EXCLUSIVE: Bristol Palin Says Telling Mom She Was Pregnant Was 'Harder Than Labor,' Gives Sex Education Advice

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At just 17 years old, a pregnant Bristol Palin was thrust into the public spotlight when her mom, then Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, ran alongside John McCain in the 2008 Presidential election.

“I just kept my head held high, I didn’t listen to the TV or read the blogs or anything like that,” she told Pop Tarts, regarding the period of intense public scrutiny. “I just leaned on my friends and family for support.”

But breaking the news to her parents was painful for the soon-to-be teen mom.

“It was extremely difficult; I’ll always compare it to labor. I thought it was harder than labor,” she said. “I was just thinking they’d be disappointed, then realizing I’d have to grow up so fast. It was all extremely difficult. Going from a teen to an adult so quickly has been the most challenging part of motherhood.”

While refraining from sex altogether was obviously not the mode of contraception she opted for in her relationship with high school sweetheart Levi Johnston, Palin does believe it is a do-able, modern day approach to pregnancy prevention.

“Abstinence is practical and very realistic for some people, but others don’t choose that path. For me, sex education was in school, and there are always people telling you that there are consequences to sex and blah blah, but you don’t really realize it until you’re in a situation where you are pregnant,” said Palin, who recently became a Teen Abstinence Ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation fighting teen pregnancy.

The now 19-year-old mom of son Tripp also offered some words of wisdom to other young women who get pregnant on accident.

“Look to your family – get advice from them, and get advice from people who you care about,” Palin advised. “It’s possible to raise a baby, and continue on with your education and work full-time.”

Palin's current job is acting on the ABC Family drama,“The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” She plays herself in an episode airing next Monday as one of the main character's friends at a music program for teen mothers in New York.

“I just think the more there are shows like this and the more there is dialogue between parents and kids about the consequences of sex, the better," she said.

And even though she enjoyed making her acting debut, a career in front of the lens isn’t on her list of long-term goals.

“I don’t want to do acting – I’m chipping away at my education and working full-time, so I’m focusing on that,” Palin added. “More kids? In the future, most definitely.”