I am currently trying to decide whether I feel that mothers with MBP are actually acting on a determination “to defeat the system that defeated them”. This seemed plausible to me at first, but the more I think about it the more I question it. I suppose it depends on your definition of what “defeating the system” means, but I don’t see these mothers as defeating the system. They are not putting forth some mysterious illness that the doctors are too ignorant to diagnose; there is no illness. The doctors are not failing, the medical equipment is not lacking in sophistication, there is really nothing there. The only thing the doctors are failing at is lie detection, and that is not their speciality. Also: I do not know the percentages, but I’m guessing that not all mothers who do this were involved in the medical field at some point. This means that there must be other factors operating, at least in those non-medical mothers.
I feel as though attention and/or a desire for sympathy may play a large role in this disorder. Even in medical situations that are less complex, for instance a friend or loved one actually being sick, many people seem to gain satisfaction from being perceived as being involved. I have frequently witnessed people make a friend’s illness about themselves rather than the actual sufferer: people often emphasize how hard the experience has been for them and detail all of the things they have been doing to help out. This essentially removes the focus from the person who is actually suffering. Perhaps there is a natural desire to elicit sympathy in settings such as this. Maybe MBP is an over-activation of this desire and the mothers are enjoying the recognition they receive for being perceived as so devoted? I suspect that MBP is a product of many interacting factors, but I feel as though desire for attention could be one of them.