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Some pranks have got to go, and the fake pregnancy announcement is one of them. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop at mere pretend announcements on Facebook anymore. There are people who take it a step further by obtaining fake ultrasounds, positive pregnancy tests and pretend baby bumps. If you want to get a real positive pregnancy test, you can find pregnant women selling their pee sticks on Craigslist. Why anyone would need them for anything other than nefarious reasons is beyond me.
But the worst of them all is a website called FakeABaby profiting from this nonsense. They made it possible for a 16-year-old in Michigan to convince her whole town that she was pregnant with triplets. (Yes, triplets!) They claim to be a prank website, but there isn't anything funny about duping people into believing you are going to have a baby. Disguising onions as caramel apples is a prank. Sending someone an envelope full of glitter or a bag of penis-shaped gummy snacks is a prank. And while these things might piss me off, it's not going to hurt me or my family. It's temporary.
When I first heard about FakeABaby, I got angry. I know what it's like to have trouble conceiving, and desperately wanting a baby of my own. I know how painful real pregnancy announcements can be. Playing with people's emotions like that is hurtful and immature. It's unfortunate that some people do this for attention. I can't understand why else someone would go to extravagant lengths to lie about a pretend pregnancy. If not for attention, then what? For money? A relationship? The notion that "pranking" your partner is advertised as a way to get them to propose or remain committed is disturbing.
I've never heard someone give a fake cancer announcement then say, "Just kidding!" It's gross and insensitive.
Tricking friends and family—especially your partner—into believing you're pregnant is not funny. It's cruel and breaks trust. It diminishes the struggle of those who truly need help and support. Gaining money and gifts towards your fake baby is essentially stealing from kind-hearted folks. And it's a slap in the face to someone with infertility. I've never heard someone give a fake cancer announcement then say, "Just kidding!" It's gross and insensitive.
I'm not perfect. Several years ago, I was guilty of perpetuating the fake pregnancy announcement as a harmless joke. I remember tweeting with a woman looking for April Fool's Day ideas to play on her husband. I am ashamed to admit it, but I suggested she tell him she was pregnant. At the time, I didn't realize how insensitive that was to couples struggling to conceive or how inappropriate it was in general. It was completely juvenile and I wish I never participated in that.
Pranks should be silly and relatively harmless. Pranks shouldn't break trust or force others in our lives to make life altering decisions. And pranks should definitely not make light of a life-changing event like pregnancy.