By Julie Castaneda
April Fool’s Day is a day to play pranks, but announcing a fake pregnancy — like singer Gwen Stefani did today — is not a joke to consider. It can hurt many people.
I'm PREGNANT… #AprilFools
— KennethCrtz (@CrtzKenneth) March 31, 2016
Around 15-25 percent of recognized pregnancies lead to a miscarriage, said Lucille Neely, a registered nurse in Lubbock.
“A large percentage of the population is touched by this, and making jokes is very painful for this demographic,” she said.
Suzy Emre, the founder of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness of Lubbock, or PILA, agrees.
“Find something funnier to do,” Emre said. “This is not funny. Put Saran wrap on a toilet. Do something funny like that. Pregnancy is not a joke, whether you’re pregnant or not.”
Having suffered the loss of two children to miscarriages, she started PILA in 2012 because she had been through the experience and wanted to help others.
“It’s a good place to be able to talk about it,” she said. “Talking is a good thing.”
"Jord I think I'm pregnant". Come on girls, the first one was funny but when 25 of you send the same text it's taking the piss #AprilFools
— Jord. (@jordheckford) April 1, 2016
Katie Smith, who cannot have children due to polycystic ovarian syndrome, finds it upsetting that some people see pregnancy as a joke.
“Bringing a child into the world is something I would die to do but can’t, and all of these people that can make that miracle just see it as a joke,” she said. “When in reality, it’s one of the biggest blessings a person can have.”
Victoria Carrasco, a Lubbock mother of three boys, says she also has three “angel babies.” After the first two miscarriages, she said, she felt a harrowing grief.
“I was a hermit,” she recalled. “I crawled into a hole and stayed there. I tried to be the best mom I could be to my boys, but I never felt good enough.”
Carrasco is currently pregnant with her seventh child, Tobias Alex Carrasco. She said she and her husband always wanted four kids, and that this baby will finally complete their family.
“This pregnancy has been by far my most difficult one, and it hasn’t gotten any easier to deal with the loss of my three angel babies before Tobias came along,” Carrasco said. ” I have my good days and my bad, where all I do is cry, but grieving never gets easier. It just becomes less frequent than the everyday process that it once was.”
October is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, and Oct. 15 is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. PILA, which meets monthly on the Lubbock Christian University campus, is planning a memorial service on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at The Heights Fellowship in Lubbock.
“This can provide some closure,” Emre said. “We have a lot of people that come every year because it gives them time. They’re able to remember their babies that they never got to meet.”
PILA, which makes burial gowns from wedding dresses, is looking for seamstresses to help make the gowns. Children can be buried in the gowns, or parents can keep the gown as keepsakes.
Those suffering from a loss who are seeking help or would like to talk to someone can reach out to Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness of Lubbock or GriefShare with Trinity Church. Emre also suggests the book “Please Be Patient, I’m Grieving,” which she says she was fortunate enough to read before its release.
To comfort someone who has been through a loss of pregnancy or a child, or is going through this experience, Emre advises simply giving them a hug.
“You don’t have to actually say anything other than, ‘I love you,'” she said. “Truly be there for them.”