“Need a bun in the oven? We can help.”
“How can I get his attention? We can help.”
“Why make ‘em laugh when you can make ‘em cry!”
These are the catchcries of FakeABaby.com, the proud home of the $9.95 fake ultrasound.
It’s a website that claims its wares – which includes fake pregnancy and DNA tests, silicon boobs and ‘pregnant’ stomachs in a range of different stages and sizes (for fake multiple births), imitation 2D and 3D ultrasounds, phony personalised newspaper birth announcements and pretend proof of pregnancy documentation – are for “entertainment purposes only”.
Michael Bob Stevens, creator of the range, took to the site after recent criticism to make clear the merchandise was for “gag gifts at parties, for bringing laughter and joy to your friends and family”.
But the gamut of products indicates a more sinister use than a quick, simple gag.
The site sells everything one would need to fake an entire pregnancy – except for the fake baby, which is exactly where the intricately spun web of lies recently came apart for 16-year-old Julia (not her real name).
For months, the Michigan teenager fobbed off the fake ultrasounds as her own to support the claims she made to her friends, family and boyfriend that she was pregnant with triplets.
She accepted donations from a church, a not-for-profit group and an online support forum, effectively preying on the generosity of others and stealing from them.
But 10 months later – when her due date came and went – her story began to crumble.
Now, she is being investigated by police.
But for those long months, her lies were enabled by products she purchased from FakeABaby.com.
Her 16-year-old boyfriend worried about getting a job to support his new family-to-be. Her relatives forked out cash and supported the young couple in preparation for the life-changing event that never happened.
And, because of the fake ultrasounds and prosthetic stomachs, the crazy bud of an idea of an attention-craving teenager was nourished and perpetuated. And many people were betrayed.
Because pregnancy is a big deal. Especially when you’re only 16 and apparently bringing three babies into the world.
It changes lives.
Men shouldn’t be tricked into incorrectly believing they are going to be fathers.
Falsely telling someone they will be responsible for the welfare of another human is cruel and it’s stores like FakeABaby.com that are allowing these lies to continue.
Julia’s story is not the only one. But it should be the last.
The creator of the products insists they are just for laughs.
But there’s not anything funny about faking a pregnancy.