April Fools—I’m Pregnant!


April Fools--I'm Pregnant!We see it done every year—some Facebook friend announces a pregnancy, and bam! Gotcha. April Fool’s Day.

I appreciate a good joke as much as anyone, but this one has always bothered me. Maybe it’s because I know way too many women who have had trouble getting pregnant. Maybe it’s because I think pregnancy is a pretty big deal, even if you’ve never had problems conceiving. Maybe it’s because I just think it’s rude to make fun of someone after they have just offered you a sincere congratulations on a major life event.

Regardless of why this joke bothers me, I’m not the only one. Millions of women have trouble conceiving, and to them, this joke is devastating. The problem of infertility is so much more than simply “having” a child or not. Many women bear this burden not just as a biological one, but as a personal failure of themselves, of their marriage, of their dreams–a dream they may not have even realized they had until they are told it’s not possible or not probable. This one day every year, many people think it’s fine to make that dream the butt of a joke.

I had no idea how hard it was for women who were struggling to conceive until I got pregnant with my first child, until I met a friend at a restaurant who hadn’t been able to make it to my baby shower. We had lunch and then she put a gift on the table for my little girl. “I’m sorry I couldn’t come to the shower. I really wanted to,” she said. “But my fertility doctor told me I needed to avoid baby showers for a while. It’s just too stressful for me.” Hearing what she was going through killed me—my heart ached for her.

“On a day when we want to laugh and joke on Facebook with the rest of our friends, we are subject to the dread of logging on to see this tactless joke repeated over and over by so many people who have no idea what it’s like to dream of a glimmer of hope to one day bear a child of their own,” writes another friend of mine who’s a work-at-home-mom of one with another on the way. She had to undergo rounds of IVF for both of her precious baby boys, and it wasn’t easy for her or her husband. She says in her infertility support groups online, some women avoid Facebook altogether on April 1 just because of this joke.

I’m not saying that we should never do anything that shouldn’t offend anyone. Someone is always going to be offended at something, especially on the Internet. But let’s be gentle today. Let’s be kind. Let’s joke about something else.

Erin Burt is a mom of three girls who lives and writes in Queensbury, NY.


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2 Responses to “April Fools—I’m Pregnant!”

  1. Cheri P says:

    I agree about the lying part. April Fools Day makes you feel like a fool for believing people at their word. It’s really immature and a waste of time. We don’t participate b/c we have convictions about lying in our household and joking about things that really didn’t happen. Making stuff up can cause trust issues in relationships. And yes — we all know today it’s to be expected but there really is no point to take part in it if at the end of the day you feel deceived. I’m glad others see it that way too 🙂

  2. Melanie says:

    No matter what kind of joke someone pulls there is always going to be someone it offends. And this is why I hate April fools day. I never thought it was funny to basically spread lies to everyone or pull tricks on people. But hey that’s just me.