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Sunday
Apr012018

Mother who struggled with infertility says April Fools' jokes about pregnancy can hurt

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two years after Chelsey Cardinal first cautioned women against joking about pregnancy on April Fools' Day, the schoolteacher is now a mom, but said she still doesn't find such humor funny.

When Cardinal posted the warning to Instagram two years ago, she had been struggling for 18 months with trying to conceive with now-husband, Jamie. The two had suffered a miscarriage and were about to start another round of in vitro fertilization.

"I've known people for a long time who joke that they're pregnant, and this year it hit me that it does hurt," Kimmel told ABC News back in 2016.

That second round of in vitro proved successful, and the Cardinals welcomed their first child, a daughter named Remy, on Jan. 11, 2017.

"It's been a whirlwind since then," Cardinal, 26, said. "We're actually expecting our second child. We're 12 weeks today. We were going to tell everybody tomorrow."

The mom and dad are expecting a baby boy on Oct. 13. This time, they were able to conceive without treatment.

"This one was actually a little surprise," said Cardinal, of Burrillville, Rhode Island.

And although she is past her own infertility struggles, Cardinal said she still doesn't find pregnancy jokes funny.

"People don't understand that the pain of infertility doesn't disappear just because you have children," Cardinal said. "Looking back on it now, I used to hold so much anger at those posts. Now I look at it as an opportunity to educate people."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12 percent of women, ages 15 to 44, have had difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

"When we were trying to conceive, you'd see pregnancy posts -- real or fake -- and it's kind of like a stab in your gut," Cardinal said. "It catches you off guard."

Sonya Frazier, a licensed mental health counselor based in Tampa, Florida, told ABC News that it's important to "be mindful of the implications" of jokes and pranks on April Fools' Day.

"Words do hurt," she said. "And infertility is still much of a personal and private experience for many women and men. To joke about such a topic could potentially trigger a stream of negative emotions in those who are trying to conceive."

Cardinal has one suggestion on April Fools' Day for women who are finding it hard to deal with infertility.

"Just stay off social media," she said.

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