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Devils' Advocate

The news site of Hinsdale Central High School

Devils' Advocate

The news site of Hinsdale Central High School

Devils' Advocate

Childcare and Development students try out empathy bellies


Knowing laughs, double takes and even a few dirty looks greet junior Lily Stoffer as she waddles toward her eighth period class, her enlarged belly accentuated by a “pregnant and fabulous” sweatshirt. Stoffer, however, is not pregnant. She is wearing an empathy belly for her Childcare and Development class.

“It’s called a birth options assignment. The students get three choices. They can either wear the belly for the day during school, or they can take the baby home for the night, or they can write a paper on different birth options and newborn care,” said Ms. Lisa Sopiarz, Childcare and Development teacher.

The majority of the students choose to use the empathy belly, according to Sopiarz, because they don’t want the baby to keep them up at night.

“I didn’t want to have to take the crying baby home,” said Stoffer.

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Many Childcare and Development students find the empathy belly fun at first. For example, Stoffer made a t-shirt with “pregnant and fabulous” to wear for the day. However, by the end of they day, they are often exhausted.

“In the beginning I thought it was fun, but by the end of the day I was really done ‘being pregnant’,” Stoffer said.

“The first part of the day was easy and just funny but then towards ninth period it got really uncomfortable and I wanted it off as soon as possible,” said Cassie Floersch, senior.

The main complaints about the belly are its 25 pound weight and its bladder balls that make the students feel like they have to go to the bathroom.

“I learned that carrying the extra weight of a baby is not enjoyable and can hurt your back, and that being pregnant really does make you go to the bathroom all the time. Also, I wasn’t able to fit in the normal desks and had to wear extra large t-shirt,” Stoffer said.

To compensate for the inconveniences, students are allowed to take the elevator for the day, and, depending on their teacher, may not have to participate in gym. Nevertheless, the day takes a toll on the students.

“By the end of the day it was very hard to focus because I was so tired and somewhat cranky, so I didn’t really participate,” Stoffer said.

As for the looks Stoffer got in the hallway, she, and other students wearing the belly, took them in stride.

“Lots of people who knew me thought it was funny, but younger students that didn’t know me definitely took double takes, and I got a few dirty looks,” Stoffer said.

“People would look at my face in the hallway and then look down and say ‘Woah!’ I just thought it was funny,” Floersch said.

The one fault to the belly experiment is that pregnant women aren’t suddenly trusted with such a large belly.

“The one thing that is different that is a disadvantage is that you don’t go from being not pregnant to nine months pregnant overnight. Your body gradually gets used to your growing body,” Sopiarz said.

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