As told to Julia Sidwell:
I was with my fiancée Jordan when a message popped up on my phone from my friend Kirsty: “I found out something today and the only person I thought I could come to was you xx”
I asked what had happened and she replied: “I’m nine weeks pregnant…”
“Oh wow! “I replied.
I was so happy for Kirsty. She’d been my colleague when I’d worked as manager at a McDonald’s Drive-Thru. Then when I’d lost a baby at 20 weeks, I’d left work.
But Kirsty had stayed in contact with me and I’d been touched by her support.
She’d been there for me as I’d grieved for my little boy, Freddie. We’d stayed friends since. Kirsty had separated from her boyfriend Harry* but was now with a new man called Bobs. Now they were having a baby together.
Weeks later, my stomach flipped when I spotted a Facebook post she’d just written.
I sent her a message: "Omg babe! TWINS!"
Jordan and I were beyond thrilled for Kirsty and we hoped the twins would help heal the loss she’d suffered a year ago. When she was 28 weeks gone, Kirsty came to visit me and Jordan. Opening the door, my eyes were immediately drawn to her huge bump.
"Wow," I said, hugging her.
"It’s so good to see you!" she smiled.
Kirsty waddled into the living room and we all sat and chatted about her impending arrivals.
"Your scan photo is incredible," I said, looking at the 4D scan of the twins.
"I know," she beamed.
Before I knew it, it was dark outside.
"I better go," Kirsty said, heaving herself up.
"We can’t wait to meet the twins,"I said. "Good luck."
Kirsty went into labour at 31 weeks and I kept checking my phone, waiting for more news. "And then…
They are here xxx"
Kirsty told us she’d had a boy, Alfie-Lee, weighing 2lbs 10oz, and a girl, Lexie-Lou, weighing 2lbs 4oz. I was overjoyed for her and followed all the updates about the twins.
They were taken to special care and a few days later, Alfie-Lee was allowed home. But Lexie-Lou was still struggling.
Then three weeks later, Lexie-Lou took a turn for the worst. She was on a lung bypass machine, fighting for her life.
"How could this happen?" I sobbed to Jordan.
Lying in bed, I was in bits thinking about Kirsty and her poorly baby and I spent hours comforting her.
The next morning, I woke up to a message from Kirsty.
"Our little princess peacefully passed away in my arms at 3:38 this morning, our hearts are completely broken xx"
I told Jordan and tears streamed down our faces as Kirsty explained how Lexie-Lou had been holding her hair, and how her lifeless hand had dropped as her heart stopped beating.
"How can life be so cruel?" I said, distraught.
Poor Kirsty had lost not one, but two babies in the space of two years.
"I am broken for you," I wrote. "I cannot believe this has happened, Lexie-Lou will live on in her brother Alfie-Lee forever."
The next day, I asked how she was.
I spent the night in the nursery just crying my eyes out. I slept for about an hour, she wrote. That evening, Kirsty asked us to light a candle for Lexie-Lou. We did and shared a photo on Facebook with the caption:
"Taken too soon… Please spare a thought for such a beautiful family at this awful time or light a candle of your own in memory of Lexie-Lou and send it to her mummy."
Our family and friends did it too.
The funeral was set to take place a couple of weeks later, at the same crematorium where I had said goodbye to my Freddie.
I felt sad we had never got to meet Lexie-Lou, but Jordan and I cherished the photos of her that Kirsty sent us.
"At least we can meet Alfie-Lee," I said.
Jordan and I bought two cards, one said ‘sorry for your loss’ and the other said ‘congratulations’. We also spent hours making a photobook with photos of the twins and bought a babygrow and hat for Alfie-Lee.
Three days before the funeral, I got a text.
"It’s Bobs’ parents, they’ve been in an accident," I gasped, reading it. ‘"His mum’s died and his dad’s in hospital."
I looked at Jordan, dazed.
How could all of this happen to Kirsty?
Suddenly, alarm bells started to ring. We tried contacting Kirsty but there was no response.
"Something’s definitely not right," I said.
On the morning of the funeral, Jordan called the crematorium. After she’d hung up she turned to me, her face filled with horror.
"There is no funeral for a baby called Lexie-Lou," she said.
Listen: We tackle an awkward friendship dilemma, on Mamamia Out Loud. (Post continues after...)
"I can’t believe this," I said, shaking.
It was time to turn detective and find out what the hell was going on.
Jordan and I drove to the only address we had for Kirsty – Bobs’ parents’ home. When there was no answer at the door, we looked through the window and saw a framed photo of Kirsty and Harry.
"What the…" I spluttered.
We spoke to a neighbour who told us it was Harry who lived next door.
"But what about Bobs?" I said.
"I’ve never heard of a Bobs," she replied.
We showed her a photo of Kirsty.
"Have you seen this girl," I said. "She's just had twins, one sadly died and it’s the funeral today."
"I’ve seen her around, but never pregnant or with a baby," said the neighbour.
Jordan and I were left stunned.
Why had Kirsty been lying?
Back home, I sat in the bedroom for hours, wondering how to find out the truth. I added Kirsty’s family on Facebook and her brother accepted my friend request.
"What’s going on? Why was there was no funeral for Kirsty’s baby today?" I wrote.
His response made my jaw drop.
"What are you talking about, she hasn’t had the babies yet."
I felt sick and my hands trembled as I furiously typed out a message to Kirsty.
"You are sick! You’ve lied about everything! You told me a funeral was today! You told me Bobs’ mum had died! There is no Bobs! I’ve been there for you and it’s one big lie!"
We messaged for an hour and Kirsty’s lies slowly unravelled as she admitted everything. There was no Bobs. There were no twins - she’d used scans from Google and worn a fake bump. She faked the death of Lexie-Lou. She used photos of other people’s children and passed them off as her own – I was horrified that we’d made a photobook containing photos of other mothers’ children.
I messaged her again: "Why have you done this to me? I cried about you. We all lit candles… You fooled me and my family. We supported you and you lied to us and fabricated a death."
She replied: "I don’t know why I’ve done it, OK? I couldn’t give you a reason! I need help OK Jo!"
I wanted her to show some kind of remorse. But she never did.
In time, Jordan and I spoke to others that knew Kirsty and discovered they had also been taken in by her lies. She had been leading a double life and had manipulated us all by taking advantage of our kindness.
I’ve since heard Kirsty and Harry have split up. I also discovered that the night we were all lighting candles for Lexie-Lou, Kirsty was out enjoying a meal in a restaurant. It’s just unbelievable.
Now, Jordan and I still can’t understand why she lied. I feel utterly betrayed that Kirsty took me for a ride and played with my emotions, dragging up painful memories of Freddie. The stress has also made me seriously ill.
I want to expose Kirsty, to warn people and to stop her from manipulating and emotionally abusing others, like she did to me.
*Name has been changed.
This story originally appeared in That's Life and has been republished here with full permission.