I'll be honest with you, April Fools' Day is my least favorite holiday. I've never understood the appeal of making a fool out of people who are unwilling participants. One year when I was about seven years old, my mom's "joke" to me was that I was going to be sharing a room with my brother. She told me at breakfast that she and my dad wanted to make an office out of my bedroom so they could work from home, and that I'd be moving into my brother's room.
I. WAS. ECSTATIC. I looked up to my older brother like crazy, and I thought it would be so cool to share a room with him like we were at a permanent slumber party. I voiced my excitement loudly and my mom kind of went quiet. My brother started giggling and I didn't know what was going on. My mom finally came over and whispered to me "April Fools'." I felt like an idiot, even though I was only a kid. I know it's a pretty small thing, but I knew from then on I didn't want any part in this April Fools' business.
But my trivial April Fools' problems are nothing compared to millions of women every year who have to endure a common, yet unintentionally painful, gag.
Alabama mom Kayla Lee Welch posted a warning to women everywhere about why joking that you're pregnant isn't actually funny at all.
“This is why your April Fools' joke isn’t funny," she said. "This is why it’s not funny to lie and joke about being pregnant. This is what it looks like to have a miscarriage."
Welch recalled when she miscarried her child, and how it was anything but funny.
"My eyes are so swollen and dark it looks like more than just my heart is broken," she said. "Crying so hard that you go numb and feel nothing anymore. Being so angry and upset at everything but not being able to explain why. Trying to be happy that your baby never knew anything other than love. And missing someone so dearly that you never even met. It’s a pain no one can describe. Because how can you properly grieve someone you never got to meet?"
"Please think twice before you post that April Fools’ joke," she pleaded with people. "Because what’s funny for a second in your eyes crushes someone else’s heart for eternity."
Posting about your "fake" pregnancy turns the process into a joke. You're implying that it's easy to conceive and it's something to be taken lightly, but in reality it's a painful reminder to so many that they cannot conceive or have lost a baby in the past.
"I decided to discuss miscarriage publicly because I knew so many women had faced this and probably felt alone, just like I did," Welch said to Love What Matters. "I wanted people to understand how badly this affected people and how common it was, but I also wanted other moms to understand they weren’t alone in one of the darkest points of their life.”
The comments on Welch's post were divided. Some agreed with her sentiment, while others didn't see the issue.
"The main issue for me with this joke isn't that its insensitive, it's that you're joking about a serious life altering condition," Lisa said. "Would you say "I have cancer... April fools!" Or even "my cancer is in remission.... April fools! I'm still dying!" No. You wouldn't. So don't say you're pregnant when you're not."
"I understand all of her feelings," Shannon said. "Being scared to see blood every time. Not being able to enjoy my healthy pregnancies for fear of getting too attached. This isn’t a joke."
"There are lots of things i don't find funny that other people do," Chloe refuted. "I don't get to tell them what's funny and whats not. That's not how life works. Your pain is your own and no one else should have to live their life around it."
"I think this is projecting. It's April fools," Stephanie echoed. "Should I be infuriated at every woman or man who says they're married simply because I've never gotten married and been broken hearted before?! I think not. Though I'm sorry for anyone's loss...that doesn't mean I have to walk around on eggshells to accommodate everyone's trauma."
One celebrity pointed out how hard it can be to see pregnancy announcements, even when it's not on April Fools' Day.
Hilarie Burton, known from her days as an MTV host and a star of One Tree Hill and White Collar, recently gave birth to her second child. But while it may always seem as though celebrities have it all, Burton opened up about how her fertility struggles with husband Jeffery Dean Morgan only made seeing pregnancy announcements even more painful.
There's something I really want to say to all the women out there who are trying.....It took a long time for Jeffrey and I to have this baby. The first time I got pregnant, it took a year and a half. I surprised him on Christmas with baby Seahawk booties. We cried. We celebrated. We picked out names. And we lost that baby.
More losses followed, and as so many couples know, it was heartbreaking. It still is heartbreaking. And every morning of the five years it took us, I'd open my computer at the kitchen table and see the news and I'd grow bitter over the endless parade of celebrities showing off their bumps and babies. I'd weep out of jealousy for how easy it was for them. Didn't they know something could go wrong? Didn't they know that there were other women out there struggling? It pained me to see the corporate sponsored baby showers and magazine covers capitalizing on this human miracle that wasn't happening for us.
So when this pregnancy started, we were cautious. I didn't want to celebrate for fear of jinxing it. I didn't want a baby shower. I checked her heartbeat every day, up until the day she was born. And now that she is here, I just stare at her in wonder all day. I see her in her daddy's arms and I don't take any of it for granted. She screams bloody murder and I smile because she is so wildly alive. So now that folks know she's here, I don't want her birth to cause any other woman to weep at her kitchen table.
If anything, my wish is that she would restore hope for others. Fertility is a fickle thing. And for the other couples out there who have had dark days, we want to introduce our miracle baby to you and send you our love and support in finding yours.
While no one is saying that you cannot rejoice in your own pregnancy excitement, it's just important that we all remember there are people who struggle every day with fertility problems who may be hurt by your posts, especially joke ones.