ would have been enough for me.
(BTW, I’ve LOST weight during this pregnancy, and have only just this week started to ‘look’ around 20 weeks according to my midwife)

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kit June 12, 2014 at 8:12 am

Oh yes, all women have easy pregnancies, can carry heavy stuff until the end, are never sick, etc etc.

FYI, there are people who lose weight during pregnancy because they are too sick to keep any food in them. There are people who must lie in beds all their pregnancies to have a hope to keep them at all. That YOU and your coworker are lucky and can fetch and carry doesn’t mean everyone is – and doesn’t mean others are worse than you because of that.
I have had four pregnancies. In all of them, as soon as I tried to carry something heavier between 5 and 15 weeks of time, I ended up with stomach cramps and bleeding. If I had lived as a farmwife a hundred years ago or so, carrying buckets of water or feed around, I would probably never even have known I had been pregnant at all, ever… Makes me wonder how many so-called barren women of that time really had just the same problem that I do. But thanks for “asking special dispensation due to my condition”, I do have two children.

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A different Tracy June 12, 2014 at 10:25 am

“To me the indicators of fake-pregnancy are those….that the ‘pregnant’ woman talks about it a lot, asks for tons of drama and keeps asking for special dispensation due to her ‘condition’. ”

I’ve seen plenty of that in women who are actually pregnant. Odd that you haven’t.

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Calli Arcale June 12, 2014 at 11:56 am

Those are possible red flags, but bigger red flags are the way the level of drama escalates along a curve similar to drug addiction — as the novelty of each new bit of drama wears off, she has to ramp it up to get the extra sympathy she craves, and borrowing details from other people’s stories is also a red flag. Though I don’t think I’d suspect a scam until the end. After all, things really do go wrong sometimes, and the periodic refreshing of the drama does make it more difficult to re-center long enough to smell a rat.

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MsDani313 June 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm

The term for “pregnancy of the mind” or “phantom pregnancy” is pseudocyesis.

Unfortunately it is way to common in teenage girls. I work in a high school and we have had a few girls claim to be pregnant but refuse medical care.

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Tracy W June 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Weirdly some women don’t get baby bumps even when they’re genuinely pregnant. I saw one of my mum’s cousins on a beach holiday at 8 months preggers in a bikini and she did not look even plump. Baby was 7 pounds too. No one can work out where she put it. She was like that for all 3 of her pregnancies (all planned, all healthy.)

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David June 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

There have always been people who told stories to get attention. That’s where the Salem Witch trials came from , why there was a Satanic baby-killers panic in the 1980s, why there are people going around pretending to be 9/11 survivors who have never been to New York, war heroes who have never been in the military, etc.

Be there as much as you can for the supervisor fooled by this woman, it must have been very painful to find out that someone would purposefully use how his child died for an attention scam.

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Beth June 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm

These stories can be to some degree, etiquette related. A person is telling a story to get attention somehow, and that does affect the people around him/her. If someone else in this circle finds out the attention seeker is lying or just suspects he/she is lying, how does one go about sharing that concern? Is it ever okay to call a person out on these sort of stories?

I know when I’ve been in conversations with people who seem to be “story telling” I just smile and nod and make a note to 1. never believe anything that person says without research & 2. never tell that person anything personal about me. However, I’ve never called someone out on an pretty much out and out lie.

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rachel June 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Hospital wouldn’t give out that information. Think this story is a bit embellished and not worthy of being featured.

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Catvickie June 11, 2014 at 5:40 pm

JD–same thing happened to a girl in my class years ago–dissappeared over the summer for a supposed trip to Texas. She had been making out all hours of the day and night with a guy from another town, so we all figured she had an abortion. Small town gossip, you know. . . . . .

Also my 7th grade teacher came to school wearing a maternity top and announced she was pregnant. Nope, she was not–turned out later it was one of those phantom ones. She and her husband moved away before the next year.

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Abby S June 12, 2014 at 7:25 am

I feel very badly for that girl. That clauses “making out all hours of the day and night” and “guy from another town” are dripping with implied judgement. I’m sure the sin of kissing an outsider didn’t warrant the condemnation and shame of small town gossip.

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Emma June 11, 2014 at 5:51 pm

OP Here. Just a couple clarifying statements. First, I promise that this is 100% true and was not embellished in any way as has been suggested.

Second, as I said in my original post, I was on vacation when the ‘birth/discovery’ happened. When I left for vacation, I was still under the impression that ‘Samantha’ was pregnant and due in a few months, when I came back, she had already been fired. That part had been relayed to me by other co-workers. Also, I think there’s some confusion about the phone call. I did not call the hospital myself. Another co-worker did. To my understanding, all births and deaths in our state are a matter of public record. So yes, calling the hospital would get a “yes, a birth took place” or “no, a birth did not.” The hospital could not give any other information beyond that.

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Kiara June 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Hospital shouldn’t have told you who the mother was. That’s a HIPAA violation. You’re not allowed to even say if someone’s in the hospital unless the person has signed a release. Now, the hospital may have done it anyway, though. I’ve known plenty of places (and personally dealt with a few) that acted as if HIPAA didn’t exist.

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Rosie B. June 12, 2014 at 3:40 pm

The OP said that no baby with that name had been born recently…so it sounds like the hospital didn’t give any information about the mother, just the name of the baby. Still no idea if that’s legal or not, but if births are on public record then I see no reason why it wouldn’t be.

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June First June 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Would you get that birth certificate info from the hospital, or from the county courthouse? If you need copies of it, you go to the courthouse, not the hospital.

Also, when I had my first child (within the past six months), I had to sign a form indicating whether or not they should tell people I am in the hospital.

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Rosie B. June 11, 2014 at 8:41 pm

This reminds me of something that happened to me when I was in elementary school. A girl in my class (who I wasn’t even very good friends with) told me that her dad had murdered her mom. She had a whole elaborate story about what had happened, but told me not to tell anyone because she didn’t want everyone to know. I was a little confused at first because I’d seen her with her parents, but I figured they must be foster/adoptive parents or relatives she was living with.

Fast forward a year or so, and this girl turned out to be a bit of a bully. She was pretty unkind to me as well as several other kids in the class, but I didn’t say anything about it because I felt so bad for her. Finally, though, I told my mom and she decided to talk to the teacher about it. (I went to a small school where parent/teacher communication was encouraged, so the teacher would have known about any major issues in a student’s home life.) The teacher said she’d talk to the girl about it, and my mom asked if she knew how long ago the murder was and if that might have anything to do with it. My teacher’s response was, “What murder?” Turns out the girl had lied to me so I’d feel bad for her, and so that I wouldn’t tell on her if she was mean to me.

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Enna June 13, 2014 at 8:42 am

I think the only time you can break a confidence is if someone is in danger of being harmed, hurt or killed. If someone told me this, even as a child I would feel compelled to tell a teacher.

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Randalf June 11, 2014 at 9:40 pm

The OP and her friends should stop following Samantha’s Facebook page. People like her crave attention, and giving her any kind of attention only makes her go bolder.

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Enna June 13, 2014 at 8:44 am

They can report lies on her FB page. For example if she is saying she is pregnant when she isn’t people might send her gifts or money. Sometimes lies can lead to fraud. Facebook can block her account if she is manipulating people.

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EchoGirl June 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

There has been some research that some cases of MSBP actually aren’t — they’re just overly worried or paranoid parents, or parents who actually have sick kids but the doctors don’t believe them so call it MSBP. There was one case where people were convinced a mother had MSBP because all 4 (or 5, I can’t remember for sure) of her kids had autism and that was statistically improbable, so they concluded that she must somehow be interfering with her kids’ functioning to cause autism-like symptoms (as opposed to, I don’t know, the idea that autism might be genetic which would mean that if one child in a family had it, there was a greater chance than the 1/88 statistic that some or all of the others might too). I think professionals need to be careful about diagnosing this condition, at least until they’ve ruled out other options, like the kids actually being sick or the parents just being overly worried or paranoid but genuinely concerned.

That said, true cases of this disorder are heartbreaking, especially when third parties are hurt.

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Jenn50 June 12, 2014 at 7:37 pm

That’s shocking! In the autism community, I’ve run into loads of families with 3-4 kids, all on the spectrum. But, then, these same doctors used to blame autism on cold and uncaring mothers, so I suppose I oughtn’t be surprised that they still understand so little about the disorder. :-(

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Sanity Lost June 12, 2014 at 8:09 pm

The scariest thing about all of these stories is that they are not new. These kind of shenanigans have always been put on by spoiled brats angling for attention. The Salem witch trials here in the States were in effect started by a group of teen girls who were intent on causing drama and getting back at opponents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials

Sad to see we as humans still haven’t changed much in 200 years.

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Anonymouse June 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

I had a five-year old girl in my Kindergarten who did stuff like this — She would come in and tell me outrageous stories about how her house had exploded over the weekend, or her mom was murdered, or any number of other things. Most of them were extremely unnerving coming from a child. Not quite to the level of the OP, or other incidents of Munchausen syndrome, but still odd.

She didn’t have any family problems or abuse that I could figure out. Everything seemed normal besides the stories she told.

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