Every couple of weeks, we run a story about some obviously clueless, crazy person who gives birth in an exotic locale like “on a train” or “in a school bathroom” because she didn’t even know she was pregnant until the baby popped out.
Crazy, right? Not necessarily. Apparently, not knowing you’re pregnant is more common than we think.
Several new studies reveal that as many as 1 in 600 women don’t realize they’re pregnant. That’s a lot more than make the news. Presumably not all of them are crazy. And the data shows they’re not all first-time moms either.
Denial, it seems, is a powerful force. Strong enough to dampen physical symptoms and cues, and keep a normally sane woman confused about her state. As Jezebel quotes one German researcher putting it:
“The absence of many physical symptoms of pregnancy, inexperience, general inattentiveness to bodily cues, intense psychological conflicts about the pregnancy, and external stresses can contribute to the denial in otherwise well-adjusted women.”
Women who hide or deny their pregnancies are in for a huge shock, and so are their families. Some people literally go into shock when they go into labor. And of course, these women and their babies get no prenatal care.
In spite of that, it often turns out just peachy. Beth Jeffrey told the Times that her surprise baby has worked out better than if she’d planned it herself!
Can you imagine this happening to you? I can’t. I knew within a day or two that I’d conceived with both my kids. I immediately felt nauseous, weepy and just different.
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