CW: miscarriage, infertility.
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.