One popular prank pulled across Facebook every April Fools’ Day may actually be more hurtful than hilarious.
A common trope of April Fools’ Day pranks in the social-media age is to trick family, friends and followers into thinking you’ve gone through a life-changing event, such as telling everyone that you’ve won the lottery or that you’re taking a job out of the country.
While those examples can be harmless jokes, some people have been faking pregnancies as an April Fools' Day gag. However, as a viral Facebook post has recently shown, joking about being pregnant when you’re not can be taken as extremely insensitive toward those who are struggling with infertility or pregnancy loss.
The above post, from the Australian Breastfeeding Project, reads, “Remember, faking a pregnancy is NOT funny, be more creative this April fools!” Alongside a photo of a positive pregnancy test, it states: “1 in 4 of your friends will have lost a baby and 1 in 6 will be suffering with infertility. Pregnancy is not a joke, be more creative this April fools!”
The post has clearly hit a nerve and has been shared more than 180,000 times since March 13. In the comments, people have shared how their experiences with infertility and miscarriage have affected them profoundly.
And if you’re wondering about the statistics in that post, they are based on Australian data. In that country, research has shown that about 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and that about one in six couples have been affected by infertility. Meanwhile, in the United States, statistics show that up to 30 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and that about 9 percent of men and 11 percent of women have experienced fertility problems.
Last year, another viral Facebook post urged people to stop asking couples when they plan on having children, as they may be struggling with infertility or have other personal reasons why they do not have any.
It’s great that people are speaking out about these sensitive issues that affect so many of us. Here’s hoping that their messages will resonate.
This April Fools’ Day, think before you joke!