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# denial - Sunday 11 March, 2012

No way, Jose! I'm no Mourinho, insists Guardiola

The Barcelona coach has also praised his players’ honesty and “love towards the game”.

# denial - Saturday 3 March, 2012

FAI play down McClean rumours

The association have dismissed speculation that Trapattoni has decided against including the 22-year-old in his Euro 2012 squad.

# denial - Friday 24 February, 2012

Mayo: We never offered Tommy Lyons payment to become manager

Mayo GAA have hit back after Tommy Lyons told RTÉ that he had been offered money to become manager in 2010.

# denial - Friday 6 January, 2012

Rooney and United rubbish exit claims

The club have described a report in The Independent, which indicated that the striker was set to leave Old Trafford, as “nonsense”.

# denial - Monday 2 January, 2012

The Joey Barton story, chapter 143: "The ref was conned."

The loquacious QPR midfielder insists that the referee was fooled and that he never headbutted Norwich’s Bradley Johnson.

# denial - Friday 25 November, 2011

Rumours of our dwarf-throwing are greatly exaggerated, claims O’Brien

The Ireland player rejected English allegations that they behaved poorly at the World Cup, when talking to reporters yesterday.

# denial - Friday 7 October, 2011

Wilkinson and Flood won't be having a kick-off after all

Despite rumours to the contrary, Martin Johnson has said the duo will not be enging in a penalty shootout-style kicking contest.

# denial - Tuesday 20 September, 2011

England reject Nick Easter bungee jumping rumours

England management have been forced to dismiss claims that the player was injured during the squad’s recent outing.

# denial - Wednesday 6 April, 2011

From Residence of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo "stormed" Ivory Coast

Residence of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo "stormed"

The incumbent president has refused to cede power to Alassane Ouattara, who was elected to the role last year.

# denial - Friday 30 July, 2010

DOMINIQUE COTTREZ, Véronique Courjault, Céline Lesage: three seemingly ordinary women who share a grim alliance.

In cases that have horrified people in their native France, and across the world, each woman has admitted to the killing of her newborn babies.

The latest case, that of 45-year-old Dominique Cottrez, was uncovered this week. The new owners of Cottrez’s previous home made a gruesome discovery when digging in the back garden to make a pool: the remains of two tiny bodies.

When police searched the home in which Cottrez now lives with her husband, Pierre-Marie, they found six more sets of remains wrapped in plastic bags.

Cottrez, who has two adult daughters, has admitted to smothering eight newborns between 1989 and 2006.

In a similar case last March, also in France, 38-year-old Céline Lesage was found guilty of killing six of her newborn babies. Last year, 42-year-old Véronique Courjault was found guilty of murdering three of her newborns.

But the cases are not confined to France, and neither is the psychological condition – pregnancy denial – that experts say led these women to committing infanticide.

What is pregnancy denial?

According to experts, pregnancy denial is a complex mental condition which results in a woman having a lack of awareness of being pregnant.

“Denial” is a more serious condition than may first be understood. It is not a simple, dismissive attitude to the news of a pregnancy, but has been described as an “unconscious defence mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.”

A women suffering from this condition can experience it in a range of forms and to different degrees of severity, according to experts.

What are the forms of pregnancy denial?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are three forms of pregnancy denial:

1.  Pervasive denial

Pervasive denial “occurs when not only the emotional significance butthe very existence of the pregnancy is kept from awareness.”

It can mean that bodily changes and even labour pains can be misinterpreted, meaning the woman can be first consciously aware of having been pregnant only after giving birth. However the trauma involved can mean that a woman can fail to recognise the newborn as a “real” baby.

Speaking to FRANCE 24, president of the French Association for the Recognition of Pregnancy Denial, Felix Navarro said:

One must understand the circumstances under which these situations arise. A woman who has total pregnancy denial suffers terribly painful symptoms that she doesn’t understand. Her water breaks and she sees something coming out of her body: something she can’t fully discern, something that is sometimes inanimate and that the woman doesn’t necessarily identify as a baby.

2. Affective denial

In cases of “affective denial” women are aware of theirpregnancy but they make little emotional or physical preparation for itand “continue to think, feel, and behave as though they werenot pregnant.”

This is commonly displayed in women who have substance abuse  problems and who may continue drinking or taking drugs during their pregnancy.

3. Psychotic denial

This form of denial occurs in women who suffer from psychosis and have previously lost custody of other children.

How common is it?

According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ); “The common view that denied pregnancies are exotic and rare events is not valid.”

The BMJ concludes that the ratio of pregnancy denial is about one to every 475 births, according to a study based in Berlin over a one year period.

Based on that study, the BMJ calculated that:

In about 1600 births the mother would not have been aware of her pregnancy at 20 weeks of gestation, or later—and each year 300 women would not have realised they were pregnant until going into labour.

What causes it?

The causes seem to be wide and varied, but often appear to be rooted in an early trauma or a mental illness.

Speaking to Time magazine, Michel Delcroix, a former gynecologist who served as a court expert in the Véronique Courjault trial, said the condition can be caused by a woman having experienced physical abuse or rape.

A French study of 22 women withthe condition found that the phenomenon was commonamong young women who are experiencing their first pregnancy. The study noted that one-fifth had been abused.

A German study that included65 women with the condition found that some of the women had schizophrenia,personality disorders, diminished intelligence,or substance-abuse disorders.

Various studies into the disorder have concluded that women from a range of socio-economic backgrounds experienced pregnancy denial.

Is there treatment?

Experts warn that many women who have experienced pregnancy denial are never referred for psychological screening.

Many women in denial of their pregnancies present themselves at hospital before giving birth (because of intense pain) and, while drug test are sometimes performed, few ever receive psychiatric evaluations.

Nada Stotland, vice president of the APA, told Medscape that women – and sometimes their partners – need to be referred to psychiatrists after experiencing pregnancy denial, something which rarely happens.

She explained: “It takes some psychic effort not to notice that you are pregnant – or that a family member or loved one is pregnant.”

She appealed to medical staff to refer patients to psychiatrists when they display pregnancy denial.