I’m all for playing a good prank on friends and family now and then, but there is one popular prank that just needs to end in 2017. Let’s please, for the love, stop sharing fake pregnancy announcements and ultrasound pictures.
There are funny pranks, and then there are just insensitive jokes that need to stop. While these popular pranks tend to be a favorite April fool’s joke, it’s anything but a joke to the millions of women who have struggled with infertility, miscarriage, or the loss of a child.
It’s one thing if you want to prank your husband in the privacy of your own home, but here are some reasons to think twice about posting this type of “joke” on Facebook for all your friends to see.
Did you know that about 12% of women in the United States have had difficulty getting pregnant according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? That means that out of your 200 to 300 friends on Facebook, there is a good chunk of them who may not appreciate you announcing a fake baby.
And if the potential fertility struggles of your friends isn’t a strong enough argument for you, it’s also worth noting that the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that “[t]he risk for miscarriage for women aged 20 to 30 years is between nine and 17 percent; this rate increases sharply from 20 percent at age 35 years to 40 percent at age 40 years and 80 percent at age 45 years.”
Some sources report that nearly 1 in 4 pregnancies result in a miscarriage. It’s hard to know the exact number because women often keep miscarriages a secret and do not share such personal information. And most women aren’t going to reveal that information to their friends on social media anyway.
So my guess is that with a number as high as 1 in 4, you can almost guarantee that one or more of your friends has gone through this painful experience. And let’s not forget that their spouse and family members had to watch them go through that pain as well.
I have a few family members who struggle with infertility, and I can attest that their pain is real even years after the fact. I’ve had a hard time stomaching announcing real pregnancy news to them for fear of hurting them unintentionally and bringing up painful memories.
It’s not like the loss of a child is something that you ever get over. And the heartache of desperately wanting a child and not being able to get pregnant is something that is already in your face every day when friends and family announce real pregnancies all around you. You can’t exactly escape pregnant women when you venture out in public either.
We all know that women often put on a brave face when miscarriage happens, and there is no way to know which of your friends may have experienced this heartache. But it seems logical to avoid causing them unnecessary pain and trauma when they realize you are making light of one of their greatest struggles.
Believe me, I’ve had to share my news of real pregnancies with friends who struggle with infertility, and it’s never easy for either one of us.
We would never announce a fake shooting or a fake death, so why are we thinking it’s funny to announce a fake life?
I’ll admit that we can’t walk on eggshells around every possible heartache that people might have felt in their lives because it’s impossible to know what hidden sorrows people are wrestling with. But this is one issue where I think it’s pretty safe to say that some of your friends, maybe many of them, have been through a heartbreaking experience such as infertility or pregnancy loss.
And you’re not really sharing real news anyway are you? By sharing fake pregnancy announcements and fake ultrasound pictures as a joke, you’re making light of a very serious plight many women face. And their pain is real. Your news isn’t.
Let’s focus on being a little kinder, and a little more sensitive, and stop with the fake pregnancy announcements. No one really thinks they are that funny anyway. Played out already! If you’re still just dying to prank your husband then do it at home and record it, if you must. Just don’t post the video on Facebook.
The thing is, social media can be a beautiful place for sharing good news and even bad news, and staying connected with our friends, but it just isn’t the appropriate outlet for this triggering, sensitive topic. Nobody is asking anyone to hold back on sharing your actual joy, so maybe find a better prank?