Please Don’t Make a Joke of Pregnancy

Please Don’t Make a Joke of Pregnancy

Shireen Hand Endometriosis My Life With You

If there is one day of the year I find difficult, it’s April Fools’ Day. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. Let me explain …

We were blessed with a gorgeous little boy. He’s a funny, loud, energetic, loving 3-year-old now. But one thing that doesn’t escape me is the years we spent trying to have him: the heartbreak every single month of finding I had once again started my period when I wished upon every star that I wouldn’t; the knowledge that my body had failed us both.

Two long years passed before we got our chance at in vitro fertilization and became pregnant on the first round. It was our only round, since none of our other nine eggs survived.

We have been lucky on our journey. Others have been less so. The trying can continue for years to no avail. No amount of money, fertility treatments, magic potions, or pills work. These women live with hope in their hearts that they will one day hold a newborn in their arms. And for some, that day doesn’t come.

There are many paths on the road of infertility, pregnancy, and baby loss. It’s not always quite as clear-cut as “you get your baby and everything is forgotten.” Even now, a sense of dread washes over me toward the end of March every single year.

You see — and it might seem a little unbelievable if you haven’t ever witnessed it — there are people out there who think it’s hilarious to make a joke of pregnancy on April Fools’ Day. Maybe I’m just being a sensitive Sally, but I can’t see myself finding this funny, even if I hadn’t have been through the whole infertility thing.

I’m hoping that you haven’t seen these types of “jokes” before, but they go something like, “Surprise! We’re pregnant!” … Followed by an “April Fools! Gotcha!” message. Some do it to be funny, some to shock their family and friends. I have seen them many times. In fact, I’ve seen some of the top Instagrammers make jokes like this. One, in particular, has since been on her own adoption journey and might not find her past jokes quite so funny now. Even one of my idols, singer Gwen Stefani, made a joke of it back in 2016 by putting up a sonogram on her Instagram with the caption, “It’s a girl.”

You see, pregnancy announcements are difficult enough as it is. Knowing someone else is getting their first, second, or even fifth chance of becoming a parent when you cannot conceive is heartbreaking, to say the least. But once we get past our bitter emotions, we will at some point find that joy for the parents-to-be. We don’t want to be outcasts. We want to share in this wonderful news. It’s just sometimes not quite as instantaneous as we all would like.

But it’s not just the person making the joke that’s the problem in this situation. It’s the comments that follow. Someone will point out how hurtful something like this can be, only for others to tell them to “stop making it about themselves.” Can you imagine how painful it must be to have lost your baby or to have never experienced pregnancy and be told to “get over it”? Well, even if you can imagine, you will never know the sheer pain we feel deep inside. Nothing can ever make you “get over it.” These fake pregnancy announcements are just a massive reminder of what we do not have.

What I’m trying to say, is please don’t be that person. Just stop for a moment and think of the emotional impact your “joke” could have on those around you. Those who face infertility, pregnancy, or baby loss don’t have big stickers on their foreheads or flashing signs pointing toward them. Much like chronic illness, these situations are invisible. Often, women and their partners might feel some sort of embarrassment in their plight. Not everyone likes to make it known to the world that their bodies cannot achieve what others can. And, while some of us speak out about it, it doesn’t make coping any easier.

I am certain that there will be at least one person making a joke of pregnancy on April 1. Have you ever been hurt by a statement like this? Or do you think we should all lighten up and get a sense of humor?

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