Written by S. Bowyer

 

Pregnancy Project

   

      Today's society overall is more friendly to pregnant teenagers, and many believe we have enough systems in place to support their physical, medical and educational needs, but what about the opinions of the school environment they're in? The Pregnancy Project is a real-life event in Washington that has been remembered in this American straight-to-TV movie, The Pregnancy Project.

     Gaby Rodriguez, 17 at the time, grew up in a family where teenage pregnancy was already a factor, and it was believed that because it was already at their door, Gaby would be the next girl pregnant. She had all the traits that would increase her chances of giving birth before graduating high school. However, Gaby decided she would flip the opinion on its side, and make her society question their predictions. 

Gaby Rodriguez

 

 

     Rodriguez, a senior high school student, decided to give people their version of truth. As part of her social studies curriculum, she had to do an investigation, and she planned to fake a pregnancy and write her paper on how people reacted. Of course, being a social experiment, she had to limit affecting factors, including people knowing the truth and becoming immune to the rumours and societal pull. To avoid dilution of effect, Gaby limited her network of supporters to her boyfriend, best friend, mother, a supervising teacher, and the school board. The people she couldn't tell included her angry brother, other students, other teachers, her community and her friendship group.  

     Gaby's deception was dissolved at the end of her school year, but the effects radiated further. Her journal was published, and newspapers featured her story throughout America, including her conclusion speech, said to inspire many teenagers.

 

 

     The Pregnancy Project, the movie by Lifetime, was a well-depicted journey of the young Hispanic student. We are taken every step of the way through Gaby's difficulties in having a fake belly, keeping track of dates and the milestones of pregnancy, and the conflict and consequences her boyfriend faced also. Pregnancy is never impactual to one person alone, and the movie gave great movement of the characters, and the circles they belonged to. 

     Possibly the most interesting character was the really-pregnant teenager that Gaby is befriended by, when it appeared others had turned their back. Students and teachers were heard making comments about Gaby and her new friend, such as:

     "What a waste."

     "She messed up her life and now she'll never go to college."

     "Now your boyfriend's going to leave you."

     The most indicative feature that expresses how ground-breaking Gaby's experiment became is the Wiki (online encyclopedia) that is devoted to the story exclusively. It includes comments from her family, including her mother. 

     "I had to lie to my sons and my daughters. When we told them she was pregnant, they were like, 'What?'" said Juana Rodriguez, Gaby's mom. 

      "I admire her so much. Her courage, her creativity, her strength. She's gone through so much...alienating some of her friends along the way or being alienated from No baby her friends," Greene said, the school's principal.

      Gaby's project made a great impact throughout the United States, her book -- and now the film -- inspiring teenagers to reconsider their beliefs of teen pregnancy. On the other hand, others stated she was wrong for lying to people for a school project and overlooked the precision she went to in bringing awareness for the stereotypes involved. 

      Gaby, now attends Columbia Basin College and studies psychology.

      The Lifetime movie of the event, The Pregnancy Project, gained mixed reviews from viewers: 

     "The Pregnancy Project is not about teen pregnancy, its a reflection on how we as society see people and how we too often pass judgment"

      "Vega never looks or acts like she's really pregnant – her options are never really explored and she appears too old and mature to be convincing in the role. Not sure where this was supposed to take place, but modern schools are much more accommodating of pregnant students, teachers and staff. One role that does work is Vega's honestly pregnant friend Laci J Mailey (as Tyra), who is the most interesting character in the story."

      "This is not the first time we ever saw this in motion pictures. Didn't Gregory Peck pretend to be Jewish in that fabulous film-Gentleman's Agreement (1947) that would win the Academy Award for best picture. Peck got a first hand taste of what it was like to feel the stigma of anti-Semitism, and similarly our young lady goes through societal reaction to her pregnancy. We see the word spreading rapidly. We hear that it will adversely affect her life. This is also very much a harrowing experience."

      "So, I can pretend to be part of the stereotype in order to experience compassion, but I am so glad I'm not that stereotype. There is absolutely no redemption or recognition of the value of human life, the miracle of pregnancy, which is the position the real pregnant girl attempts to take .. ."

 

     The Pregnancy Project can be viewed on online streaming sites, and the book available at any good book supplier. 

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