April Fools Day! Yes, It's Actually March 31st
April Fools! Something funny, please. Not the version of “I’m pregnant…. just kidding, April Fools Day!”
Not funny. Below is a blog I wrote about the pregnancy game status update that went around Facebook for a while. Also, NOT funny. Not fun. Not funny.
See if you agree. Change a few details and the idea is the same.
Tomorrow? Some actually funny April Fools Day humor.
April Fools Status Update | "I'm Pregnant!"
A new Facebook game is really, really getting under my skin.
Someone I know who is 46 posted that she was pregnant.
Her life and family history is none of my business so I’m not sharing it here.
I don’t even know how many responses she has gotten to the post.
I do know that there was a decent amount of back and forth, including her giving some details about her ongoing pregnancy. Leading us down the garden path, I fell into it and congratulated her and wished her a happy and a healthy pregnancy. I thought she was happy about it and I was happy for her.
It turns out she is not pregnant. It’s a Facebook game to see how many people are REALLY reading your posts.
I read it.
Not a fun game.
Fake Pregnancy - My Feedback
Here was my response to her about her fake pregnancy post:
"I'm going to speak out for the community that I work with, those struggling with understanding infertility. They hate Facebook because of all the images of pregnancies and ultrasounds and birth announcements. It hurts them because they are trying so hard and wanting it so badly. And I'm sure there are folks out there that will think I am over reacting. That's ok. I'm going to stick up for my women who want a baby so badly and it's not happening. This is not a fun game for them. It's hurtful. And what I know of you is that you are not a hurtful person. But I guarantee that this game is hurting people."
There are folks who love my response. There are folks out there who hate my response. And there are lots of in between reactions as well. Many comments on overreacting, being overprotective, restricting freedom of speech.
Hmm . . .
Takes me back to running Resolve of NYC educational symposiums. There, the debate raged. If one of our volunteers got pregnant, should she or shouldn’t she come to the symposium and work? There were two basic sides; there still are. One, that us infertile folks could have a day and a place where they didn’t have to deal with other’s pregnancies. Two, that pregnancies gave people hope and that shielding them from the realities of other’s pregnancies was unrealistic and even paternalistic.
I’ve always come down on the side of protection. That’s why the Facebook “game,” of announcing your fake pregnancy, did not sit well with me. (I don’t even know how or why it’s a game. I’m going to say it again, I think it’s stupid.)
Some of what I heard back was that anything you post will offend someone. Be optimistic and you offend the pessimists. And vice versa. I get that.
I do get that.
Maybe I am oversensitive and overprotective. Maybe, though, I help make up for those who are undersensitive and underprotective.
Pain is pain. And to me, a joke is not funny when it’s hurtful. The pain of a joke, though, also depends on the person hearing it. Maybe some people will find the fake pregnancy game funny or at least fun.
What I know is that in the community with whom I’m so closely associated with, the group of men and women whom I love so dearly and respect so deeply, there is a very good chance that they will be hurt/disappointed/shocked/upset and more by this game.
Infertility Support & Advocacy
A dear friend on FB wrote this about my comment:
“I so want you on my side if ever I need an advocate. You are a strong, calm force.”
I don’t know about calm force. But I do believe that I’m a strong force. And yes, I do believe you would want me on your side if you needed support. Although I do not believe in taking sides a lot because it’s alienating and isolating and it separates us, not unites us, I make exceptions sometimes.
In this case, I make an exception.
I do not now, nor have I in the past, nor will I in the future, support games that create pain for men and women trying with everything they’ve got to create their families.
Please take me off that invitation list.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.