Without fail, at least one person on my news feed annually takes the opportunity to make an April Fool’s joke about pregnancy. People laugh in amusement and then mock those who comment saying it’s hurtful.
“Learn to take a joke!”
“Take a chill pill!”
And more recently, “You’re such a snowflake!”
Here’s the thing though — there is literally nothing funny about this. It’s not a joke, it’s a mockery of everyone who is struggling with pregnancy. Whether it’s infertility/fertility struggles, miscarriages, the death of an infant, a joke like this is basically a giant “fuck you” to all of us.
Of course, most of the people who make this joke don’t intend it that way. Most of them don’t want to inflict harm and pain. But it’s one of those things that once you’ve been told it’s insensitive, you need to take heart.
There is a far deeper grief in losing a child or being unable to conceive a child than anyone could imagine. It’s not something you can fully understand unless you have been through it.
Before I had my miscarriage, I had no idea how common it was. As far as I was aware, I didn’t know a single person who had been through one. Since slowly becoming public about it, I have discovered that a lot of women have suffered through them. I’ve also learned how common it is for couples to have fertility issues or who face infertility due to a myriad of issues.
When I finally saw those two lines on a pregnancy test, I felt a joy unlike any other. I sent a picture to Scott while he was out, and I literally cried tears of happiness for an hour. There has been so much darkness, so much pain in my life — and ours — and finally, we were getting something really, really good.
We only told family and a couple really close friends. Like most people do when they find out a precious soul is beginning to grow in their lives, we began planning. I started a Pinterest board for the nursery. We talked names. I excitedly noted my sister and I would be on our maternity leaves at the same time.
We met with the midwife two weeks later and went home, ready to book our first ultrasound for the following week. That morning, I started spotting. By the next evening, it was enough blood that it looked like the beginning of a period. I called the midwife and she ordered blood work for the next morning.
Somewhere inside, I think I knew that pregnancy wasn’t going to be viable. I spent the three weeks we knew I was pregnant trying to figure out what I would do if I miscarried. I figured it wouldn’t affect me. If I miscarried, there wasn’t anything I could do about it, and was it really a life yet anyway?
There are plenty of debates on when a fetus becomes a baby. To me, it’s the moment the heart starts to beat. That’s the moment new life is breathed into this combination of cells, the moment it becomes something alive.
My baby’s heart would have started beating that week.
The morning I went for my bloodwork, I tried to be filled with hope. To be confident, to trust in God. But my anxiety was through the roof and I felt as if at any moment, I would fall apart. The test results came into my online account shortly after lunch, and I knew. My HCG levels had plummeted drastically, and by that point, the bleeding had gotten worse.
Have you ever experienced everything that made every fibre of your being shatter simultaneously? I don’t fully know how to describe what I felt in the moment I read my bloodwork results. There was no moment of shock, no processing. Just this sudden feeling of grief so heavy in the pit of my soul that I wanted to scream in agony.
I didn’t scream, though. Slowly standing from my desk, I smiled at my coworkers as I made my way to the bathroom. I held everything together until the moment the door locked behind me, and I collapsed to the floor. For an hour, I lay in the fetal position, sobbing and holding my breath and every sound whenever I heard someone come near the door.
I called Scott and quietly told him. And then I left work. Scott and I sobbed together on the couch for hours that night. I have never cried that much. It wasn’t just grief I felt, it was total and utter despair.
All the hope, the joy, the dreams — everything I had gone, just like that. Before we even had a chance to see what our baby looked like, hear its heartbeat. Just gone. I miscarried that night. This tiny, little human being, barely formed just passed out of me like it was nothing, and that was it. In one moment, my pregnancy was over.
Not a day goes by when I am not in pain. When I do not feel despair and grief so deep within my soul that all I want to do is let out a guttural scream from the depths of my entire being. Every pregnancy announcement, every baby born, every child I see running with their parents. Every single thing is a reminder that the one thing that brought me so much joy will never be there.
I still cry every day. And from the people I have spoken to who have been through this, the pain never really goes away, you just learn to live with it.
An April Fool’s pregnancy joke mocks that. It makes light of the anguish and struggle that so many of us face every day. It takes something that should be precious, and turns it into a damn punchline, as if it was something meaningless instead.