Is It Ever Okay to Fake a Pregnancy? Watch 'The Pregnancy Project' and Tell Us What You Think

January 27, 2012



Ever wondered what people really say about you behind your back? If you've ever seen someone else get picked on or trash-talked right to their face, how did it make you feel? How would it affect your outlook if everyone expected you to fail?

No, this is not about to get into a whole thing about teen bullying. It's about Gaby Rodriguez, an 18-year-old Latina high schooler in Toppenish, Washington, who decided that the best way to make her school community face the prejudices they held against teen moms was to become one herself--or at least pretend to be--and then document everything people said about her. When she revealed her secret at a school assembly, she sparked a national conversation about stereotyping, teen parenthood, and the need for prevention.

Gaby wrote a book about her experiment and, tomorrow night (a.k.a. Saturday, January 28th) at 8/7c, Lifetime premieres "The Pregnancy Project," an original movie based on the book. (Get a sneak peek and more information about the movie on Lifetime's website). As the daughter of a teen mother, Gaby saw first-hand how teen parenthood can alter an entire family.

As an honor student with a bright future, Gaby's plan was to defy the odds: 52% of Latinas get pregnant as teens, and 3 in 10 girls overall get pregnant as teens. She was determined to finish high school and start a family after getting married and starting a career. But as she saw classmates turn into expectant mothers, she realized how quickly plans can get derailed and how important it was for her peers to understand that teen pregnancy can--and does--happen to just about anyone, not just "those girls."

With help from her mom, her boyfriend, the school principal and a close friend, Gaby spent six months lying about being pregnant and finding out what people really thought about her and about teen parents in general. By detailing the disappointment, knowing eye-rolls, and outright nasty comments from other students and even from teachers, Gaby showed her peers that even "good girls" can get pregnant and that teen moms deserve better than pity and derision.

Watch the "Pregnancy Project" with your teens. Use this discussion guide to explore the themes in the movie and how they relate to your own family. Hear what real teens have to say. Did Gaby's experiment cross a line? Or was it worthwhile? Tell us what you think.

Authored by: Marisa Nightingale

As The National Campaign’s Senior Media Advisor, Marisa Nightingale leads key partnerships with entertainment media executives to help harness the power of popular media to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy. She and her colleagues provide expertise, information, and hands-on help to media decision-makers whose content is most popular with teens, young adults, and their parents.

Marisa joined the Campaign in 1996, shortly after its founding, and is the architect of its nationally-recognized Entertainment Media program. She served as the program’s Senior Director for 12 years and continues to advise on strategy and cultivate message integration partnerships with outlets including NBC, FOX, ABC, The CW, Hulu, Marie Claire, Family Circle, Essence, Latina and more, with a special emphasis on reaching Latino audiences. Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaigns developed under her direction have won multiple awards and garnered millions of dollars in free placements. She played a leadership role in the conception, development and launch of "Thanks, Birth Control," a social media effort that engages individuals and organizations in a positive public conversation about all that birth control makes possible.

Prior to joining The National Campaign, Marisa was the Communications Director at Share Our Strength (SOS), a leading national voice in the fight against hunger. At SOS, she worked with journalists, chefs, corporate partners, and community organizations to address the causes and consequences of hunger and poverty. Marisa is a guest lecturer at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and is a seasoned speaker on the role of media in preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy and promoting social change. She has served as a Campaign spokesperson on The Today Show, The View, The Ricki Lake Show, NPR, USA Today, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Marisa graduated with honors from Yale University and lives in Washington, DC with her husband, two children and a lively mutt.

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