By Clodagh Meaney
Despite these strange times we're living in, time is still ticking on. As sure as night comes, the day will roll around once again, which is something we can all hold onto right now.
The calendar hasn't stopped either, St. Patricks Day came and went even though the streets were empty and the pubs were closed. As the final days go by in the countdown to Easter Sunday, people across Ireland are on lockdown amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Tomorrow is April Fools Day, a frivolous day usually filled with pranks and fun by friends and family, and sometimes even the big corporations get involved.
Google, who usually pull the best pranks on the Internet have announced that this year they will not be engaging in their annual pranks in respect to those suffering because of the current global health pandemic.
Google's Chief Marketing Officer, Lorraine Twohill, reportedly told employees at the tech giant: "Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let’s save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one."
"We’ve already stopped any centralized April Fool’s efforts but realize there may be smaller projects within teams that we don’t know about. Please suss out those efforts and make sure your teams pause on any jokes they may have planned — internally or externally.”
It comes as almost 800,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide. Their decision to skip April Fools Day this year is something others could follow the lead on.
When it comes to playing pranks on April Fools Day, there is one in particular that I, and many other people find distasteful no matter what year it is; the pregnancy prank.
Pregnancy can be a wonderful and wanted experience for many, for some, it's something that they can only dream and for others, it happens in circumstances where the pregnancy is not wanted.
It is estimated that 1 in 6 couples in Ireland will struggle to conceive. My parents were one of these couples. My own mother longed for the day she got a positive test result.
"I've been told I can't have children," a friend once told me through tears. All she wanted was to be a mother, but her future was taken from her right before her eyes.
I watched on as another terrified friend, who was only 21 at the time, looked down at a pregnancy test that read '3 weeks+ pregnant'. She wasn't ready to be a mother, she was scared and alone.
"I miscarried," another friend confided in me, a tragedy that led to mental illness.
For these women in my life, pregnancy is not a joke.
Figures published by the Irish Family Planning Association show that 1 in 4 women in Ireland experiences an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. To put that into context, for every four women you know, one of them has unexpectedly, and perhaps in crisis circumstances, become pregnant.
A further 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. That's 20% of all pregnancies that end in devastating circumstances.
To be able to joke about being pregnant is to exercise a certain privilege. If you're able to joke about pregnancy, it probably means you've been lucky enough not to experience the pain that many people have, and most of the time have done so in silence.
By all means, have some fun at home this April Fools' Day. You could hide the toilet roll supply, tie all of someone's shoes together - whatever gives you a laugh, but please don't tell someone you're pregnant as a joke because behind each statistic is someone you know who has suffered enough.