In Touch, the magazine known for stories like "Brad Moves Out," "Brad's Moving Out," and "Brad Feels Trapped," changed directions this week: The cover features Sarah and Bristol Palin, holding babies, with the cover line: "We're Glad We Chose Life."
Inside, there's the headline: "Our Babies Brought Us Closer." In Touch conducted an "exclusive interview" at the Palin home in Wasilla, Alaska on January 10. "Sarah and Bristol Plopped down on the teenager's bed and opened up about the joys and challenges of raising Tripp and Trig, who turns 2 in April," the copy reads.
The seven-page story mainly focuses on the two women raising kids, and what it's like for Bristol to be a single, teenage mother.
Now, the mother and daughter are sharing a unique experience — raising baby boys together under the same roof, along with Sarah's husband, Todd, and their other children, Willow, 15, and Piper, 8.
Peppered throughout the article are photographs of Sarah and Bristol playing with the kids, bathing the kids, holding the kids while wearing matching jeans, and celebrating Tripp's first birthday with a tiny cake and moose sausage. We learn that Trig (why not Trigger? With the love of guns and all?), who has Down syndrome, is "doing well" developmentally; he can walk, and the holes in his heart are closing up naturally, so he doesn't need heart surgery. "He's very independent," Sarah Palin says. Still: He won't eat solid food, he doesn't have as many teeth an a 2-year-old normally has and he needs to wear glasses.
The theme of mothering and motherhood is hammered home:
While Sarah is extremely proud of Bristol, she hasn't coddled her or taken over mothering duties. She lets Bristol learn and make mistakes on her own, and it's understood that Bristol will support Tripp financially as much as possible — which means buying her own diapers and formula.
"There's no mistaking that Tripp is her baby, and she is in charge," Sarah explains. "this whole experience has made her grow up so quickly , but she has taken total responsibility and never gripes about it."
Maybe Bristol doesn't gripe, but she does seem aware of her situation:
"Tripp is the love of my life — I couldn't ask for a better baby," she insists. "But the reality is I'm 19 years old and I have a one-year-old. I wish I could be in my 20s with a baby and not be in my 20s. Just having him so young — I have to work, and I have to provide for him, because I'm a single mom."
Later in the article, Bristol talks about her limited social life: "You don't have time for friends when you have a baby."
She does tell In Touch what kind of guy she'd like, when she's "ready" to date: "One with values, one with a good family, a hard worker, and someone who is going to love me and my baby." But Bristol says: "I'm not going to have sex until I'm married. I can guarantee it." (The word "again" seems to have been left out there.)
The I'm-so-glad-I-didn't-have an abortion angle slides in at the very end of the piece:
Having Tripp so young was a mistake, Bristol admits: "I should have waited." but she can't imagine her life without him. "Tripp is awesome," she says. "It's going to be a special relationship, a special bond. I'm glad I chose life."
All in all, the story is actually pretty boring. Revelations like "Being a single mom is exhausting" aren't incredibly gripping to read. Gawking at the pictures — "Photographed for In Touch by Shealah Craighead Photograpy" — is entertaining, but only for about 3 minutes.
The biggest question about this cover story, which goes unanswered by the magazine or the Palins, is: why?
Why grant an "exclusive" interview to the magazine whose most recent cover was Angelina's "Jealous Rage Over Jen"?
According to its media kit, In Touch has a circulation of about 800,000 — 85% of whom are women, at a median age of 30. Will these people, who usually look to the magazine for Brad and Angie "news," be curious enough about the former Vice Presidential candidate to buy the issue? (Wouldn't they much rather see an in depth at-home with the Jolie-Pitts? We would!) On the other hand, the Palins could broaden the magazine's reach: Those who have never picked up the celebrity glossy may find the Palins intriguing, and sales could get a bump that way. As for Sarah Palin, is she reaching out to these women, trying to convince them that she's just like them — a working mom with issues, trying to make the best of it? Maybe. And Bristol's motivation? Well, she already did People, a publication which claims not to pay for stories or interviews. In Touch's reported six-figure deal was probably hard to turn down. That kind of cash buys a lot of diapers.
In Touch Weekly [Official Site]
Earlier: Bristol Palin Says Girls Don't "Get" The Consequences Of Sex