News flash, ladies. The adorable pregnant woman next to you might not actually be pregnant. Turns out there's a rare condition called Hirschsprung's disease, which causes one's abdomen to swell up to the size of a nine month pregnant belly!
English mother Hayley Barley suffers from the condition, and is constantly being offered seats on the bus (the horror!) and being asked about her due date by inquisitive strangers who assume she's baking a bun in her oven.
"It's nice that people are kind, but their kindness just makes me feel more self-conscious," Hayley says.
This 24-year-old is normally a size eight, and says that her body's sudden change is "devastating." Ironically, Hayley already has four children, so you can imagine how fed up she is with looking pregnant. Hayley plans to have surgery this December to remove most of her bowel, which will help prevent life-threatening infections.
"It's ruining my life," she says. "I have kids to look after, which is difficult enough without having to deal with my condition. I try to laugh it off when I'm out and about and people congratulate me for my 'pregnancy.' I keep a smile on my face, but it's always a difficult thing to hear."
Hayley was diagnosed with Hirschsprung's disease when she was just 12 years old, and has been to the hospital 69 times since 2009 to have emergency procedures that relieve the pressure on her stomach. One time, a doctor even mistook her bump for an actual pregnancy!
"He told me to go to hospital, explaining that the symptoms of my condition might have masked an actual pregnancy," she recalls. "I attended hospital but, of course, I wasn't pregnant at all."
Sounds like Hayley will get some much-needed relief after her surgery — her perpetual baby bump sounds extremely painful, not to mention confusing for the local yokels in her town!
Source: Daily Mail