On Bristol Palin's Pregnancy Announcement

[Content Note: Reproductive policing.]

Yesterday, Bristol Palin, the oldest daughter of former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose teenage pregnancy was hidden for the first part of Palin's campaign, made an announcement on her blog that she is again pregnant. Under the headline "Big News," this is the entirety of the post:
(I'm announcing this news a lot sooner than I ever expected due to the constant trolls who have nothing better to talk about!!!)

I wanted you guys to be the first to know that I am pregnant.

Honestly, I've been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one.

At the end of the day there's nothing I can't do with God by my side, and I know I am fully capable of handling anything that is put in front of me with dignity and grace.

Life moves on no matter what. So no matter how you feel, you get up, get dressed, show up, and never give up.

When life gets tough, there is no other option but to get tougher.

I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.

But please respect Tripp's and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.

My little family always has, and always will come first.

Tripp, this new baby, and I will all be fine, because God is merciful.
Because Palin is part of a politically active anti-choice family, and because she herself is anti-choice, and because she is Christian and unmarried, and because she is conservative and says shitty antifeminist things, there are a whole lot of people making a whole lot of jokes, and pointing out her hypocrisy, and reveling in the schadenfreude of it all.

I don't have a single joke to make, nor do I feel the tiniest bit of schadenfreude. I just feel really damn sad after reading that pregnancy announcement.

That doesn't mean I don't care that her politics are garbage. Frankly, the fact that she espouses anti-choice and sexually repressive beliefs is part of what makes me so goddamn sad reading this, because she's clearly internalized all the attendant shame around sex and choice inherent to those beliefs—and now she does not feel like she has any meaningful choice but also can't be happy that she's pregnant.

It's just "a huge disappointment" to people who love her and to total strangers who share her beliefs. She's just trying to keep her chin up, because life is tough. She doesn't want sympathy because she is pregnant. There is absolutely no joy in this announcement. It's shame and resignation. That ain't funny.

She couldn't even reveal this information, with which she's struggling and which she know will disappoint people, on her own time frame, because the people who make a pastime out of policing the Palin women's reproduction have forced her to disclose it before they do. That isn't funny, either.

None of this is funny. It's tragic.

The reason I advocate for comprehensive reproductive rights options and reproductive justice is because I don't want pregnant people to feel shame about unwanted pregnancies, and because I want them to have the choice to terminate unwanted pregnancies, without judgment. This is the exact opposite of that.

I don't wish a sad, disappointing pregnancy on Bristol Palin. What I wish is that she felt like she could get an abortion without shame, if being pregnant is not what she wants.

And I wish she could use this experience to understand why other women might want that option, even if she doesn't, and that it's okay.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus