Girl Who Faked Pregnancy Is a Role Model for All Teenagers

pregnant silhouetteAs parents, we all have certain traits we'd rather not pass on to our kids. We've all made mistakes we'd rather not see our children repeat. But despite our best efforts, all too often we end up watching our kids follow in our footsteps -- or missteps, as the case may be. So it's pretty inspiring when a kid like Gaby Rodriguez comes along.

Rodriguez made a huge stir at her Washington State high school last year when she wore a fake baby bump as part of a self-designed experiment to find out what it's really like to be a pregnant teen. At the time it seemed like a brave, gritty way to take on the 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom stereotype. But as it turns out, Rodriguez has generations-deep roots in the topic.

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In her new book The Pregnancy Project, Rodriguez talks about her own family's legacy of teen pregnancies: Her mother Juana got pregnant at the age of 14, married her 16-year-old boyfriend, then went on to have six more children with him. Three of the couple's daughters also got pregnant as teens, and two sons got their teenage girlfriends pregnant.

Rodriguez was born later, to a different dad, but her family's collective experience obviously left a lasting impression. Especially because she grew up being told she'd end up "just like her sisters."

Except ... she didn't. Which is incredible. Rodriguez didn't just break a dysfunctional family cycle, she went out of her way to make people outside of her family circle pay attention to and understand the issue. 

Whether it was the accumulated wisdom that comes with observing the actions of older siblings or a desire to prove everybody wrong or a combination of both, Rodriguez somehow found the strength and independence to follow a path all her own. I can only hope that my own kids are capable of doing the same when it comes to the mistakes I made.

Do you think Gaby Rodriguez is a role model for teenagers?

 

Image via Aurimas Mikalauskas/Flickr

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