Every year, April Fool's Day leads to fake pregnancy announcements on social media. While those who post them see it as a harmless prank, they can be incredibly upsetting to anyone struggling with fertility issues or pregnancy loss.
Actress and mama Tori Spelling found that out the hard way this year. She posted a shot of herself cradling her stomach on April Fool's Day with the caption of "No. 6." Fans and even some of her famous friends were quick to offer congratulations, but many others were quick to point out the timing.
"I hope this isn't an April fools joke," one commenter wrote. "Because that's in such poor taste for those of us who have lost babies."
"My daughter wants to get pregnant so badly and it doesn't work," another wrote. "So 'jokes' are not funny."
Spelling, who has five kids with husband Dean McDermott, set the record straight the next day.
"Every week, magazine and press outlets ask if I am pregnant. To set the record straight, I am not," she said on Instagram. "The fact is, after my fifth baby, my body didn't bounce back like it had before. That's when the constant questions of 'yet another' pregnancy first began."
"Unless you're in the public eye, it is hard to understand what it feels like to be body-shamed so publicly," she continued. "I feel like I have to constantly defend my body when instead, I should be honoring it for the miracle of life it gave me five times. I know that pregnancy is an extreme blessing. And I would never intentionally poke fun at losing a child or not being able to carry one. I myself have miscarried. My post was simply to turn the tables for once on the press," she said. "They constantly create wild and often hurtful stories about me, my body, and my family."
Spelling ended her post with a message for anyone who has upset by the fake announcement. "For those of you that are hurt, I hear you. I love you. I welcome your stories and I will try my best to be there to support you," she wrote. "Please accept this as a virtual hug to my entire community."
We understand why Spelling is frustrated with intrusive questions about her body and her pregnancies. No one should be body-shamed—on that topic, we stand behind the actress.
Here's what we don't get, though: she says she was trying to "turn the tables" on the media. Did she really think a fake pregnancy announcement on April Fool's Day would accomplish that? Why not issue a statement, similar to the one she just wrote, on another day in the year? Why take the chance of hurting so many families—all in the name of a joke?
In her statement, Spelling says that she will do her best to support the people that she's hurt. But she stops short of apologizing. We don't get that, either.
We remind people every year that these prank announcements can be painful. You never know what someone might be experiencing or how they may be hurting. As Spelling found out, these jokes just aren't funny. Hopefully, the situation helps educate others—so that next year, no one else makes the same mistake.