Fake Pregnancy Announcements Are No Joke

CW: miscarriage, infertility.

bfp

With April 1st approaching, reminders are popping up about how incredibly hurtful it can be to see fake pregnancy announcements for those who are or have struggled with infertility/pregnancy loss. I’d like to share my story and another perspective on how this type of thing can be hurtful.

2 years ago, I was pregnant with twins as a Gestational Surrogate. The pregnancy had seemingly been going well and I was excited for my first OB appointment on March 31, as this signalled a big milestone in being discharged from the care of the Reproductive Endocrinologist into the care of my OB/GYN.

Late that afternoon, I walked into my doctor’s office excited and looking forwards to seeing the twins on ultrasound and having more u/s pictures to send to the Intended Parents. But within a matter of minutes, that fell apart as the world came crashing down around me. With a few dreaded words, I learned that the twins were both gone. Neither had a heartbeat and they had both stopped growing two weeks prior, mere days after the last u/s at the monitoring clinic that showed both with good heartbeats. Two words changed everything: Missed Miscarriage.

That evening, as I struggled to comprehend what was happening, as I worked to get through the numbness of shock at something that had been going so perfectly suddenly going completely wrong, I realized that it was the night before April 1. April Fools Day meant that any announcements were likely to be met with skepticism, laughter, “Wow that’s a terrible joke to play, how could you!”, and doubt, and that wasn’t something I could take. So I told a few people, but for the most part i kept the news to myself until April Fools Day was over.

It was horrible to feel like my announcement would be suspect, that my pain would be questioned and doubted. It added to matters to see people “just joking” about pregnancy. It was several different layers of awful that had never occurred to me before, and it was my own private version of hell.

This April Fool’s Day (ok, any day, but this comes up a lot at April Fool’s Day), please don’t make pregnancy a joke. Please realize that no matter how innocent your intentions are, someone (or more likely, multiple someones) are watching your “joke” and feeling like their pain in your punchline. Given the statistics on infertility and pregnancy loss, chances are very high that someone you know is struggling with infertility (whether you know it or not) and a fake pregnancy announcement will take them on a roller coaster of emotions both at the announcement and then again at the “Just kidding!” Chances are high that there are people dealing with miscarriage or stillbirth – whether actively or diagnosed as missed – on March 31-April 1, and that not only might your “joke” hurt them in the ways usually discussed, they may be wrestling with whether they can even tell anyone about their pain and may be feeling like they have to keep it to themselves.

I don’t think anyone puts out a fake pregnancy announcement with the intention of hurting others, but intention doesn’t negate the impact. Please consider whether your joke is worth the pain it has the potential to cause people you love and care about. And if it’s not and you just HAVE to do some April Fool’s Joke, well, get creative and find something that isn’t so overdone.

To everyone reading this, if you are or have struggled with infertility and/or pregnancy loss, I’m sorry for your pain. Know that I am here for you and if you need to talk, I will not make April Fool’s Day a reason to question your hurt. You matter, and I care about you. Know that you are loved beyond measure and I am here for you if you need it.

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Motherhood Is Beauty and Pain.

64968_10151421046624048_814417244_nMany people make the statement that “Motherhood is beautiful”. I’d like to amend that. Some days, motherhood is absolutely a beautiful thing that leaves me happy, content, and feeling like the most lucky person on earth. Those are the days of sweet children who get along with each other, who snuggle with me and give me hugs and kisses and say “Mommy, I want you”, and who go the whole day without biting, scratching, hitting, pinching, kicking, drawing on walls, and generally being little cherubs. Those are the days where my heart swells and I store away the good memories and fight baby fever. I cherish and treasure those days more than I can say.

12376846_10154111032504048_6592096269529412206_nThen there are the days where motherhood doesn’t feel remotely close to beautiful, where it feels like I might actually be losing my mind and a stay in a hospital for a few days sounds absolutely lovely. Is that my appendix hurting? I think it’s my appendix. Don’t bother running tests, let’s just assume it needs to come out right now, and can you impose a “No children” visiting policy? Those germ ridden little critters must be an immunological threat to people recovering from surgery and illness. Those are the days
where I grit my teeth so hard I literally think I might actually chip or crack a tooth, where I
spend a good portion of the day muttering “Children are a blessing. Children are a blessing. Children are a blessing.” under my breath, where I think fondly of daycare and dream of being on an adults-only cruise with a strawberry daiquiri in hand while I alternately snooze, read, and watch MY shows and movies (more than 5 minutes at a time) and let my vocal cords recover and sleep 8 hours a night (or day) with an uninterrupted nap thrown in for good measure. Those are the days where I finally give up keeping track of who hurt who or even scolding them and tell them to referee their own fights unless there are copious amounts of blood, broken bones, or impending death.

12143198_10153718573444048_1484703143052456052_nSome days are a combination of both, and maybe the back and forth between the two leaves you feeling like you have a case of mental/emotional (and possibly physical) whiplash and thinking “What just happened?”. The exhaustion is not just physical but also emotional and mental. And even I, who love hugs and friendly
physical contact (mutually consensual of course), end up “touched out” by the end of the day (and sometimes an hour into the day), and even my child wanting to brush my hair makes me cringe because all the touching and needing has completely drained me. And then there’s the guilt for feeling “touched out”. And sometimes I can’t get enough of my children’s hugs and kisses. And sometimes I feel confused and bewildered and that emotional whiplash from feeling both.

550122_10151322092324048_1228095051_nMotherhood can be beautiful, wonderful, rewarding, and fulfilling.Motherhood can also be frustrating, exhausting, aggravating, and leave you feeling like a total failure. But it’s not just one thing, and it’s not always one way. So my fellow moms, whatever motherhood looks like for you today, or even just right now, it’s ok. Motherhood is beautiful, AND awful, AND wonderful, AND terrifying, AND fulfilling, AND draining. Just focus on surviving whichever it is right now, and know that it might not be the same tomorrow, or it might be exactly the same (for better or for worse). If you’re in need of a pick me up (or in need of a reminder that it’s not always fields of tulips and rose gardens), I recommend a glass of wine or ten and a dose of Bunmi Laditan‘s Facebook page.

This was first published on my Facebook profile. Feel free to head on over to the post and join the conversation there.