For anyone dealing with infertility, you try to maintain your sense of humor to get through the stressful and hard moments, but a joke that you probably don’t or wouldn’t get a laugh at is a fake pregnancy announcement on April Fool’s Day—or on any day for that matter. Some people think it’s just a harmless joke. But of course, to you, it’s not.
So, here’s a PSA that you can share with anyone who might think it’s funny.
Dear [Fertile] Friends: You may already have a child or know that you won’t have any problem conceiving. Perhaps you’re in the fun stages of preparing for pregnancy or parenthood. So, you want to have a little fun with your pushy parents or nosy neighbors and decide you want to post a fake pregnancy announcement, maybe complete with fake ultrasound!
If you were fighting cancer, would you find humor in your oncologist telling you that your cancer was in total remission on April 1, only to announce on April 2 that it was just a “harmless” joke? After purchasing a voodoo doll in your doctor’s likeness and many needles, you might have a few choice words for your doctor.
Now consider how people dealing with infertility would feel if you play fast and loose with the ability to have a child. To them, it’s cruel instead of comical.
Before you roll out your fake pregnancy announcement, consider this:
Could I Really Hurt Someone?
Yes, probably a lot of someones.
It definitely wouldn’t be funny to the person who just delivered her stillborn child. Or to the couple who had cleared out their life’s savings only to hear that their last IVF failed. People struggling with infertility or miscarriage have likely thrown all they have physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially into this battle. And for what? Simply enough, to have the family they yearn for.
Posting a joke about pregnancy, when so many people are fighting for a real chance at parenthood, is just hurtful.Every announcement about a pregnancy they get, whether from or about close friends or simple acquaintances, is accompanied by both joy for the expectant couple and agony for their own continued fight.
And this affects more people than you might think.
One in eight couples struggle to conceive, not counting the individuals who want to have a child but cannot due to the effects of cancer treatment, changes in single status, and sexual preference. Add in the fact that American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) studies show that anywhere from 10% to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage, with chemical pregnancies accounting for 50% to 75% of all miscarriages. That’s a lot of people who are impacted by infertility and miscarriage.
People just don’t talk about this openly. The pain is very personal and the grief is usually suffered silently. Posting a joke about pregnancy, when so many people are fighting for a real chance at parenthood, is just hurtful.
Would you really want your joke to crush someone you care about?
Do This, Not That
Instead of doing something potentially harmful on April Fool’s Day, how about making someone smile in other ways instead? Come up with something that will spread a bit of joy. Everyone probably has enough challenges, enough pain to deal with. At the end of the day, it is not worth the backlash from a family member or friend.
So, this April Fool’s Day, don’t waylay plans to prank the hell out of those closest to you. Make people laugh. Just make sure that everyone can enjoy the humor that you intended.
Candace Wohl is a freelance digital marketer, writer, speaker, infertility advocate, mother through surrogacy, and co-author of the blog, Our Misconception. Candace and her husband were also featured on MTV’s True Life, “I’m Desperate to Have a Baby,” a documentary on couples struggling with infertility. Her writing and their blog has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and many other publications. Follow their antics on Instagram @Ourmisconception or Twitter @rmisconception
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