On April Fool's Day, think before you joke about pregnancy.

Gwen Stefani announced on her Instagram this morning that she is expecting a baby.

It's a girl ❤️💕❤️gx

A photo posted by Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani) on


“It’s a girl” the pop star said, including a few heart emojis for good measure.

But as you probably already guessed, Stefani is not pregnant and this is an April Fools' joke.

On April Fools' Day, Stefani — and countless others — sometimes take to the social media account of their choice and attempt to convince their unsuspecting friends and relatives that they're pregnant. 

"It's all in good fun," they quip. "It's no big deal."

But they're wrong. 

Stefani with boyfriend Blake Shelton. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS.

It might seem like harmless fun, but these kinds of jokes can really sting for more people than you'd think.

Photo by iStock.

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, an estimated 10% to 25% of of pregnancies end in miscarriage. And women who've had a previous miscarriage have a slightly elevated risk of having another. 

So whether you're aware or not, there is a strong likelihood that someone you know has or will suffer from pregnancy loss. 

And that's not even accounting for the 10% of women (that's more than 6 million) between the ages of 15 and 44 who have had difficulty getting pregnant or carrying their baby to term. Or the men, whose own health issues make up about 33% of infertility struggles.

For couples with fertility issues, trying to conceive can be expensive, painful, and physically and emotionally exhausting.  

Still laughing? 

And all of this is compounded by the fact that we don't often talk about infertility or pregnancy loss.

Photo by iStock.

Despite the fact that so many pregnancies end in miscarriage, the topic is still taboo, often discussed in hushed tones. 

When writing about her own experience, actress Laura Benanti wrote in The Huffington Post: 

"Well, if this is so common, then why do we only speak about it in whispers, if we speak about it at all?

If this is so common, why does it feel like the Voldemort of women’s issues?

The 'M' that must not be named."

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Trevor Project.

Many families never discuss their loss or struggles with friends or families; instead they press on in private. Some individuals develop depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder from the experience. 

April Fools' Day is a fun day for silly pranks and goofy jokes, but think twice about who or what you're making light of.

People who take offense to these "jokes" aren't trying to be killjoys or wet blankets. They're handling a complicated, painful experience that's still cloaked in shame and silence for far too many families. 

Celebrate. Have fun and enjoy yourself. But if you're thinking about making a fake pregnancy post, think again. 

It's just not funny. 

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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