Teen pregnancy has really come to the forefront, especially with Bristol Palin. Did you realize that this subject was going to get as much as attention as it has?
No, I really didn’t. Teen pregnancy has always been an issue, but I didn’t expect it to get to the extent it is now.
How do you feel about the fight between Bristol and her ex-boyfriend over whether abstinence-only education actually works?
I don’t think that abstinence-only education is the right answer. Down in Texas, all they teach is abstinence, and I think they’re like the third highest state in the country for teen pregnancy. I think they should be teaching them both abstinence and safe sex.
In Colorado, what kind of sex ed did you get?
It’s required for every student to have health class and they always have portions focused on sex ed.
Did they talk about condoms and birth control?
Yes, they talked about condoms, birth control and said, of course, the best birth control is abstinence. That’s pretty much what I’ve been hearing since fifth grade.
Did it affect the way you did things?
We always used protection. I just wasn’t on birth control at the time – I actually had an appointment to go get on birth control a week after I got pregnant.
How do you feel now looking back?
I don’t have any regrets. I know that things happen for a reason. I think I’ve handled it really well, and I think I took more [childcare and birth] classes than anybody should! I took so many classes, and I was so ready for whatever happened. I go to Planned Parenthood, I take life skills classes, they prepare you. They actually gave us our crib.
When you went on 16 and Pregnant, were you expecting to be a role model?
I’m not really a role model. My view was, I wanted to teach teens that they can do it if they do find out that they’re pregnant. It’s not the end of the world if you become pregnant . . . but it’s really hard. I want them to see that it’s really hard. It’s not something you need to go through right now.
What is your advice to other teens who haven’t gotten pregnant?
I would tell them to wait and to use protection every time they have sex, use extra protection – don’t just put it off on the guy, and don’t just leave it on the girl to take care of birth control. You have to both be responsible.
What about parents, is there anything you’d say to them?
It would really be good if parents gave their kids support. It’s the best thing – to have the support of your parents. I know it’s a mistake when a teen gets pregnant, but you can’t keep putting it off like it never happened. I know that it’s not a good thing, but they are still your child.
If you could tell people one thing about what your life has been like since you became pregnant, what would you say?
I had to give up a lot. Josh and I both had to give up a lot. But if one door closes, another door opens. I had plans to go into the Air Force. I can no longer do that because we have a dependent. Josh would have rather been a music manager, and now he just has to go into the Air Force so we can have a little safety net. I am now going to college instead of going into the Air Force – but I’m still going to become a nurse.