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Bristol Palin Is Knocked Up, But We Shouldn't Knock Her Down

Yesterday, June 25, Bristol Palin made a big announcement on her personal blog. So big was this announcement that she even titled it "Big News." It turns out, the vocal abstinence-only advocate is pregnant outside of wedlock.

Again.

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I suppose this should be where I admit I am not a huge Palin fan. Living in Alaska, I've just grown weary of their antics, both up here and on the national level, over the years. Most of my distaste is reserved for Sarah, but Bristol has definitely said and done some things that have made me roll my eyes. In particular, I don't understand why anyone would ever strive to promote an abstinence-only agenda when we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that abstinence-only education is a huge disservice for our kids—but that's another subject for another time.

Because, believe it or not, I'm not here to rail against Bristol Palin. In fact, reading her announcement yesterday, I felt nothing but sadness and compassion for her.

She still feels that same shame she felt seven years ago. She's still announcing a pregnancy as though it is something she believes she has to apologize for.

It's clear she is embarrassed and ashamed to be making this announcement now. With lines like, "Honestly, I've been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one," and "I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends and to many of you," it's hard not to feel sad for her.

In truth, my heart has hurt for her on this subject since her first pregnancy, when she was just 17 years old—thrust into the spotlight, through no choice of her own, while in the middle of dealing with something scary and embarrassing for any teenager to go through.

She wasn't one of those teen moms who voluntarily signed up to appear on some MTV show about her life, intentionally profiting off of her circumstances. No, she was merely a victim of her mom's ill-timed rise to political fame, and she was the butt of a joke about hypocrisy and conservative values from the very start.

How could you not have felt sorry for her?

But now? She is a 24-year-old woman who appears to be a pretty involved and committed mother, and who also appears to have the means to take care of another child. And yet, she still feels that same shame she felt seven years ago. She's still announcing a pregnancy as though it is something she believes she has to apologize for.

Look, don't get me wrong—Bristol is an adult now. And all that talk she's done over the years about abstinence-only and waiting until marriage has clearly been a hypocritical façade. It is easy to hop all over a person in the public eye when their hypocrisy comes to light, because none of us likes to feel looked down upon by people who are making all the same decisions we are in their private lives.

But in this case, even the hypocrisy isn't worth blasting her for. She's a young woman, pregnant with a child who deserves to come into a world where he or she isn't already the butt of some political joke.

And she deserves to feel peace and love during this pregnancy—just like all women do.

As an infertile woman myself, and someone who knows a lot of other women still struggling to conceive, does my heart hurt a little to hear about an unplanned (and clearly unwanted) pregnancy? Of course it does, but that is just one of the great injustices of the world. It isn't Bristol's fault, and my hope is that with time, she will come around to being happy about this pregnancy.

Happy about the ways in which this baby will change her life for the good.

If she were a woman who was being encouraged to own her choices, and who hadn't been trotted out as a teen shortly after giving birth to spread the message of abstinence in order to further her mother's political agenda, I have a feeling this announcement wouldn't carry nearly as much shame for her. Because most people just don't find anything all that shocking about a grown adult getting pregnant, regardless of whether or not she is married.

Still, I don't blame her for being sad and embarrassed. She called a wedding off just a month ago, the same week she was supposed to be saying "I Do" and just two months after becoming engaged. With that relatively quick timeline, there are several scenarios to consider. She may have known she was pregnant all along, prompting the fast engagement. Or it's possible she cheated on her fiancé, and that is why the wedding itself was called off (she never mentions who the father of this baby is). It's also possible that in the wake of her breakup, she rebounded without protection. Or that she didn't realize she was pregnant until the engagement was called off.

I don't care how she got pregnant, or who the father is, or what her agenda has been up to now; I just feel sad for a young mother who is clearly struggling so much with news that should be celebrated, not mourned.

There are so many possible scenarios, none of them particularly in line with the conservative Christian values she regularly speaks about—which, let's be real, is the only reason anybody would even bat an eye at this news. So it makes sense that this would be a hard announcement for her to make. And as she predicted, a lot of people have already come out of the woodworks to publicly take her to task for this pregnancy.

But I'm not one of them. I don't care how she got pregnant, or who the father is, or what her agenda has been up to now; I just feel sad for a young mother who is clearly struggling so much with news that should be celebrated, not mourned—a mother who may not be receiving the love and support of her family and friends in a time when she likely needs it most.

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So, go easy on Bristol. Remember that she is still young, and that no matter how you feel about her politics, she doesn't need to be blasted for this. For my part, I'm wishing her nothing but love and light … and hopefully a little peace and acceptance as this new reality settles in for both her and her family.

A baby is a blessing. If she decides it's just too much to take on one more mouth to feed—well, I know a lot of women who would love to adopt.

But I have a feeling Bristol's got this. Even if she isn't exactly excited about it just yet.

I just hope the rest of the world can cut her a little slack here. If not for her, then for that unborn baby that deserves to be rejoiced; not mocked and shamed.

Image via Instagram

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