Mar 31, 2014

It Isn't Funny. It Isn't Harmless. On Fake Pregnancy Announcements

I love April Fools' Day. I'm not a particularly funny person. And anyone who knows me knows that I couldn't pull off a well-executed prank if my life depended on it.
But I do love a good joke. I love a harmless prank. And I think they are funny.
But not every prank is funny.
Not every prank is in good fun.
And some can be downright cruel. Even if it is unintentional.
Friends don't let friends post fake pregnancy announcements. For lots of reasons. But today I'm advocating for the friend reading your post who will cry. The friend it will harm.
If you know me at all, you know that we struggled with infertility for years before getting pregnant. You know just how important I find it to advocate for infertile couples who aren't "out" yet. 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. Most do so silently. You have Facebook friends who will see your post who are struggling. You have twitter followers who are struggling. And you probably don't know who they are.
So, before hitting post on your "I'm expecting" prank remember those folks who have experienced the heartache of child loss. Remember those folks who are in the midst of injections for infertility treatments. Remember those folks who have suffered through a high risk pregnancy.
These words aren't funny. Or fun. But they are the reality for people you know.
And for these people, your "harmless" fake pregnancy announcement will bring untold pain. It is hurtful. It is cruel.
If you’ve never been through the loss of a child or the pain of desperately trying to conceive, then you will never understand the pain of these experiences. You will never understand the tears and emotions of seeing real pregnancy announcements (especially the "oopsies" announcements from friends who aren't even sure they want a child!).
As an infertile woman, I prayed everyday for God to grant me the courage and patience and purity of heart to accept a friend or family members pregnancy announcement with joy not jealously. To do as Paul said we as Christ disciples should and "rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15). It's hard. It's a daily struggle. It takes a toll physically, mentally, emotionally. And left no room for cruel jokesters. I could not cope (actually I still can not cope) with the fake "I'm expecting" jokes. And one year spent most of April 1 crying because I read SEVEN faux announcements (and one poorly timed real pregnancy announcement).
So don't be the clueless friend who makes someone cry. Before you post your silly prank, remember that you are most likely hurting someone you know. Even if you don't know she is struggling. Even if she isn't "out." Even if she is crying only to her husband (or like me crying hiding in her closet).
Your harmless prank is hurting someone you know and care about – even if you aren't aware.

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