Frances Harris surprised everyone for a second time. The first surprise was when this 59-year-old woman announced in November that she was pregnant with twins. And it wasn't the result of in-vitro fertilization, like that 56-year-old lady who gave birth to twins late last year. Harris said she just got pregnant. The second surprise (not much of a surprise really) was when she admitted yesterday
that she just made up the pregnancy. Why did she do it? Her family is chalking it up to "personal issues that are still being evaluated"
. But to me the problem is clear. She's suffering from Southcott Syndrome
, a medical condition whose name I coined myself. I define this condition as being when a post-menopausal or otherwise infertile woman insists, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that she's pregnant. I named the syndrome after Joanna Southcott
, the 19th-century prophetess who announced at the age of sixty five that she was pregnant with the new messiah. Nine months passed and she never gave birth, much to the disappointment of her many followers. Instead, she died. Doctors who performed an autopsy on her could find no evidence of pregnancy. Maybe there's an actual medical term for something like Southcott Syndrome, but I'm not aware of it. Believe it or not, I've heard about cases like this often enough that I had coined the term before I read about this most recent case.