faking pregnancyWhen I was a senior in high school we made some lame attempts at senior pranks. One of which was stealing all the clocks in the classrooms. I felt really cool because I was able to procure what was seen by many as the forbidden clock, the one in the teacher’s lounge. But this high school senior in Oregon is way cooler and braver than I ever was.

Maria Miranda of Forest Grove High School took it upon herself to create her own social experiment for her senior project on stereotyping when she faked a pregnancy. She wanted to see what kind of reactions she would receive from her peers (much like Gaby Rodriguez who later wrote a book about her faux teen pregnancy project).

Miranda kept up the charade for six months before revealing to the entire school that she had made the whole thing up. She worked a fake belly and posted sonogram pictures and a fake doctor’s note on Facebook to get the rumor mill up and running.  She didn’t keep the secret entirely to herself: she told four close friends and a few of her teachers who were asked to keep track of what people were saying about her. The reactions they got were mixed but underscored a lot about the stigma of teenage motherhood:

Some classmates wrote “Congrats!” or offered help or support. But, to her surprise, few of her classmates would ever follow up in person. Many of her classmates whom she considered friends would sometimes avoid eye contact with her. And each day, she’d arrive to school greeted by stares.

One day, she stepped into a teacher’s classroom after school. “Oh great,” her teacher said, looking at her from his desk. “A child having a child.”

Miranda said her inner circle helped her to keep going even when it was becoming more and more difficult. She is happy she stuck it out because she learned a lot in the process and hopes her classmates did too:

“We all makes mistakes,” Miranda said. “Not only teen moms.” Sometimes, she added, there’s also the mistakes of those who judge them.”

Next year’s seniors are going to have a difficult time trying to top this stellar senior project.

(photo: Sam72 / Shutterstock)