With a new survey released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any developed country in the world, it might come as no surprise that a story of another teenage pregnancy is making it’s way onto bookshelves and your television screen.
Although, this teenage pregnancy story is unlike any of the others.
Last year, high school senior, Gaby Rodriquez, faked her pregnancy as a project to take a deeper look into the stereotypes of teen pregnancy. For nine months Rodriguez adorned a fake baby bump as classmates, friends, and other teachers believed she was really pregnant (only her mom, boyfriend, and principal were in on the secret.) It wasn’t until April 2011 that she revealed to her entire school in an assembly that it was all fake, and she was doing it all for a project.
Her nine month journey is chronicled in a book titled, The Pregnancy Project. In the book she reveals for the first time that her mom being a teenage mother was the reason she decided to do the project. At just 14 years old, her mother became pregnant and the trend seemed to continue in her family.
“I wanted to do something that would impact my school and my community, and decided to start with something small, to bring an awareness of teen pregnancy,” says Rodriguez told Publisher’s Weekly. “Teen pregnancy is a big problem, and not only in my community. At a time in their lives when teens are becoming sexually active, they need to realize how the decisions they make now will ultimately affect their lives. And those teens who do become pregnant need to know that it’s not the end of the road. They can find support for themselves and their child, and can move forward.”
Rodriguez felt that with many of her family members becoming teenage moms, others figured she would just be another statistic.
“Being a Hispanic girl from a family full of teen pregnancies meant that my odds of also becoming a teen mom were way higher than average,” she told the Associated Press. “If I gave people what they predicted, how would they react?”
While what Rodriguez did can seem a bit controversial, I commend her for her actions. It takes extreme courage for a teenager to take on a subject that can bring scrutiny and negativity from peers. Maybe an extreme action taken by a teen is what it will take for other teens to realize that there are consequences for being sexually active at such a young age.
If they hear what it’s like from someone their age, rather than from their parents or teachers, they might be more likely to listen. Especially during a time that our country seems to be struggling with this the most.
As a former teacher who has seen first hand the effects of pregnancy on a teenage girl’s life, I can’t wait to read her book. I’m hoping it will give me insight on how we, as parents, can better relate to our children when it comes to talking sex (even though that’s a long way off for me.)
Rodriguez’s story is being televised on Lifetime on January 28th and her book is on sale now.
Will you tune in to her movie or read the book?