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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Michelle Duggar - Pregnant again!

It's positive!
So, the Duggars are expecting their 20th child. Wow (she says with a glazed-over expression...)

It's not that I'm not excited for them; in fact, I think that if that's what they want, great! I'm just waiting for more nasty comments to fly, since it seems that no one has anything nice to say about this family.

Every time they announce a pregnancy, more myths, rumors and stupidity surface. It's things like this that just further ignite controversy over a woman's uterus, I think - the old idea that when you're pregnant, you're not thinking rationally and therefore that gives others - including complete strangers - the right to make decisions for you, make statements about your moral character, mental status, financial situation, family size and physical health.

I really think the biggest cause of vitriol is because fewer people have larger families anymore. That's it. Not that they're "killing the planet" by single-handedly overpopulating it, but because they have all those kids and are well-adjusted and appear to be reasonably sane. Because no one else wants more children, surely these people shouldn't either, and by all rights should be criticized for daring to think outside the box. Quiverfull movement aside, no one can understand why you'd want "more mouths to feed" and will criticize and label you, no matter what religious persuasion you happen to be.

Case in point - there is a large family (I think at last count they were on child #9) floating around town, the mother sort of dressed in Bohemian style, with the most beautiful hair. Her many daughters, all while maintaining their own sort of individual eclectic style, have long hair like hers, and therefore they are quite recognizable even from a distance. I've been seeing this family - in the grocery store, at the library - where mom usually has the youngest in a sling and is happily tooling around with her homeschooled bunch. No one is freaking out, yelling or fighting and everyone looks happy and well-adjusted, despite the fact that the oldest will often be seen holding one of her many baby siblings and looking totally okay with that. I have on many occasions wanted to stop her and just say, "I think you have an awesomely beautiful family!" and photograph them in all their splendor. I thought about this the last time I saw them, as I was out for a morning walk and noticed them up ahead of me on the sidewalk. I was sort of stalking them, I guess, admiring how they plodded through town like the von Trapp family.

I remember at one point hearing rather disparaging comments about them from my neighbor, who said something like "They all sit up front at mass" with an eyeroll, like they are the poster children for stereotypically dutiful Catholicism. Why the religious reference? I thought. Maybe she just wants that many kids, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I get so sick of the "Oh, the perfect family and you're done!" crap; the bullying, both overt and subtle, that goes on when someone decides to have more children than what our culture deems "necessary." And that's exactly what it is: bullying. We as a society are so set against it and want to teach each other how to love, respect, and all that crap - yet the minute we see someone with more than the prerequisite number of kids coming our way, we immediately snap to judgment. There is such negative bias against larger families, even those with far fewer than 20 kids, because we are now living in a "two-kid world." Anything more than that is often considered a burden or an inconvenience.

An editorial recently ran in Shine magazine about a woman who is childless by choice, and wants her friends, family and strangers to stop asking about when she's having kids, especially now that the population toll has reached 7 billion. Great - I can respect your choice and think if you don't want kids, don't have them. Do the responsible thing and go to great lengths to protect yourself from pregnancy; I wish everyone could be as responsible as that. But some of the comments were, as they usually are, disgusting - implying that people who wanted kids were stupid breeders and totally ignorant.

I find some of the comments about Michelle Duggar, though, as ignorant as some of the her harshest critics say she is - worrying about her pre-eclampsia, birth defects, leaving her children motherless, blah blah blah. You stand just as much chance of having a child with birth defects at age 20 as Michelle Duggar; statistically more women have children with Down Syndrome at a younger age, even though the risks of it go up after age 35.

A childless friend commented on the Duggar story and remarked that 'she didn't even carry the last baby to term.' Perhaps, but that almost makes it sound like she had an abortion. And it's not like all of her children were premature; her premature baby was no different than any of the millions of others born in this country every year, for various reasons - it's just that we heard more about it because of the media's focus. Should that be a reason for her to stop having children? I have a friend who has three children and had complicated pregnancies and pre-term births every time. Does that mean she shouldn't have any more?

With the current crisis of forced abortions in China, why are we worrying about this? When a family can stay together, under one roof and raise a family without outside assistance - not to mention they can raise them to be loving, conscientious and productive members of society - who are we to criticize when in other parts of the world there are women who are forced by their own government to undergo abortions when they want to be pregnant and have a family? And even if you aren't financially stable, does that mean you have no right to have a family?

Bottom line: Reproductive rights don't end with abortion. Everyone is so concerned about Michelle Duggar's health, which is great - but something tells me she has it under control. She has support from her OB, which is amazing, especially considering the overwhelming lack of support some OBs seem notorious for. When you start invoking China's horrible one-child policy and saying things like "Remove her fallopian tubes!" you are still attacking her basic human rights.

51 comments:

Ashley said...

What a good post. I won't lie I kind of said some rude stuff under my breath when I heard. I do think they have a very well rounded family and my comments were more in line with I wish they would adopt rather than have more children because they would be home that would be wonderful for a child with none.

Melissa said...

What an awesome post, I totally agree with you. Society deems that they are judge, jury, and executioner. You see the Duggar children and they are all seem so well behaved and such a nice family. I agree with you that people are not only pushing the bullying lines with this family but also some people are downright disgusting with their messages. While I may not want to have 20 children I am not going to degrade anyone who does.

Andygirl said...

They treat their daughters like slaves, they don't value education, and those poor girls don't have a choice in the matter. I'm sure they'd love to go to school and get to have friends and be carefree and funloving, but that's not an option. They'll be expected to marry and "obey" their husband and be his brood mare. I find the misogyny of the situation absolutely disgusting.

C Planer said...

I talked about this on my page today. My only negative opinion of the Duggars, and of course nobody asked me for it, is that they seem to afford a lot more options to their sons than they do their daughters. I see the older boys developing businesses and such while the girls don't seem to really do to much. I just hope that they are not all just waiting on being courted and not pursuing their own dreams.

Kama said...

Awesome post! We just had our third on Sunday. We have two sons, 2 years and 3 years old and just had a girl. Everyone keeps commenting "now you've had your girl" like we won't have any more children. Others keep asking if this is the last. We don't know what God will bless our family with next, but we are open to whatever. I know the Duggars do a great job of raising their children and he must be pleased since he continues to bless them. I hadn't thought of your comments about the premature baby. Thanks for your insight. I am excited for them in many ways. Children are a blessing.

Cindy Collins said...

AndyGirl How do you know they don't value education? Why do you assume because they aren't in public schooled they aren't receiving a good education or have friends?

I find ignorantly assuming disgusting.

The Deranged Housewife said...

Kama - congratulations on your new baby!

We are all entitled to our opinions, but obviously we've all read some very nasty things in the media about them. I don't want to have 20 kids either! LOL and I'm sure they're not perfect - I don't watch the show but otherwise it seems that many of their parenting ideas are not that different from my own (minus the idea that they won't allow their daughters to attend school or whatever it is). Apparently Michelle has a blog? and has written about her daughters' career goals, which include midwife and doula - how freaking awesome is that? I'm sure they get a good education in just watching their mother about the normal processes of pregnancy and birth. Interesting.

http://duggarsonmymind.blogspot.com/2010/05/career-gals-duggar-daughters-talk.html

One daughter is apparently interested in nursing after the birth of the last baby, and is "looking into colleges." So while I personally know-through-the-grapevine one family who at one point didn't "let" their daughters go to college, it doesn't look like the Duggars are discouraging their daughter from doing so. But I only have that post to go on.

rlwysong said...

As a second oldest child of 15 children, I LOVE this post! Our family has endured all the 'rude' comments that people say when they find out how many kids are in our family..."Y'all must not have a tv"..."Don't y'all know what causes that?" I'm sure they don't necessarily mean their comments to be rude but I've definitley rolled my eyes more than a few times when I hear them. Now a mother of 3, 3 yrs, 2 yrs. and 7 months, I still hear these comments...although it's a little different to hear them about myself and not my mother. I guess it'll always be but I sure wish people would take a minute to think about what they are saying. It really is something that is between a husband, wife and God. It is no one else's business. I guess there will always be those kinds of people, but after watching my parents and what they sacrificed to have all 15 of us, I'll just be happy if God blesses me with half of their joy! I thank God for my parents and their courage!!

Salli said...

Excellent post! I have 6 kids, but even when I was pregnant with baby #2 I was the beneficiary of rude comments! Geez! Like you said, we are totally fair game when pregnant! I have never asked anyone to help me raise my kids, feed them and cloth them. I don't think the Duggars are either. More power to them, I say. I personally always wanted a large family. I LOVE it when they all come to visit, now that most are grown. They are truly a blessing!

Anonymous said...

It's Down syndrome not Downs.

Sara said...

Eh. I don't think it's healthy, but no one asked me. I really hope that they don't end up with another micro-preemie. I'm just thinking of it from a nutritional standpoint- it's really hard to keep up mom's nutritional stores when she is constantly having babies, and each pregnancy is a drain on the body, along with breastfeeding. I just don't think it's healthy for mom or baby.
I also don't subscribe to the religious aspect of it- Jesus told his followers to go forth and teach, not to go forth and have huge families. The basis for the belief system is just about as shaky as the one that justifies polygamy. (Not that they are on the same plane, just that both pick and choose scriptures that they think support what they already want to do).

Christy said...

I love this!!! I am amazed by the hateful comments people make about the Duggars. It is no one's business how many kids anyone has. So what if they have 100 kids? I can't imagine getting so upset about how others choose to live.

lessonsinlifeandlight said...

I'm sorry, but to me, 20 children is just excessive. BEYOND excessive. But I guess that's redundant...

Kristy said...

Great post! I totally agree with having more children no matter what happened with your last or how many you have. I recently at age 27 had my first child and he was born with Down Syndrome and someday I hope to have more children. I love the Duggars and think the whole family is very well rounded.

Gombojav Tribe said...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this post! (typing with one hand as I nurse my seventh baby!!)

Jennifer said...

My main issue is the overpopulation. We've exceeded 7 billion (error on the keyboard I'm assuming:) ), that is MAJOR overpopulation (something that the Duggars have said is a "myth") Doing simple math, if their 20 kids each had 2 kids, and those grandchildren each had 2 kids, that's 140 children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren alone. Now, I'm assuming that those children will have more than 2 kids themselves, as well as their grandchildren if they are raised the same way. If each child has 6 kids, and those grandchildren have 6 kids, that is a total of 860 people created from 2 people in just 3 generations! That's not something that our planet can handle at the moment, I don't care what your religion is, that's just way too many.

trooppetrie said...

I so agree with this post. thank you for writting it

Anonymous said...

Wow, overpopulation? Are you kidding me. You really just sat there and did that math? Teenagers are repeately having children and living on the system and making their parents REparent all over again, knowing their children will most liking be victims to teen pregnancy as well and your worried about 2 people producing 860 people in 3 generations that will hold morals, standards, and integrity?? Maybe I should say, not directed to the Duggars, but to everyone else with the negative comments "What is the world coming to". Obviously ignorance an lack of common sense.

Persuaded said...

Whoa.. I love your bottom line. Why is it that the very folks who are the most vocal about preserving their own personal version of reproductive rights are the very same folks who are the most vocal about choosing to limit Michelle's?.... or I suppose they would say that they they don't want to actually legally limit her choices (but they sure will insult and denigrate her and her family with abandon, lol) I am a single mom (my husband left our family over a decade ago) and I would so dearly love to have more children. It's kinda funny because one of the arguments for the "sensibility" of limiting family size is the difficult position the mother would be in if she were left as a single parent. Well, as someone who has been in that position, I can wholeheartedly assure you that I've never regretted a single one of my 5 kiddos... in fact each and every one of them has been a joy and a comfort through some very difficult years. Each and every one of them has been an asset, not a liability:)

The Deranged Housewife said...

LOL I don't know why I typed 4 million... big error! I even read the article but I think it crashed my computer (stupid Shine) before I could get all the info from it. Anyway, I stand corrected!

And thanks for the correction of Down Syndrome. I will change it.

The Deranged Housewife said...

Read through all the comments... as far as being responsible, I always got the impression in the few times I watched the show that they were a neat and tidy family - do they recycle? Monitor their carbon footprint or whatever the heck it is? I've read of many larger families that are very conscientious of the way they live their lives, on many levels, including the way they teach their children about their impact in the world. I find it sad that people have such hatred for this family and yet consider it a "woman's right to choose" when she's on her fourth, fifth, tenth? (who knows) abortion. I don't remember hearing an outpouring of grief and hostility over the family who committed suicide and killed their young son because they were worried over the environmental status of the planet. Yet this family seems to realize how their "impact" could go haywire if managed improperly. I dunno...

Some people consider that many children excessive, sure; but what about the fact that many smaller families consume much more - probably the same amount as much larger families? Everywhere in this country excess is a problem: families with more clothes and toys than they know what to do with; overflowing bags of literally barely- or unworn clothes destined for the garbage bin or Goodwill; have you seen some of the things people throw out? *That's* excessive. :( OVerall we have fewer people using up more stuff, and sometimes I think people are against larger families because it means less "stuff" for them.

Serena Abdelaziz said...

Loved this post, and your last comment is so true. I have friends with only two children that consumer more than our family of 8. So, it's an error to assume that families of four consume less. They "can," but they don't. I am not trying to have 20 kids, but I am deeply saddened by the comments others make. It is so wrong.

Rose said...

THANK YOU Deranged Housewife! These are my sentiments exactly, and I'm soooooo tired about everyone that has the desire to point out what they think the Duggars are doing wrong. They are a great family, and people need to realize that it IS possible to raise 20 good kids! Someone mentioned that the girls don't get a chance to pursue their own dreams... she must not realize that one of the girls is a country artist. Anyway, off my soapbox... it's nice to see someone out there essentially say, "What business is it of yours if they have 20 kids?"

Conservamom said...

Thank you for this AMAZING Article! My friend posted this on FB and so glad she did. I have 3 kids and already get faces for the size of my family. Society is so quick to judge certain things yet if other things are judged it's considered hate or not minding your own business, what a double standard!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this ! I am so sick of the anti big family comments. I have five kids myself and want more. You can't have it both ways a woman has to have total rights to her reproductive system whether it be an abortion or twenty kids. She has the right to have that many children and that is the bottom line. If you don't like it move to China and live with their one child policy which by the way is back firing since they have all these males and no females to reproduce.

Diana J. said...

Great article! Agree! :)

Shari said...

Great article. I have 7 children here on earth and lost a 34 wks baby that passed away before he had that chance to be born.
My body is healthy to handle more children. If you stay up on your vitamins and supplements and eat right and excersize then the health concern of bearing mulitple babies is not really a valid concern. As for the over population that is such a myth. We have so many elderly and baby boomers that will be passing away in the near future and having very few young to replace them in the work force and other places is going to make for a terrible unbalance. At our current reproduction rates we are only in the USA reproducing at a rate of 2.1 and that's only because of imigration. That is barely enough to sustain a population. In France and other countries the replacing numbers are less than that and they will not have a sustainable culture.
The Duggar children are not lacking in friends, education, or social skills just b/c they don't go to a traditional school setting. I home school my children as well. Schooling is not for socializing anyway, it's for learning. The activities outside of schooling are for socializing which the Duggar children do pleanty of as do my children. The girls no what they want to do for carreer and that's great and they are encouraged for that. 20 kids is not what I think I am called for, but you never know. Even with us having a large family we are still the medium size of our friends. Quite a few of our friends have 10-12 children.

GAHCindy said...

You won't hear me say anything negative about the Duggars! Except that maybe I think the bus would look better in bright red. I think the reason the Duggars really tick people off, aside from the joyful and wholesome Christian lifestyle, which is really foreign to most Americans, is that they put the lie to our culture's myth that children are too expensive, too much trouble, impossible to deal with, etc. People just don't know how to react to it when their whole narrative goes KABOOM like that. ;-)

suzysnaps said...

The overpopulation comments always make me laugh, and realize that the person that says it probably lives in a big town. Try driving through the country some, or better yet.. check out another country. :) We live in Costa Rica and there is so much room for people growth it's amazing.

Rosemarie said...

I never had a problem with families with a lot of kids until they started capitalizing on it with TV shows, freebies, and money. She can have as many kids as she wants, but does she have to go on the TODAY show to announce it? They can choose to be private and raise their kids away from the media hype. That's my opinion.

Paul Kasprzak said...

I was reading a thread about this very subject on facebook yesterday. It was under St. Michael Society, or just the St. Michael page. These people posting were alleged Catholics. If you read the comments such as "baby mill", and "overpopulating the planet", it just sickened me. Now as far as benefiting from having many children, (haven't seen that yet), I don't have a major problem unless they are doing it "because" they are famous. If they're doing it regardless of their fame, I'm fine with it. I remember when the first septuplets were born. They got a free house, vehicle, diapers, and all sorts of swag. No one told me I had to have them all at once, and here I am having them just one at a time, stupid me. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow I can't get over some of The ignorance people have about homeschooled larger families and the over population issue is a buch of made up facts by liberals but that is my opinion we live in ny (up state u couldn't pay me enough to live in the city) my closest full time neighbour is 6 acres away. I think people get scared and start making up facts to make them feel good.... and as far as home schooling I homeschool and if anything my kids are over socialized and they get 10x better education because it is personalize to how each child learns I have 3 kids 6,4,&1 and I plan on having more its our life if she wamts to have 20+ kids so what? I thought the article was great tanks for posting it

~Aimee~ said...

I know as I've watched the show, when they buy something (clothes, shoes, baby gear, etc), they often buy secondhand and hand down to the kids. So in terms of consumption, I bet they have a smaller impact that you might initially think of a family that size.

Elizabeth said...

The Duggars are a wonderful Christian family, but the average couple would NEVER be able to support that many children. I am sure the television show helps support the family and allows them privileges many others would not be able to have. Michele should focus on the children God has already graciously given her.

The Deranged Housewife said...

From what I have read, they went to a financial advisor and have investment properties, etc. that basically financially support them. This was going on before TLC even came into the picture, and while I think that it definitely helps, they would be just fine without it. It's actually an interesting message for Christians as far as tithing goes - think of God first and he will richly bless you. Something tells me they would be keeping on doing what they're doing even if TLC never showed up on their doorstep. I'm sure there are many families of all sizes who are very financially secure - not meaning rich, just comfortable - and managing their money very well, but no one really wants to hear about that, do they? The news media feeds off of those who are struggling and in debt, sometimes as a result of their own bad choices.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, if you put yourselves out there on national TV, you're signing up for the negative comments. Michelle Duggar IS playing roulette with her body. At 45 & with 19 children, she is foolish (VERY, VERY FOOLISH) to get pregnant again. Their religion is an excuse for their ignorance. Or maybe it's a good reason for their TV show to continue. Their family has become a clown show. If they don't want more & more negative publicity, then STOP with the baby making. Perhaps RAISE the kids they already have & enjoy the grandkids they continue to ignore.

EmRg said...

A classic case of Being Afraid of What is Different from Self. 20 kids isn't what I want, either. Luckily for me, I don't have to do what others want. Neither does Michelle.

Gluten Free Mama said...

The only problem I have with Michelle and how many kids she has is that she weans them from the breast pretty early. If she were to breastfeed them for longer, her cycles wouldn't come back so quickly and she get pregnant as quickly. She already believes that God's timing is important, so she's sort of timing it herself when she weans early. Just my opinion!

The Deranged Housewife said...

I thought I remembered reading how her cycles come back pretty early anyway - I forget what she said but it seemed early for an exclusively-breastfeeding mom. On the other hand, I breastfed my three exclusively for six+ months and my period returned at my six-week check up. With my third I think it was a little later but not by much. And she can still ovulate and get pregnant without a period anyway.

Peggy said...

I've been thinking for a while about how profoundly the ability to -not- have children has affected our society. It has generally gone in the direction of making life much harder for the people who love children and want to have a lot of them.

roddma said...

Disagreement isn't hatred. The under population comments make me laugh. What they mean is there are not enough like minded people such as themselves. The DUggars are Independent Baptist who follow the teachings of Bil Gothard who supports Quiverfull. SO it makes you wonder if she is having kids because she wants them or because of religion. All the same they are one who want to control everyone's reproductive life. If Michelle can have 20 others can have none or one or tow But don;t you think society itself has created its own anti-family stance? Parents or let their little Darling(s) run all over the place in public. They never make them mind and if someone even tries to say something it is considered child hating.. It is tiresome how parents think 'I am a parent that gives me right to let my kids act how they want and everyone else has to accept it' or the popular"i am entitled to such and such because I passed on my genes. So maybe those who see kids as blessings aren't aware they can cause this stance.

roddma said...

"she must not realize that one of the girls is a country artist"
You are talking about Amy Duggar their cousin.

Rose said...

Whoops, you're right. Cousin, not daughter. However, it's still inaccurate to say that the girls do nothing but stay at home and "slave." Some of the older girls are volunteer firefighters. One is studying to be a childbirth attendant. Besides, participating in household responsibilities is something that *should* be done in every household. I don't think it's a bad thing that they are required to help out. I will require it of my kids too, even if I don't have as many children as the Duggars.

Rob said...

Well, that worked out wonderfully for Michelle. Perhaps many of her detractors were correct - she should probably stop. How many more pregnancies that end with miscarriage, stillbirth or preemie will she endure before she realizes that she should stop. Or will it be her death during the next attempt, leaving the 19 children motherless give her pause to stop breeding? Michelle - It's a vagina. Not a clown car.

Rose said...

Maybe it IS time for her to stop, but maybe it is not. It is up to HER. Just because someone has a complicated pregnancy or two does not mean they should refrain from having more children. I'm sure any mother who has had previous complications can attest to that. And what about the 18 HEALTHY pregnancies she had? In any case, I'm sure that she will be consulting with her doctor, but it's not our job to decide for her. Opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has at least one.

EmilyK said...

Rose
Just wanted to say that I really loved your comment. It is completely up to HER. And even worst case scenario happens and she dies in childbirth, her family is probably still a lot better off than most of us with all that help.

People are just not raised right these days. People are just burdens who get in the way of personal happiness.

I have some friends who came from families similar to the Duggars who recently married (just a few weeks ago) and decided to rescue the husbands grandma from the nursing home. They made their new home wheelchair accessible and even turned one of the bedrooms into a handicapped bathroom for her. They are NEW NEWLYWEDS taking on an ailing senior citizen. You wouldn't believe the amount of negative comments they have received from this, from just about everybody. They are doing something good because they believe in it, and aren't worried about how it will effect their newlywed life.....so why should other people worry? But they do.

Doing something like having 20 kids or taking in elderly grandparents just takes away from the ability to be self centered, and I think it makes people feel really guilty because they like to take their self-centeredness without guilt. "How dare people actually do the right thing and not put themselves first. Its just not right!"

EmilyK said...

btw-I doubt that their daughters feel as though they are being treated like slaves. They are probably raised with the thought that family is extremely important and a lot of work goes into a well run family and it is up to everyone to help out.

I only have 5 kids, but my older children ADORE the babies that are born and want more. They love helping. I rarely have to ask, and they recently said they would give up all their Christmas presents if they could have another brother or sister.

What a completely different outlook from the public schooled kids I know who were dreading the new babies birth because the baby "will get into all our stuff".

Different worldviews completely, and often the two worldviews just can't speak or understand each other.

Rose said...

Thank you EmilyK, I enjoyed your comments too.

The Deranged Housewife said...

Rob, you're welcome to post here - but as a female, with a lot of female readers, I can speak for just about all of us when I say the "vagina isn't a clown car" comment is getting effin' old.

That said, it's *her* vagina. Not only that, but many of her detractors would rather her have stopped at three. That's the way the world works these days - kids are nothing more than a pain in the ass, it seems, and if you've got more than your fair share of them (which some say is a "magic" two) you're practically ostracized. Whatever.

Carmel said...

Here,here! Great post. Different strokes for different folks methinks!

I'm the eldest of six, and a Mum of two wonderful little boys of my own now. I personally feel 'done' right at this stage in my life, and my mother always dreamt of six kids...if this fits the Duggars (and really, who the heck cares what I think) then more power to them.

I believe the argument of strain on the planet and resources IS valid. It irks me that it pops up so frequently and with such vitriol in conversations about the Duggars - I refer to your comment reply on Nov 9th- and I agree. Over-consumption is rife and shameful, wether you have no kids, two kids or twenty kids - it's up to each person and family to ensure they make the right-less wasteful choices.

Oh and Rob - *yaaaawn*

Love your blog to bits'n'pieces!

Anonymous said...

Who was it that decided which number was considered overpopulation? I find it ludicrous. I don't believe there could be an overpopulation. Why are people worried by this?