NEW YORK — Bristol Palin says that if girls knew how tough it was to be a mom, they'd think twice about having sex.
The 19-year-old daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she has chosen to practice abstinence herself, until marriage.
Bristol Palin, who once said it was unrealistic to ask young people to abstain from sex, said in an interview with The Associated Press that it's realistic for her personally.
"I know it's realistic to ask myself that, because I know I'm not going to until I'm married," she said.
Palin gave birth to a son, Tripp, in December 2008 and says she "wasn't prepared at all" for the dramatic changes in her life since then.
"I don't think anyone realizes how difficult it really is until you actually have a screaming baby in your arms and you're up all night," said Palin.
"It changes literally every aspect of your life, and if girls realized how hard it was to be a teen mom, they would think twice about having sex without the proper education and proper knowledge."
Birth rates for teen mothers dropped 2 percent in 2008 after an increase from 2005 to 2007 according to a numbers released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Palin hopes to help the decline continue by educating her peers. Last year, she was named an ambassador for The Candie's Foundation, a division of the apparel brand Candie's, which has been raising awareness about teen pregnancy since 2001. She'll appear in a new public service announcement called "Pause Before You Play."
Neil Cole, founder of The Candie's Foundation, says it was a no-brainer to tap Palin to help bring awareness to the problem of teen pregnancy: "Bristol comes from a high-profile family and it's amazing the amount of coverage she has gotten because of this issue."
Video: Bristol Palin: ‘Learn from my example’ Palin also recently taped a cameo on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," about a high school student who unexpectedly got pregnant and is now a young mom.
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In the interview, Palin said she works full-time and takes night classes when she can. Sleeping in and hanging out with friends like other teens? Such downtime is a thing of the past.
She credits her family for helping her get through.
"I'm very blessed to have an extremely supportive family and just a good support system, which other girls out there — most of them — don't have," she said.
Despite the challenges of being a teen mom, Palin hopes to have more kids.
"Eventually," she said. "Long down the road, though."
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