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Considering an April Fool’s pregnancy prank? This is why you should reconsider

Laughing woman holding fake pregnancy test up to her phone to take a selfie, then next to her is a bereaved mother holding a teddy bear with an empty crib behind her
Pretending to be pregnant on April Fools Day isn't the harmless joke you may think it is.

Every year people play tricks on friends and family members on the 1st of April – but when it comes to pregnancy, it’s objectionable.

Pregnancy pranks are increasingly easier to pull off with fake positive tests or ultrasound scans available online.

However, when those who have experienced baby loss or fertility struggles are considered – the joke is far from harmless.

‘Put yourselves in the shoes of bereaved parent’

Abi Clarke, chairwoman of Aberdeen miscarriage charity Miss, has asked people to “put themselves in the shoes” of bereaved parents.

She said: “For a moment, try if you can to put yourselves in the shoes of a bereaved parent who is trying to get pregnant and can’t.

“Comments during April Fool’s Day on pregnancy and loss can be very sensitive.

“It can bring a lot of pain, shame and emotions for anyone who has gone through a miscarriage.”

Abi Clarke. Picture by Scott Baxter.

‘What if your partner’s reaction is not what you expect?’

Aberdeen psychotherapist Nara Morrison described this particular prank as “insensitive”.

And she stressed that tricking your partner that you are expecting can also leave them feeling deeply disappointed when they find out it isn’t true.

“Many people do these tests to laugh at their partner’s reaction. However, it feels more like ridiculing their partner,” she said.

Woman holding pregnancy test, man looking devastated with hands covering his face as he learns it was fake

“What if your partner’s reaction is not what you expect?

“Will it become a shadow over your relationship and will you feel hurt or upset?

“What if your partner also had a loss in the past and gets upset?

“What if they are happy to learn they will be a parent only to feel deeply disappointed it was a sick joke?”

Grief and anxiety can last for years

Dr Katrina Forbes-McKay, psychology course leader at Robert Gordon University, stressed that people can suffer decades of grief following baby loss.

And the ongoing stigma can leave women feeling reluctant to open up about their experiences to others.

A photo of Robert Gordon University next to an image of Dr Katrina Forbes-McKay
Dr Katrina Forbes-McKay

She said: “Miscarriage, for many women, is associated with anxiety, depression, and grief, the needs of miscarrying women are often overlooked by health care professionals and the wider community.

“Left untreated, such symptoms may last for anything up to 24 years and can have harmful effects on both the mother and infant during future pregnancies.”

If you’ve had a miscarriage or experienced insensitivity during April Fool’s Day, Abi Clarke has urged people to email the Miss support team via advice@miss-support.org.uk

Read more:

‘It’s about finding the best strategy’: North-east miscarriage charity marks fifth anniversary

Baby loss: Aberdeen charities reminding parents they are not alone

Aberdeen scientists’ new research into stillbirths finds no hereditary link between mothers and daughters

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