April 1. A day for pranks, jokes and cracking up. Usually I find that the simple pranks are the best ones: filling someone’s car or office with balloons, putting Skittles and M&Ms in the same candy dish, replacing the contents of a chip bag with something healthy like carrots in a loved one’s lunch…you get the idea. But April Fools’ Day is meant to be just that–harmless pranks to get a chuckle.
But with the dawn of social media, April Fools’ has taken on a whole new meaning when it comes to the traditional “gotchas.” Now it takes the form of putting up a Facebook status or tweeting something that is aimed to get a rise out of friends and family online and in-person.
Unfortunately, there is a harmless prank that many play each year that is actually hurtful and extremely painful to many, including myself: “I’m pregnant!”…”Just kidding!”
This “joke” isn’t meant to hurt anyone, of course, and never fails to get some exciting responses. Honestly, before my first daughter was stillborn, I didn’t see anything wrong with posting something like that.
But that’s just it.
Until you have experienced infertility, the devastating loss of a child or know someone who has, you see no harm in joking about something that is so painful to countless numbers of women. With 1 in 4 women experiencing child loss, chances are you do know someone who has been through this pain.
Many women don’t really speak about it publicly much, especially for military spouses who move frequently. The thought of retelling the experience of child loss or infertility issues gets to be too much as we move from base to base.
Seeing status updates or tweets about pregnancy are painful and serve as another reminder about what has been lost or what someone cannot have.
After Saralynn, I cried each time I found out that someone I knew was pregnant. The painful memories of those days spent in the hospital would come rushing back–not that they ever really left my mind. But at the same time I was excited for that person because it really is a special gift to be able to bring a precious life into this world.
To some of you, this may still seem like a harmless prank. I only hope that you do not have to experience the pain that so many other women live with silently every day should you become pregnant. I only ask that you keep in mind the 7 million women in America struggling with infertility and the 1 in 4 women who experience the loss of their precious baby.
Or better yet, find something else to joke about this April Fools’ Day.