Bristol Palin gives birth to a son
On Sunday, the Palin and Johnston families welcomed baby Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston. Bristol Palin, 18, is the oldest daughter of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the former running mate of Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The baby was born in Palmer, Alaska, and weighed 7 lb., 4 oz. Both mother and son are healthy and recovering well.
Bristol has not yet completed high school but is working on her diploma through correspondence courses. Her boyfriend, Levi Johnston, recently left school and is apprenticing to become an electrician. According to an interview in October with Levi, and recent reports from his mother, the young parents plan to wed this coming year and raise Tripp together.
Baby Tripp’s birth was at first confirmed by Bristol’s grandaunt, Colleen Jones, and was soon reported by People magazine. The families are all very excited about the new arrival, though the governor’s office considers the birth a private family matter and will not release information.
Bristol Palin’s pregnancy made headlines in a year full of news for many reasons, not the least of which was her age. In an era when it is sometimes easier to speak your convictions than it is to practice them, Sarah Palin reaffirmed her opposition to abortion in two ways when she not only knowingly bore a child with Down’s Syndrome (a decision lauded by some and criticized by others), but also gave her unconditional support to her unwed, pregnant teenage daughter.
At the time of the announcement, the governor and then-vice presidential candidate did not disclose the identity of the baby’s father. But his mother, Sherry L. Johnston, told the press it was her son that fathered the child. (Ms. Johnston recently made news of her own when she was arrested on drug charges related to prescription painkiller, OxyContin.)
I write this article hesitantly, knowing that Tripp’s birth is news, yet wondering why. It has been a tiring and emotional year for the Palin family, I’m sure. Few of us have to live under the scrutinizing eye of the American people. Of course, anyone who willingly enters public service knows this will happen. Still, it can’t be easy to have all of your decisions be a matter of dinner conversation. Conservatives wondered if a woman whose daughter was pregnant could be as conservative as she claimed. Liberals worried that if she became vice-president she would restrict American access to abortion. No matter how you feel about her politics or personality, I don’t see how anyone can disagree that Sarah Palin kept her composure well under tremendous pressures at work, unexpected difficulties at home, and unrelenting attacks and mockery from her critics. I’m glad that her first grandchild was born after the circus we called an election is over. Considering the silence echoing from her office, I hope that means she is taking the opportunity to just sit and enjoy her family. At a time of year when we all try to remember to be at peace and forget our differences, perhaps you can take a moment to wish her well and say a prayer for Bristol, Sarah, and all of the family.