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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Before You Post that April Fools Joke

I distinctly remember my first real, true heartbreak. It was in high school, I was 16, and he ended it, completely blindsiding me, at a football game. I cried myself to sleep that night, but when I woke up in the morning, for about 30 seconds I felt normal. Then my thoughts caught up with me and I remembered the embarrassment, the hurt, the humiliation, and shocking pain. It all hit at once, temporarily crippling me.

I'm sure not everyone is that dramatic at 16, but when I was young I felt emotions in a much stronger way. Now that I'm older, I'm more used to them and don't feel nearly as strongly. Except one emotional punch that repeated for weeks last November.

In October, completely unexpectedly, I lost a baby. It shattered me in many ways, but nothing was worse in the weeks after than seeing the ultrasound pictures of Facebook. No matter how happy I would have normally been for the couple now expecting, each image now felt like a sharp punch to the gut, each one crippled me momentarily. Every image was an undeniable reminder of what my ultrasound had not shown. For weeks afterward, nothing felt worse.

Except when those ultrasound pictures weren't real. When they were something like this:



Yes, it's a turkey, but when you're scrolling social media on your phone you don't first see the turkey, you see the setup for the ultrasound, and the punch settles in. Then when you see it's a joke, something laughable to everyone else, the fury begins.

I don't have the right words to describe what it feels like to lose a baby. I don't care if you call it a "failed pregnancy", a "spontaneous abortion," or a "miscarriage," if you lose someone that you wanted and that you prayed for, it is a hurt that you cannot understand unless you experience it.

So with April Fools Day here today, think about what you're planning as a joke. I implore you not to be that person that cripples a friend because you don't know she's just miscarried or that she can't conceive. Every year I see it, and every year I've hated it, Not everyone is as open about their pregnancy issues as I have been, so even if my opinion means nothing to you, remember that 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and out of the hundreds of friends who may see your April Fools joke, that means dozens of them could be hurt by it on a very personal level.

There are literally thousands of brilliants pranks out there, just search Pinterest and I bet you'll find dozens to do, but telling a lie and making pregnancy a joke is not an April Fools prank.