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Mini Review: The Pregnancy Project – A Memoir

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Mini Review: The Pregnancy Project – A Memoir

Inspiring and challenging

Review Date: May 31st, 2012

Cover Copy

It started as a school project… but turned into so much more.

Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others’ expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process.

In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy — hiding the truth from even her siblings and her boyfriend’s parents — and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself.

Review

I picked this up when I had some time to kill in the bookstore, interested, but figuring I’d put it back… except that I started reading the first page, and ended up reading the whole first chapter! On Tuesday I finished the book I was reading, and so, on Tuesday night, I inhaled the rest of this book — reading by phone light beneath the covers until 2 am*

That being said, my reaction to this book is that it was fascinating and inspiring and challenging and a really, really cool story.

First Line

For a moment, I understood what it must be like to be a celebrity caught in the middle of a scandal.

Favorite Lines

  • I felt like I had something to prove. Just because I was young didn’t mean I was stupid.
  • People are always going to talk… You can’t live your life afraid of gossip, I have the confidence to know that I can push through anything.
  • It was important that I not influence their reactions by looking depressed of nervous or happy or anything in particular. I wanted their honest reactions, unaffected by what they could read on my face.
  • That turned out to be the hardest part, the sense of guilt over excluding people. The guilt over lying to them and knowing that they were going to find out there were a few people “in on it” all along… just not them.
  • …heard one of the teachers say to a student, “Doesn’t she know she just ruined her life?” It hurt — and I didn’t even know why. I hadn’t ruined my life, but it still didn’t feel nice to hear that someone thought I had. Teen pregnancy is not an easy road to go down, and I think it’s extremely important to discourage it, but I also don’t think anyone has to think of his or her life as ruined at sixteen. Harder, absolutely, but “ruined” makes it sound like there’s nothing good left in it and no purpose in trying to better yourself. No hope.
  • I wondered how many of the grim statistics about teen moms are unavoidable, and how many are the result of the limits other people project on them.
  • Why do we insist on putting limitations on what people are capable of doing?
  • All around us were messages of doom: You’re trapped. You’re stuck. You’re never going to make it together, You’re going to be broke. She’s going to suck you dry. This is your ball and chain. You’re never going to have any fun again. An it suddenly became clearer why so many young men do bail.
  • But once the act is done, why throw teen parents under the bus? Whether a committed couple’s birth control failed or someone got drunk at a party and had a one-night stand, the result is the same: There’s going to be a baby. What good does it do anyone to sit around insulting the parents? What positive result can possibly come of it?
  • When you get pregnant as a teenager, a lot of people give up on you and treat you like garbage, no matter how smart or nice or hard-working you were before,” she wrote. “Nobody wants to ‘encourage teen pregnancy,’ so they feel it’s their duty to make you suffer. It is painful and scarring and it’s why a lot of teen moms drop out.
  • I think the people who say [shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom] glamorize teen pregnancy haven’t actually watched the shows. Those shows aren’t glamorous. They present the downsides of teen pregnancy … They don’t paint a picture of teen pregnancy as something fun that everyone should try. The problem is that the media makes stars out of these girls and their boyfriends.
  • Why do teens like to gossip so much? Why do we get into each other’s business and pick apart the weak spots, instead of talking about each other’s best qualities and achievements? Enough of us have been on the receiving end of malicious gossip to understand how hurtful it is, and yet we do it anyway, without even giving it a second thought.
  • Maybe it’s not easy and maybe it’s not cool to be the one to say, “I’m not ready for this,” or at least, “Let’s stop and use protection.” But being a seventeen-year-old mom is not cool, either. Everyone oohs and ahhs over your baby for five minutes, and then you get left in the dust to deal with your responsibilities while your friends are still out there being kids.
  • There are always going to be some people in life who disappoint you and don’t believe in you like you hoped they would, and you have to find the strength to rise above it and realize that they’re wrong. you’re still a worthy person whether they think so or not. If there’s no one else to tell it to you, then tell it to yourself.
  • I hope we can change this society so that, instead of teens working hard to tear each other down and laughing about it in the school hallways, we can learn to support each other and help each other move forward when there are troubles along the way.

Last Word

  • come

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Reader, Author, Bookstagrammer, and Mom; Alexis runs Nerdy Post, a fandom artwork box as well as serves as chief editor and writer on Drop and Give me Nerdy.

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