I was not going to write about this but I am anyway. Our governor's 17 year old daughter is pregnant.
On one hand I am happy for the Guv. I am looking forward to grand parenthood but I am happy for the sake of my children who are of child bearing years that I won't be blessed soon. With what the Alaskan court system put my daughters through in a custody battle, they told me that they would have an abortion if they thought they might have to deal with that. Yes, there were times that they wished they'd not been born with what my ex & his lawyer pulled on them.
I think back on my own life and I was pregnant and married at 18 and divorced with 2 kids by the time I was 21. My ex and I were both American Evangelicals (not a denomination-- just a term that I am using for the movement of people who belong to Protestant churches, much less demeaning than Fundies or, "Christian Fundamentalists.") I was on the Sponge which has an 89% effectiveness rate-- too low for a college-bound girl, I think.
The Gov likes abstinence education. Abstinence education is a crock of nonsense; it teaches girls to ride bareback because their hormones are going crazy but they don't want to get birth control because they are good girls. I have a good friend in Israel and she is an Orthodox Jew. They don't need to worry-- starting from an early age, girls and boys are not left alone together. She was raised in Wisconsin and went over there and liked that. She wasn't alone with her husband until after they got married. I like that! Do I think it should be mandated? I think it should be taught; abstinence education doesn't work unless you don't have sex! You have family and participants who are committed to practicing it which means that temptation and opportunity are not issues.
I have no doubt that Bristol will succeed in life. Having a baby this early, she will probably be like a lot of teenagers, myself included, who literally give birth and can bounce in and take a test the next day without hardly studying. Her figure will come back fast and everyone will think she's an au pair. She will graduate from high school, go to college and hopefully like her husband and their love will mature and they will have a long marriage like her mom has with her dad. I hope that the two of them, Levi and Bristol, bring out each others' strengths. Will he be intoxicated with his mother-in-law's job and the fame and pressure that goes with it?
Am I successful? My mom says I am. The woman who was running a company at my age says that my teen pregnancy was fuel for some of my work, and she says that my 9 children are well behaved and fun to be with. My teen pregnancy shaped me-- I didn't become the commercial artist or Christian counselor that I'd hoped to be, living in a condo in San Diego with a yellow Miata and not having sex until I married at 36 ;) , but it didn't define me. I am nothing compared to what she was at my age, but she says that she comes to Alaska to meet her grand kids, not run around and revisit places where she struck business deals.
I think that Bristol being pregnant at 17 hurts her mother's push for abstinence education. It just doesn't work once the hormones hit and you have to be able to monitor them all the time if you honest to God expect it to work until they are 18. One of my kids accused me of just not trusting her. I cackled, "Damn right I don't! You are my daughter!" Later she told me that when they did get some time alone that he was an octopus and she told him that she was glad that he wasn't afraid of having unprotected sex with the daughter of a woman who had conceived her ninth child while on birth control. I trusted my daughter after that, but not the boyfriends, although it did have a good effect on him that things cooled off right away!