Talk about going above and beyond for a school project: Maria Miranda, a senior at Forest Grove High School in Oregon, faked her teen pregnancy for six months before revealing to her peers that the whole thing was a social experiment.
"I'm not really pregnant," Maria said at the conclusion of her senior project, "but I want to apologize to those of you who thought I was."
Maria set up her risky experiment to gauge the reactions from her teachers and peers over the 6-month period as she used a pillow case and then a cotton-stuffed car seat as a baby bump and posted fake sonograms on her Facebook wall. Ultimately, she wanted to use the experiment as a platform to teach others about stereotyping.
"My project taught me so much about judgement, about judging others and being judged myself," Miranda said in a later interview. "It completely changed my school year."
The high school senior is an aspiring ultrasound technician, so she used her connections at a local hospital to get a fake note claiming she had a positive pregnancy test, posting it to Facebook and tagging a few friends to complete the first step in her project.
Maria’s ongoing Facebook posts about morning sickness and cravings were well received with comments expressing congratulations and messages of support from her classmates, but each morning at school, she was greeted with stares and whispers.
Maria disclosed the truth of her project to her parents, who encouraged the project, her four closest friends, and four of her teachers, who were asked to make notes of others’ reactions for the sake of her project. The news of those reactions were shocking. Some had said she was stupid or irresponsible, while others said they weren’t surprised.
Maria even received a few callous remarks to her face. “I always knew you’d get pregnant,” one classmate said. “Oh great, a child having a child,” remarked a teacher.
Maria became affected by the mean remarks made about her fake pregnancy, and she says she began to walk slower in the halls, not try to rush for the bus, and not care about being on time for class.
When the time came to finally reveal her project, Maria says a weight was lifted, and her peers immediately felt badly for judging her. "I respect her for what she did," said freshman Viviana Bruno. "It's crazy to think how many friends you can lose."
This was such an emotional undertaking for Maria, who felt the full weight of being shunned by her peers and even coming dangerously close to losing some of her friends. We respect her for taking on such an emotional social project.
Maria isn't the first teen to have faked a pregnancy as a social experiment: In 2011, a then-17-year-old Washington State girl named Gaby Rodriguez conducted a similar experiment for 6 months. A Lifetime TV movie called The Pregnancy Project was made out of her story.
We want to know what you think of these pregnancy projects. Sound off below!
Source: The Oregonian
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