5 Reasons Women Pretend To Be Pregnant

5 Reasons Women Pretend To Be Pregnant

I’ve been asked a lot since my post Is Pretending to Be Pregnant a Mental Illness, what are the most common reasons someone would lie about being pregnant. 

I’ve talked to many women who have lied about being pregnant since I wrote that post and have heard many reasons these women pretended to be pregnant. Here are five of the most common reasons. 

Reasons Women Lie About Being Pregnant

  1. Attention: A lot of women tell me that they like the attention that they get from their partner, their friends, family or just other people in general when they think they are pregnant. They feel that people treat them nicer and that feeling of being treated special can be very addicting. 
  2. To Keep a man:  This is probably the biggest reason Some women claim to be pregnant, to keep a man from leaving them, or in some instances to get him to propose. They believe that a good man won’t abandon them if they are pregnant and will use that lie to keep him around either long enough to actually get pregnant or long enough for her to win back his affection which usually requires more psychological and emotional manipulation. This strategy doesn’t usually work and only prolongs the inevitable break up. However, throughout history it has worked enough times that some women see it as a worthy gamble. 
  3. Extortion: Some women, a surprisingly a large number of them being college students, will use pretending to be pregnant as a money making extortion. Some of are having affairs with wealthy, but married men, some who are college professors or other prominent members in the community who would pay large amounts of money to make the evidence of their infidelity go away. Some women actually do this on a regular basis, conning more than one guy at a time as they rake in the money to pay for college tuition, books, shopping sprees and trips. 
  4. Privilege: There are women who will pretend to be pregnant for the smallest, trivial things. Some to get in the front of a line or use a restroom in first class on a plane. Some lie about being pregnant to get free food, to explain eating large amounts of food, to escape from being judged for being overweight or to get special treatment or time off from work. In her book, Meternity, Meghann Foye writes about a woman who pretends to be pregnant in order to get paid maternity or has she says, “meternity” leave. 
  5. Revenge: Some women use the lie of being pregnant to get back at a partner who has left them. They may lie about the pregnancy to make him look bad, to cause drama in his new relationship or simply to just drive him crazy with anxiety and fear so that he can’t move on because it’s possible he may be having a baby with someone he is trying to move on from. 

There are countless reasons why someone pretends to be pregnant. I’ve heard everything from “to get my roommate to move out” to “to get out of helping someone move”.

Some of the reasons require someone to pretend to be pregnant for a very short time, while others require a longer commitment. I don’t think either one is better than the other, but psychologically, I think women who pretend to be pregnant to people they have to deal with on a regular basis and thus have to continue to lie for longer periods of time are women who are more likely to have deeper personality, mental and emotional issues. Unlike a short lie about being pregnant, a prolonged lie requires a resolution at some point. A baby either has to be produced or another lie about an abortion or miscarriage has to be created. 

In extreme cases, this may cause someone to kidnap or even murder someone else in order to steal and secure a baby.  

Charity Johnson/Stevens: Why It’s So Hard For Us To Detect Con Artists

Charity dressed like a 15-year-old
Charity dressed like a 15-year-old

All morning I have been reading about this 34-year-old woman named Charity Johnson, who has been pretending to be a 15-year-old teenager by the name of Charity Stevens. This woman, not only convinced someone who eventually became her guardian, that she was an orphan, homeless and had been abused by her recently deceased father, but she also enrolled in school as a 10th grader.Charity and Lincoln apparently met when they worked at McDonald’s together and Charity told her soon to be guardian, Tamica Lincoln, that she had no place to stay after both her parents had died. Feeling sorry for her, Lincoln took her in. She even brought Charity, who was actually four years older than her, clothes, did her hair and even attended parent teacher’s conferences.

Lincoln said that Charity even acted like a kid, doing her homework and getting good grades, but eventually her act was exposed when a group Charity tried to join that helps children in need, called Lincoln after they tried to do a background check on Charity.

Charities mugshot where she looks ever bit her real age and more.
Charitys mugshot where she looks every bit her real age and more.

They notified Ms. Lincoln about their questions who then contacted the manager at the McDonald’s she and Charity had worked at together. The manager looked in her file and told Lincoln that Charitys’ real name was Charity Johnson, not Stevens, and that her year of birth was 1979.Lincoln then notified the police and went straight to the school to notify them. Everyone was shocked including administrators, teachers and students, some who even cried after befriending who they thought was a 15-year-old orphan. Police confronted Charity Johnson, who gave them her false name, Charity Stevens. She was then arrested and charged with failure to identify/giving false, fictitious information and given a $500 bond.

My question is, what goes through the mind of someone who can pull off such an elaborate scheme? I wondered if she had some sort of mental problem, but after reading this story over and over, I have come to the conclusion that while she may have some personality deficits, she is simply just a con-artist.

Good con-artists know how to trick you so that you aren’t even suspecting that you are getting conned. Everything seems to be as it should and so our brains don’t pick up on the deceit as easily.
Psychology today puts it like this:

“The most natural answer is that sly or fraudulent, yet persuasive, salespeople signal to our brains that everything is as it should be. Their smooth behavior raises our confidence, thereby boosting our serotonin levels. The well-being chemical serotonin can turn off our critical sense and increase our feeling of content-so much so that our initial beliefs never are subjected to scrutiny in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and the anterior insula never gives us the warning sign that would make us step back and think… Our gray matter can distinguish honesty from dishonesty and alarming situations from unruffled ones but it cannot instinctively detect dishonesty and fraud cleverly disguised.”

For the most part, our brains aren’t created to catch con artists. It’s easier to recognize a manipulation on paper than it is when we are face to face with a person, which explains why so many of us get deceived so easily.

It’s best in this situations if we do not make quick decisions and take our time before jumping into something, especially something big or out of the ordinary. It gives us time to think and another chance for our brains to try to read through the deceit.

Con artists in general tend to have antisocial personalities. They do not care who they hurt, use or betray as long as they are getting what they want. They generally never feel sorry for what they are doing and usually never stop, even once they get caught. They will continue to either try to con their way out of the situation, or if they end up incarcerated, will just come up with another con when they get free.

This woman, Charity was getting free housing, free food, clothing, her hair and nails done, attention, affection and another opportunity to relive her teenage years bigger and better than before. She had a lot to gain and didn’t care who she hurt along her path.

I do not believe she is not mentally ill. She may have a mental deficit and even if she qualifies for antisocial personality disorder, it is are hard to treat which is why many of them are in our jail and prison systems. Hopefully some time in jail will help her get back to reality, but I doubt it. I imagine she will be running one scam or another sooner or later.

In the meantime, the people who have allowed her into their lives as a 15-year-old orphan, especially the children at the school she attended, are left trying to wrap their minds around this troubling event and I am much more concerned about how this will affect them. We know she had a best friend and friends at this school, but what if she also had a boyfriend? I shutter to even think about that.

Shhh, Let’s Not Talk About It: How Families Are Haunted By Incest And Sexual Abuse

ChildAbuseArticle

Nearly every person I’ve counseled who has been sexually abused was abused by a family member, not a stranger.

In families there is an unspoken trust, one that says we will support and protect each other, especially the children. Child abuse goes against that unspoken trust.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons, on top of shame and fear, that victims of incest and child abuse often stay silent, making way for more abuse, even generational abuse, depression and addiction to flourish.

Child abuse is devastating and debilitating. It not only causes psychological and behavioral problems that can last a life time, but there is growing evidence that it also causes a number of physiological problems.

You would think that children would always be protected, but unfortunately in many families, the adults are too busy with their own issues such as financial problems and addictions to be effectively attentive to the children. Often, the adults are so happy that someone is “supervising” the kids that they are delighted when another relatively is spending time with them, not knowing that that relative may be molesting their child.

Often the victims of abuse I’ve worked with grew up in complex homes where they often weren’t paid attention to. Many of them were so hungry for attention that they mistook abuse for nurturing, which is another reason they didn’t tell anyone.

Whenever there was an opportunity for abuse and the caring adults in their lives turned away, it left opportunity for abuse to happen right under their roofs. When they were not paying attention to their child, someone else was paying too much attention to them.

Another reason victims don’t talk is because they think that they are the only one being abused and if they have younger siblings, they may not say anything as a way of protecting the younger children from the victimizer.

When there is a child molester in the family, chances are he or she is molesting more than one child and may go on to molest across generations. A lot of the child abuse victims I’ve worked with only came forward when they were either in fear that a younger relative was in danger of being molested or when they found out that their fears were true and a younger relative was being molested.

It’s rare that I talk to a victim of child sexual abuse and incest and they are the only person who has ever been abused by the victimizer. Many times this is not discovered until later in adulthood when as adults they start talking with other family members. This is when they usually realize that they weren’t the only ones being abused and the extent of the nightmare is finally revealed.

Case Example: “Catalina”

One of my adult clients, let’s call her Catalina, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and incest. She lived under perfect conditions to be molested for years by a family member.

Her mother was an alcoholic and drug addict, her father was no where to be found. Her mother also had seven kids, all of which were eventually taken from her because she couldn’t take care of them. Catalina and her six siblings ended up with their mother’s mother, their grandmother who sounds like she was a real Mother Teresa. She had a kind heart, even took in other kids and always had a house full of relatives around including Catalina’s cousin Walter.

Walter was an adult, married with two children of his own, but he came around Catalina’s grandmother’s house often to hangout with the kids.

Walter would talk to Catalina as if she were his girlfriend, although she was his cousin and prepubescent. Catalina didn’t like it, but never told anyone. He then moved on to hugging her often, always making sure his erect penis pressed against her. Eventually he moved on to showing her his penis and rubbing it against her skin.

Again, she kept this a secret because she believed it was her fault and even thought it was somewhat normal. Thankfully, it ended there, but what Catalina didn’t know and would not know until adulthood is that while Walter was molesting and grooming her, he was already molesting and sleeping with her slightly older sister Michelle.

Michelle also didn’t tell anyone about cousin Walter, but it damaged her to the point that even when Walter stopped molesting Catalina, Michelle started molesting her.

Michelle started making Catalina touch her vagina and eventually made her perform oral sex on her. Catalina knew something wasn’t right, but didn’t tell anyone, she just did as she was told. The abuse lasted for several years, ending only when Michelle started having sex with boys.

This abuse left Catalina confused. She became hypersexual and even had thoughts of molesting her little sister on several occasions. Thankfully she never did and the molestation, at least in that house ended with her.

As a teenager she was very promiscuous and was confused about her sexuality well into adulthood. Now as an adult she is riddled with relationship and trust hangups and is terrified of having and raising children. Other than that, for the most part she has turned into a pretty well-adjusted woman.

The secrecy about the molestation allowed the initial victimizer, Walter to abuse at least two children in the same household. It is likely that he abused more and probably went on to abuse other family members for years since ’til this day no one is really talking about or confronting it.

Catalina and Michelle only recently had a heart to heart where Michelle apologized to Catalina for the abuse and explained that she was doing to her what had been done to her  (Michelle) by Walter. Only then did the two realize that Walt had victimized both of them.

Some of the factors that allowed this abuse to happen besides the secrets and silence include:

  • they both believed that it was there fault
  • both Catalina and Michelle had been raised to believe that children were to be seen and not heard
  • they both believed there were too many problems going on in the home and there was no time for another one
  • they had never been talked to about sex in any capacity so the victimizer taught them what he wanted to
  • as girls they were taught that they were supposed to be passive, peaceful and not cause trouble
  • they were taught directly or indirectly that women are submissive
  • they were also taught that what happens inside of their home stays private
  • their mom always neglected them most when she had a boyfriend and they learned from her many relationships that women existed for pleasure
  • they also unfortunately believed it was normal to be victimized

Catalina’s story unfortunately echoes dozens of stories I could have told from personal experience. For more information on child sexual abuse there are many great books, but I can personally recommend No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal from Sexual Abuse by Robin D. Stone.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact:

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

1 (800) 656-4673 / www.rainn.org

If you are in immediate danger please call 911