As many of you start a new school year, senior themes and projects are looming in the months to come. When I was in high school, many eons ago, the topic of most interest was a new disease called Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. Social issues, health and environmental issues always make great theme project topics. But, 17 year old Gaby Rodriguez decided not to go the traditional route. Her senior project shocked students, teachers and the administration of Toppenish High School in the tiny town of Yakima, Washington. Gaby, herself a product of an unwed mother, decided to fake her pregnancy in high school. Yakima has a high rate of teenaged unwed pregnancies. Her sisters and her mother and many folks in the town have lived that harsh reality of becoming mothers before they were emotionally, financially and mentally ready for the demands of parenthood. Gaby wanted to personalize and call attention to the stereotypes, criticisms and just the sheer magnitude of your life turning upside down that teen mothers experience. Why? “It’s worth it if one person thinks twice and takes responsibility for her body and doesn’t wind up pregnant because of it (the project). It’s worth it if one person realizes he doesn’t have to believe the stereotypes that other people have about him and that he can exceed everyone’s expectations. “ p.142.
Her story is one that took enormous courage and fortitude. It received national attention and Lifetime made a television movie from her project and its findings.
The Pregnancy project: a memoir by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer inspires hope that you can overcome generational and societal stigmas and not end up a statistic.
Review by Andrea, CLP-Hill District