Gaby Rodriguez, 17, shocked her friends, teachers and family when she said she was pregnant. She surprised them even more when she revealed this week that for six months, she had faked the pregnancy.
“Everybody was just shocked, like speechless,” Rodriguez said.
Gaby decided to make her senior year project at Toppenish High School in Washington a social experiment where she pretended to be pregnant.
The straight-A student got the approval of her principal, her mother, her boyfriend and best friend. They were the handful of people in on the secret. Six of Gaby’s seven siblings didn’t know and neither did her boyfriend’s parents.
“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.
Gaby began the elaborate hoax following Homecoming last October. She convinced school principal Trevor Greene to let her pursue the project, which she’s titled “Stereotypes, Rumors and Statistics.”
“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 her friends,” Greene said.
Gaby started with baggy clothes and eventually fashioned a fake belly out of wire mesh and cotton quilt batting. The aspiring social worker started taking notes on everything that was said about her.
“A lot of rumors were just that I was irresponsible. No college…it was bound to happen. I knew she would get pregnant. Doesn’t she know she just ruined her life,” she said.
The struggles of being a teenager with a baby are well documented and they have gotten a lot of attention lately because of the controversial MTV shows “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant.”