I was a mere six months into my first full-time professional job when I discovered I was pregnant with my third baby. With my prior two pregnancies, I announced to friends and family right away, because I couldn’t bear to wait. This time, I still felt like a newbie on staff, so I chose to wait before making the big announcement at my place of employment.
I figured that a couple of weeks would be perfectly adequate, as I would have time to build up my courage to let my employers know that I would be needing time off for doctors’ appointments and an eventual maternity leave. The trouble was, the morning when it “felt right” and I got my courage up, I stupidly didn’t look at nor even consider the date I ultimately chose to reveal my pregnancy.
It was April 1.
April Fools’ Day pregnancy jokes are a time-honored tradition for those who lack the imagination required to come up with something better. Don’t get me wrong — a pregnancy announcement is almost always a huge shock no matter who shares it, and pranking your husband, friends or family in this manner is guaranteed to create huge reactions. It’s a little too easy, though, and there is a dark side — it’s a good way to get the hopes of a potential grandparent up, which is cruel, and it’s also a good way to deeply disturb and alienate friends or family members who have suffered from infertility, fetal loss or stillbirth.
Regardless, my ill-timed announcement at work was happily met with genuine, heartfelt congratulations from my immediate supervisor (who knew that I wasn’t stupid enough to pretend to be pregnant), but the rest of my co-workers gave me tons of side-eye — because I was stupid enough to announce my pregnancy on the ultimate day of pranks, jokes and “gotcha” moments.
It took days, people — days — to convince my fellow staff members that I was really pregnant. Weeks, in some cases. They actually thought I was banal enough to not only fake a pregnancy, but was willing to keep that charade going for months in order to keep my sick joke going. It made me not only wonder why I was so dumb to announce on that date in the first place, but why my co-workers thought I was willing to continue on for so long. Did I come across as a huge weirdo in the workplace? Was it because I was still relatively new? Did they think I was so committed to this sham that I couldn’t bear to let it go? Even though it’s been well over a decade, I still ponder these things.
Eventually, of course, these lovely folks got over their suspicion and embraced my pregnancy, even throwing me a lovely baby shower and treating me with amazing respect. My immediate supervisor worked with me to get the maximum time off I requested and took my resignation when my baby was nine months old (because I couldn’t deal with the whole working-mom-with-a-baby thing) with grace.
However, there are two important lessons to be learned here because of my shortsighted mistake: Don’t pretend to be pregnant on April Fools’ Day, and if you are pregnant, under no circumstances should you announce it on April Fools’ Day — unless you want side-eye, disbelief or a lack of hearty congratulations from the people in your life.
In other words, don’t be like me.
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