Today is April Fool's Day.
It's a day in America where pranks and jokes are taking place throughout the whole day. It's a day when you can't trust anyone, and any bit of news is unreliable - especially online. (You know. It's just like what Abraham Lincoln once said, "You can't trust everything you read online!"…Right??) It's a day when doubt plants itself in every moment of that specific day, not know which moment or set of information we can accept as fact.
I love jokes. I enjoy a good prank. I didn't see or hear many jokes this year, but out of the few I heard, my favorite one was created by a child in kindergarten at the school where I work.
It was lunch time and my coworker was talking to a 5-year-old boy while helping him put his straw into his milk. He told my coworker, "I had eggs for breakfast!" Replying, she told him, "good!" Then, with excitement, he said, "APRIL FOOLS!!!! I had sausage." He was so proud that my coworker believed him when he told her he ate eggs for his morning meal. He was probably even more excited that he tricked an adult.
Most of the other jokes I saw were on Facebook. A friend of mine tricked her daughter when they gave her a muffin package. Their young child was sourly disappointed when they opened the package. They were expecting a sweet and tasty muffin inside...just to find some celery. The child's reaction was hilarious and the video received nearly 50 likes on her parent's Facebook page by the end of the night.
Then, I saw a few people post something I see every year - at least 5 times. Something that they claim as "fact" for the first few hours of their original post to later claim is as a joke. Yet, it's a joke that I don't find to be funny. I didn't like it last year…and I still don't like it this year. (I just finally decided to voice my opinion.) But most of all? It's a joke that I wish others wouldn't make.
What was the joke??
It seems simple. It seems harmless.
For many women, this "harmless" April Fool's joke is quite the opposite of being considered funny.
Sure, it can be funny to those who have children and find no struggle in getting pregnant. It's easy for this joke to be funny to those who have never cried out to God while spending hours on their numb knees, asking God to bless them with at least one child…for those who have never spent hours at the doctor's office talking about fertility, fertility treatments, and saving thousands of dollars to spend on hopes of uncertain medicine to assist in the process. The joke may cause laughter for those who have never had the heart-wrenching moment at 2:00 a.m. of an ER doctor saying, "You're in your second trimester…but I can't find the heartbeat of your daughter."
Unless you have certain life experiences, it is probably easier to have a good laugh over things that cause others tears.
There is a great amount of (often forgotten) women out in the world who have a constant struggle when it comes to the topic of children and pregnancy…Women who are mourning every day for an unfilled desire.
Jokes like this are a fresh cut on an old wound…A wound created through experiences of miscarriages, giving birth to a stillborn, child loss, infertility, and even the struggle that some experience during the process of adoption.
When women, who have no problem conceiving children, who have never experienced the unforgettable and never-ending heart ache from child loss or infertility post, "I'm pregnant…again!!" as a joke…it's not even slightly funny.
Every day many women are reminded of what they don't have or about what has been taken away from them. When women who have children and an easy ability to conceive children, and then they joke about having another child - when they aren't really pregnant - it is another reminder. They can't have children, yet their friend with a house full of children has such an easy time that they can joke about it.
The woman with a household full of children is lucky. She is blessed as she has been given such an amazingly beautiful gift from God.
The women who have struggled with child loss and infertility? They are thankful. They are thankful that their friends have their children. They are thankful that not every woman has to battle their type of harsh struggles of motherhood. Their journey is something they would never wish upon another woman.
Women who have lost a child are reminded about their loss - or desire to have children - in the daily,
small things. They're reminded in the comfort of their own homes while they surf their TV and pass the drama-filled TV series Teen Mom. They are reminded when they go to a mall and pass the baby stores or the baby isle in Target wishing they could the cute frilly pink dress for a little one. They are reminded when their friends announce real pregnancies and are invited to an endless amount of baby showers - all while craving the ability to have their own celebration for their unfulfilled desire to hold a child of their own…Not to mention when they are reminded on the date of their child's birth, the date of their death, on Mother's day, and on Christmas. They are reminded when they go to place flowers on the gravesite of one of the few things that have their child's name in writing, the headstone of the local cemetery. They're reminded of their loss and struggle by the dusty stored boxes from their time of hope and joy, before that time unexpectedly ended in an indescribably, paralyzing pain.
It's okay to make jokes and to perform pranks on April Fools. But please - keep in mind that your posts are seen by all on your friend list. What may be seen as harmless to you can hurt another in ways that you (hopefully) will never understand. Your posts are seen by mothers, fathers - but also by the childless.
I've never lost a child of my own. I've not dealt with infertility - and I pray I never will…But I know so many who have - including my sister who gave birth to first child, to her daughter, Ashley, as a stillborn (read Going Home for the story from my perspective). Knowing how much it hurts me, just as an aunt of a child who has passed on, for people to make light of pregnancies and the reminder of the pain my family has gone through throughout the last two years since her death…just to see someone be so flippant...I know I can't even imagine the pain my sister must feel - especially when people know her story and that she sees all that they post.
Sure, time has passed since the death of my niece. July 5th will mark the 3rd year anniversary of both her birthday and the day she died...But it is still a sensitive topic for my family. Our hearts still ache and our memories often feel as though they just took place yesterday…Memories from the few short moments when we all held her for the last time (and in my case, it was the first and last time since I was abroad during her birth).
Please…Think before you post. Your words - written or spoken - do impact others around you.
And to those of you who have lost children and/or who struggle with infertility - please know that you are remembered and loved. My prayers go out to you and your family, and I pray that your deepest heart's desires will one day be filled with a precious bundle of joy for you to share your love with…(All while helping you lose brain cells and causing you many strands of grey hair.)
The Travelin' Chick,