Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bearing has a thoughtful post on the announcement of Bristol Palin's pregnancy:
This whole statement, especially the phrase, " that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned" is an almost breathtakingly perfect tone with which to discuss the realities of a teenage girl's pregnancy.
Complete absence of moralizing and judging? Check.

Complete absence of the suggestion that a baby is a burden, a catastrophe, a punishment? Check.

Reality: A baby "makes you grow up." (Growing up is good. It was going to happen anyway; now it will happen "faster.") Check.

Truth: A twinge that says, "We wanted something else for you?" (And not something radically different; what was wanted was the same, only not so fast.) Check.

And yet: Confidence that the daughter is a strong person who, with her family's help, can and will rise to the challenges and responsibilities that now lie before her? Check.
When this news first broke, I was concerned -- not about the pregnancy itself, but about the timing of the disclosure. (Since apparently Sarah Palin's family didn't realize until the day of the announcement that she was the VP pick, I imagined the horrified teenager coming to her mother after the huge press conference: "Uh, mom, there's something I hadn't told you yet...") However, not only did her parents and John McCain know about the pregnancy before the VP choice was made, but so did most of her hometown, as Time Magazine reported on Monday:
So his name is Levi.

That's about the only thing that I didn't know about Bristol Palin's pregnancy. The rest of the details I picked up almost without trying, while talking about other things with townsfolk — some who know the governor and her family well, some who don't. It was, more or less, an open secret. And everyone was saying the same thing: the governor's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, the father is her boyfriend, and it's really nobody's business beyond that.
Everyone makes bad choices sometime in their life. Some are almost consequence-free; some remain with us until death. Rare indeed is the American who does not know someone who became pregnant or who was conceived outside of wedlock. (As a small child, I could calculate on my fingers that my December birthday was only seven months after my parents' May wedding date.) I doubt that Miss Palin and her boyfriend thought that their choice of a heady bit fleeting pleasure would land them under intense national scrutiny five months later. Most of us are fortunate that the consequences of our thoughtless actions are confined to a much smaller (if not always less momentous) sphere.


Literacy-chic said...

I really like that take. Now, I had assumed that Palin had discussed with her daughter the implications of her mother's appointment with respect to the pregnancy. But I guess not... Not sure if that changes anything for me. It is already clear that Palin has her family's support for her entire political career. I have had too many thoughts to post, so I'm glad you included your thoughts and Bearing's. I think it sends a good, strong message about taking responsibilities for one's actions, and Palin and her daughter both send a very strong message about what is possible for a pregnant woman and a mother. You can't get a stronger pro-life witness to combat the messages we usually hear--all of the voices telling women what things are made difficult or impossible because of pregnancy, or how the birth of the child itself is an impossibility for one reason or another.

CMinor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What really annoys me is that Levi is constantly referred to by the ordinary ministers of the media as "the boyfriend" instead of "the fiance".

CMinor said...

My guess is the only difference between Bristol Palin and quite a few political daughters is her parents didn't cart her off to the abortion clinic to save face.

What seems to be overlooked by many of the talking heads is that in a lot of the country, it's still not unusual for girls this age or only slightly older to be marrying, starting families, starting jobs--I doubt the girl is as helpless as is being made out.