“I’m Preggers — Sike!”: The Great Pregnancy Ruse

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Rodriguez shows off her fake baby bump.

For six months, high school student Gaby Rodriguez walked the halls, withstanding the stares and judgment of her peers as her belly grew with child. Or so it seemed.

As part of a social experiment about stereotypes, Gaby, a cute 17-year-old student in Yakima, Wash., pretended she was pregnant. She wore a belly pad, starting donning baggy clothes and let people feel her “baby” while learning first-hand how young girls who have one in the oven are treated. A few people, such as her mother, boyfriend and the school principal, were in on the secret. But everyone else, including her boyfriend’s parents, thought her condition was legit. (Here’s hoping the boyfriend got really into it and serenaded her with “(You’re) Having My Baby” at the dinner table with his parents, a la Glee.)

(More on TIME.com: Is teen pregnancy the media’s fault?)

That is, everyone thought it was legit until the great reveal at a school assembly, when, to the gasping of her peers, Gaby told them that she hadn’t been carrying a baby around after all — but a basketball. (Suckers!) For her part, Gaby told the AP she had decided not to have kids until after college due to the experiment. “I learned that the environment that you surround yourself in takes a major toll on, you know, your decisions in life,” she says.

NewsFeed just hopes Gaby, certainly a brave young woman, realizes that when/if she really gets pregnant later in life, she’s going to have to withstand a lot of annoying comments about whether she’s just trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes again. (Elbow, elbow.)

(More on TIME.com: See how one high school dealt with an influx of teen pregnancies)

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