I feel you.
I was the good girl who graduated high school a virgin. I vowed to get married, have children and stand by my husband’s side through thick and thin. I laid blame on those with children out of wedlock, those who got divorced and ruined their children’s lives. I judged them harshly and viewed myself as a superior person. I was better than them. I wasn’t going to fuck this up.
Then I got divorced.
I remember the first day I walked back into my home church as a divorced woman. The weight that held me down, the stares from other members, the judgement I felt seep over me. It was practically unbearable. But I persisted. I did it anyway. I walked my pretty little ass into that church each week because I could.
Then there was the speech at my brother’s wedding. It wasn’t meant to do me any harm at all, but the words “You must stand by each other through everything” sent me into a whirlwind breakdown that no one could have stopped. I left my own brother’s wedding and collapsed in the parking lot. When I pulled it together, I went in and washed my face, then marched myself right to the bar and kept going.
Because life doesn’t stop.
When I finally seemed to have proven myself, was the day I found out I was pregnant out of wedlock. I called my mother. Her words were: “I’m sorry”. She apologized that I was going to have another child. I’d once again fucked up. “Destroyed” my life. Here I was…. Single, alone, with just enough to make due and now I was stuck with another baby who’s life I would ruin.
And when I walked back into that church, do you know what I found? Love. I found the open arms of many, many people. This wasn’t just my baby anymore. This was their baby. This baby defied odds created by man that should have kept her from ever being conceived, and yet here she was.
Because here’s the truth: Those who judge us, really don’t mean it.
They do not know how much work we put into our lives, our children, and to proving that we are enough. They only know, they would not have our strength. They would not have our determination. They would not have our drive to keep going, to keep on, to let go and let God do what he does.
They are afraid. And they’re judging you for their own faults.
I spent a long time feeling like a disappointment. I’d let a ton of people down. I was the dirty black sheep in a flock of pristine white fluffy ones. However, my life has been worth it 1000%. And if I had the chance to do it again, I’d jump on that crazy train.
My best advice for you, Bristol, let them judge. Let them be disappointed in you. Let them talk behind your back, and let them call you names, try to make you feel guilty. Let them do as they please. Take your anger, your hurt and your pain, and use it to prove them wrong.
You are strong enough. You are brave enough. You are fierce enough. You were chosen as this child’s mother. And you will always be enough. God chose you. He chose you because you are what this child needs. Let them hate. Let them judge. Forgive them and be your best self.
Bristol, remember God loves you.
P.S. To all my own haters, I’m sorry you feel that way, but God still loves you.
[Editor’s Note: Bristol Palin’s pregnancy announcement was published on patheos.com on June 25th, 2015]