It’s almost April Fool’s Day. This means you’ll probably see at least one faux sonogram, or someone on social media alluding to the arrival of a child.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Your fake pregnancy announcement isn’t funny.

Here’s why:

You’re Mocking People Who’ve Struggled with Infertility

You may be aware that 1 in 8 couples try for many years to have a biological child only to be hit with the realization that they must accept the diagnosis of infertility. They may even be forced to revoke a pregnancy announcement due to a miscarriage — sometimes more than once. Relationships suffer due to infertility and the emotional trauma of multiple miscarriages can have damaging lifelong effects.

How can it be funny to make light of pregnancy when couples suffer for years with the inability to become pregnant?

In past years, we’ve talked about how these “pranks” harm people who have experienced infertility. This year, here’s another reason your April Fools’ Day pregnancy prank is not funny. Let’s take a look at who else might be harmed by your “joke.”

Women and Couples Facing Unplanned Pregnancy Aren’t Laughing

What does your “pregnancy” announcement look like to a woman experiencing an unplanned, crisis pregnancy? Women may be facing blame, embarrassing questions and unsupportive partners, friends, or family. Women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy have a difficult and life-changing decision to make: Parenting, adoption or abortion.

Do you know what it’s like to have to live with such a big decision? Making this difficult situation a joke can be hurtful and traumatic for many people, especially women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.

Saying “April Fools” Can’t Make an Unplanned Pregnancy Go Away for Frightened Parents

That’s right, unplanned pregnancy is not subject to the magic words “April Fools.” It’s a very real and very difficult situation for women and couples to deal with. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. That means when you announce your “fake pregnancy,” there’s close to a 50% chance that someone who is present for the announcement, or views your “April Fools’ pregnancy prank” video is experiencing or has experienced an unplanned pregnancy.

It may be difficult to conceptualize what it’s like to be accidentally pregnant if you’ve never experienced it firsthand. Know that making light of this serious situation can be detrimental for women and couples who were forced to choose parenting, adoption or abortion for their unborn child. It can make them feel like they’re being ridiculed and belittled.

You get to walk away from your fake pregnancy, but women who are unexpectedly pregnant don’t get to walk away from their very real pregnancy.

When you make an April Fools pregnancy announcement, you are sending the message that unplanned pregnancy is a joke. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Effects of a Fake Pregnancy Announcement on the Pranked

Let’s put fake pregnancy announcements into perspective. After watching a few pregnancy announcement pranks on YouTube, here are a few quotes from those who were pranked:

  • “Why would you joke about this? Because it’s not a joke.”
  • “Very selfish.”
  • “Awful. Not funny.”

These situations can leave a deep, unsettled mark on the emotions of those who are pranked, even after pranksters reveal the “pregnancy joke.”

Consider the following outcomes that pregnancy pranksters are looking for:

  • Getting someone’s hopes up only to be let down, then mocked.
  • Rendering someone confused and/or speechless through shock or fear.
  • Provoking anger and irrational behavior that can be harmful to relationships, even if it’s “just a joke.”

These effects of a “joke” can hurt and reveal the prankster as immature and selfish, at best. And at worst — cruel.

Instead of Joking about Pregnancy, Let’s Spread Awareness

This coming April Fools’ Day, you can be a voice for those who need support during their unplanned pregnancy. You can also advocate for those who struggle with being unable to become pregnant, as we’ve encouraged on previous April Fool’s Days.

Infertility is a hard mountain to climb on its own without the obstacle of fake pregnancy jokes that devalue the struggle. Unplanned pregnancy is like a pit of quicksand that only pulls harder when fake pregnancy announcements make the situation seem amusing instead of serious.

You can choose to think about the feelings and situations of others this coming April Fools’ Day. Tell a joke that’s actually funny. Do everyone a favor and stick to Dad jokes and knock-knock jokes.