I recently finished Alice Eve Cohen’s What I Thought I Knew, a spare, stunningly honest and, at times, heart-breaking account of her surprise pregnancy at age 44.
For six months, Cohen (who was told she was infertile) sought treatment for menopause, various health issues, and finally a tumor in her abdomen, only to discover that she was actually near her third trimester in a high-risk pregnancy.
It’s hard to imagine someone not knowing they’re pregnant, especially if you’ve been there yourself. First there’s the nausea, then the constant peeing, followed by the kicking and rolling and eventual third trimester waddling.
But according to Macleans, studies have shown that in about 1 in 2500 pregnancies, women don’t know they’re pregnant until the third trimester or — worse — delivery.
It’s called “denial of pregnancy.” Some women have negative pregnancy tests, others don’t gain any weight. Some have irregular periods the entire time, and others take birth control pills. In a German study of 65 women with denial of pregnancy, most of the women were married or lived with their partner and many had been pregnant before.
It’s a mysterious condition, yet not that rare, say experts. An informal survey of Strollerderby bloggers found that many knew friends or acquaintances who’d been surprised this way.
TLC is putting the spotlight on this phenomenon in their new reality series I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant. Women go to the ER with a burst appendix, food poisoning, and pelvic pain and come home with a baby.
Becoming a parent is such a transition, it’s hard to imagine being in these women’s shoes with little or no time to prepare for parenthood. Do you know someone who didn’t know they were pregnant until late in the game? Share your story with us.
Photo: nateOne, Flickr