Judging the Duggars

Dec
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Dec 14, 2011

This is the Duggar Family.

They apparently have a TV show about having a lot of kids–19 to be exact. I have never seen the show and really don’t know anything about the family. So naturally I Googled the mom to see what she looked like.

First reaction? Man, she looks great for raising that many children.

Second reaction? What nice lighting in this photo.

Recently I read on Twitter and Facebook that Michelle Duggar, the mama of this large brood, suffered a pregnancy loss with her 20th pregnancy. Many of the comments online about the passing of this child were horrible. Horrible.

With the series of posts that I did on Understanding and Supporting Pregnancy Loss, the list of DO NOT’s that the women I interviewed gave me was setting off all kinds of alarms as I read the comments. We all need further lessons in sensitivity towards those who have suffered this loss …and reading the comments about Michelle Duggar just showed me that we have a looooong way to go.

I went through Facebook and read what some people I know were saying about this loss and in general, the “outraged” comments fell into camps below. I am going to quote the women I interviewed in my Understanding and Supporting Pregnancy Loss Series and have them teach us once again why these comments are hurtful–comments made by my peers.

 

She has 19 kids & her last one was premature. Her body is finally worn out. She’s too old to be having babies anyway. She’s 45. It was for the best. Something probably would have been wrong with the baby anyway.

The women I interviewed labeled this DO-NOT as “Offering medical advice” and “Hypothesizing the reason why they miscarried.”

As Brooke said in the interview, “My doctor is far more qualified than anyone else to tell me why this has happened.”

Kim said in the interview, “Well, for one, no one can really know what went wrong. Was it something that I did, did not do? Is there something wrong with me physically that is harming the baby? No one knows that answer, and you may never know. I don’t care if there was something wrong with the baby…that was may baby that I loved and hoped for and adored…don’t minimize that. That is like saying to someone who wears glasses, “You didn’t need your left eye…there was something wrong with it anyway.” No one knows, and especially in my circumstance that there will be another baby. To this day I still feel like someone is missing from my life, from my heart, from my soul.”

Laura said in the interview, “Don’t hypothesize – Do not try to make sense of their loss. Don’t tell them it was meant to be. Don’t tell them that it was a fluke. Don’t tell them it was because of something they did or didn’t do. Let the parents come to their own conclusions, medically and spiritually. When you hypothesize, you are minimizing their loss.”

 

She should focus on the 19 she has and go help raise her grandbabies.

The women I interviewed labeled this DO-NOT as “Minimizing the Loss.”

Kim said in the interview, “The thing that infuriates me the most is when people say, “Why don’t you appreciate the children you already have?” Because…straight up, I had a dream. My dream was four beautiful children. That is a dream that will probably never come to reality. It is a great loss to my heart and soul.  Besides, a statement like that is saying that in some way I am not grateful for my children, which could not be further from the absolute truth.”

 

She would probably die after having another baby so losing a baby now instead of turning her husband into a single father is way better.

The women I interviewed labeled this DO-NOT as “Ranking Tragedy.” The losses that are being ranked are the loss of the baby vs the loss of the mother.

Laura said in the interview, “Don’t rank tragedy – Every loss is a loss, whether it was days after a positive pregnancy test or moments after delivery. Most consider each additional week of pregnancy lost a bigger tragedy, but that’s not necessarily so. In my experience, a woman who discovers she is pregnant instantly loves her unborn child and creates a mental future for them. Losing that dream is devastating at any stage. Some struggle more with early miscarriage than stillbirth, and vice versa. It just depends, so refrain from assumptions.”

 

This is a sign. God is telling them enough already. They might want to listen to what God is telling them.

This is the comment that bothered me the most. Man, people are arrogant, aren’t they? I am a believer that the things we go through in life have purpose …but to look at someone else’s situation (especially someone you don’t know personally!) and say, “I know what God is trying to tell them” is really egotistical.

Plus, if you really want to dive into this one, what was God telling them when she had a miscarriage after her first child was born? What was our unchanging God telling Brooke, Kim and Laura? The same thing? If He was really telling them that “enough is enough” on this 20th pregnancy then why would He have let conception happen in the first place? I just don’t understand that kind of thinking.

We don’t know what God is telling them because 1) We aren’t God. 2) We don’t receive personal revelation for strangers.

 

I was reading the comments on ABC’s release of the pregnancy loss and was seriously disturbed by most of the comments (“Get a clue!” “Religious Fanatics should not reproduce at all. The are all mentally derangned. Example these morons!!!!!” –>Funny that they spelled ‘deranged’ wrong, right? LOL “The womb is not a clown car.” “These human breeders are disgusting…”) But among all the hate, there was this profound comment by a Jessica Murphy:

The bottom line is that there is something wrong with you if you experience more outrage than grief and compassion.

Amen to that.

 

Photo Credit:  E! and Orlando Sentinel

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Judging the Duggars « The Imperfect Housewife · December 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

[...] came across this article today, and really, couldn't have said it any better. And so, I won't even try. She shares [...]

84 Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this! i have been terribly annoyed with all the comments i have seen. She is raising the children she does have and they are all beautiful and kind children. I feel for her and am sure even though she has 19 kids it doesn’t make her pregnancy loss any less difficult to deal with.

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  2. I did not realize how passionate people are about this family. I was shocked at what people said on my very own Facebook page when I posted about it.

    The comment that disturbed me the most…

    It is unfair that they make the older ones help with the little ones.

    Isn’t that what being apart of a family is all about!? Helping each other. I know I make my 7 year old help with our 2 year old ALL THE TIME. She doesn’t complain, and Devi loves his big sister!! It isn’t something BAD.

    I am a big fan of the show, and they just recently aired their world travels. I was so jealous that they were able to take all 19 kids plus some to such amazing places. I think those kids will receive more opportunities than my kids…even with 19!!

    Okay, and I am done.

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  3. I agree. Her children are kind to each other, well-mannered, respectful, and hard workers. The Duggars are good parents, and they are able to support these children financially and emotionally. Their decisions to have more or not is between them and their Heavenly Father. This is a loss and I’ve also been saddened by comments judging and degrading them.

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  4. THANK YOU!!! I too have been so upset by the comments circulating regarding this. People have been cruel, judgemental, and harsh. I also don’t watch the show but my heart goes out to her and her family.

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  5. The fact that Michelle Duggar makes me want to be a better mother every time I watch her show really says something! I believe she is an amazing woman, and the fact that all of her children want to have a big family as well tells me she must be doing a fantastic job. Their show is one of my favorites and I love they’re website as well. I have taken with me some really great parenting advice from the website. They live lives of frugality, hard work, and compassion. They are awesome! When I found out about her loss last night on the yahoo front page I thought about what I have learned concerning pregnancy loss and knew that even with all of her other children that she would still likely be mourning this loss. Honestly, I am sad for her loss as well, because when I think of how bad the world seems after watching the news, I thank God that there are good people in the world as well. The Duggar family is full of good people, any addition to that family I believe would only make the world just a little better.

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  6. this makes me so sad. how terrible would it be to have to deal with public ridicule in addition to grief? poor family. i’m sure her husband is just so hurt that the world is being so horrible to his wife.

    thanks for posting this. i hope people stop objectifying mrs. duggar and start remembering that she’s a human being.

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  7. love, love, love this post.

    I am amazed by the Duggars. I think they are some of the most amazing people on this planet. I was heart broken to hear of their loss. If they would like another child, I hope that dream comes true for them. Everyone deserves to have the children they pray and hope for.

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  8. I’ve cringed at the online comments, too. I don’t understand why having a large family makes you “disgusting.” And why would her loss mean anything less just because she has a large family? I don’t understand why so many people are so mean about someone else’s loss.

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  9. I have always found it amazing that the criticism is because she has had so many children. If she wants to have 50 children and can love them, raise them to be contributing adults that are self sufficient, can do so with out damage to her health and can afford to have that number, then leave them alone!! The fact that they are teaching the older children responsibility by assigning chores, having them help take care of the younger children and working together as a family is wonderful. By the way, the documented record for the most children born to one women is 69 born to a Russian peasant who lived 1707 to 1782. She had multiple twins and triplets and 67 of them survived. Whether you have 2 or 20 children, the loss of one is tragic and heartbreaking. Those that relish in making demeaning and insensitive comments are not contributing anything and only proving that they lack social graces and manners. Mrs Duggar is a balanced and together woman and this family is not utilizing public assistance programs, but is handling their lives and household on their own. I congratulate them and send my admiration for their family and prayers for their loss.

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  10. Your article on pregnancy loss was the first thing I thought of when I heard this story on the news. I even told my husband “They should be calling this Pregnancy Loss, not a miscarriage.” I don’t watch the show either, but I was sad for the family all the same.

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  11. Thank you for posting this. I re-posted it along with a link to your Understanding and Supporting Pregnancy Loss post my FB. Just the other day I was sitting at a RS activity as another woman at the table began to minimize pregnancy loss. She herself had had a miscarriage but didn’t seem to understand how her words were hurtful. Even though I am very pregnant right now I still felt hurt by her words – years after my own miscarriage. I hope that everyone could learn to be more sensitive and less critical. My heart goes out to Mrs. Duggar and her family.

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  12. I don’t agree with their choices, and I don’t agree with having that large of a family. But I also know that they wouldn’t agree with the way I live my life. I learned from a young age that you don’t have to understand why other people do the things they do, but you do have to respect it. Their lives, their choices. Regardless of what you think of them (or anyone for that matter) a pregnancy loss is a sad thing, and it hurts my heart that people would be so cruel.

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  13. I knew they were trying for another baby, but I wasn’t aware that they lost him/her. There is NO WAY I’d survive in her shoes, and decisions about my family are very different. But, we’re just different- that’s all. And, if she is able to love and care for and provide for each of her children? More power to ya, girl! Go get that 20th baby!

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  14. Thanks for bringing attention again to this. Yes I wish I could be as fertile as her however…that is my problem not hers to be envious of her fertility. My heart aches for ANY woman that has to go through the difficulty of pregnancy loss. It doesn’t matter how many children or if she didn’t have children. Pregnancy loss is so painful. I hope she can heal and grieve with the compassion of others.

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  15. I am so glad to hear your perspective. I, too, have cringed and been downright upset by the insensitive comments and judgments being made on Michelle Duggar and her husband. It hit especially close to home since I am due about the same time she was.

    I feel that the lack of compassion relates to a blog post that was quoted in LDS General Conference in Oct. 2010. The blogger stated that our society has placed children lowest on the totem pole in matters of importance. They rank beneath education, home purchases, traveling, and independence. Those individuals who cannot understand why the Duggars have chosen their family size probably fall into the category of those who do not value children. It is unfortunate when a society places temporary happiness above and beyond the perpetuation of a future society.

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  16. I love that you posted about this. I think they’re a great family. They’re good people raising good kids. That more than a lot of people can say.

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  17. Wonderful post, Lindsey. Some much needed perspective, i think. I have always tried to keep the mentality (when it comes to infertility/pregnancy loss/etc.) that as soon as you feel that a member of your family is missing and you are helpless to either get them here or save them, the feelings are the same. It does not matter how many children you already have. Each child is loved by his or her mother with an intensity that is hard to understand except through first-hand experience. What a shame that everyone else has turned this child into a number instead of a child. To Mrs. Duggar, I’m sure the baby is far from “number 20″.

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  18. Amen! You write about such interesting and relevant topics. Thank you for all the good you do to enlighten the world about the ups and downs of growing our families. You are fantastic!

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  19. I like many others would not wish this on anyone. First, the Duggars are Independent Baptist Fundamentalist who follow the teachings of Bill Gothard and Vision Forum. Bill Gothard is the founder of ATI and IBPL, Institution of Basic life Principles. Of course the kids want large families because it is the only life they know. It is dangerous sugar coating religious extremist and exhibiting levels of perfectionism almost impossible to achieve. I wonder if Bill Gothard and Doug Philips could live by the standards they set. What makes others angry is Michelle and Jim Bob keep ignoring the warning signs. it is like a drug addict who kept taking drugs in spite of over-dosing each time. next thing you know, they die from an overdose ignoring all warnings. I imagine most people would be sorry for the loss but know it could have been prevented. Second, the Duggars placed themselves in the public eye. They must deal with these kinds of comments just like any other public figure. I did not know who they were until back in 2008. IMO it is the kids who suffer at the hands of the parents who keep making insane choices.

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    • This post is not about their religion. I am not in the business of bashing someone else’s religion. In fact, this post is really about US as a society and how we react to the end of a pregnancy. Sadly, we don’t do it well. I don’t really see how your comment ties into the post at all and to be honest, it feels a little spammy. I don’t believe in their religion nor do I watch their show nor do I care to know what their religion is.

      Do I think having a family that size is weird? Yeah, I do. But, I don’t think her loss was a “warning sign” from God. I am not arrogant enough to think that I can speak for God about a family that I don’t even know.

      Comparing losing a baby to over-dosing is a little far fetched even more someone like me who loves comparisons–blaming the parents for the loss of a pregnancy is pretty cruel. I hope you realize that.

      And as far as placing themselves in the public and and therefore having to deal with “these kinds of comments,” …that is true, but it doesn’t make it right. It says more about us a cruel society than it does about anything else.

      What a sad comment you posted.

      19.1
      • I pretty much agree with your post. I believe that it’s not our place to judge the Duggars. We need to leave that one up to God. Also, as someone else posted, they’re not on welfare like Octomom either, so why do we care? However, A. Roddy posted an opinion that I personally don’t believe is sad. It’s simply an opinion that you disagree with. If you don’t want us posting opinions that you don’t agree with (that are polite in their disagreement), let us know now and we’ll stop.

        19.1.1
    • if you’re not a medical doctor, specializing in OBGYN, you have no IDEA whether or not this miscarriage could have been prevented. All of you people think that it’s somehow HER fault that this happened, but you need to know that miscarriage happens to women in all walks of life; often, they are completely out of our control and weren’t caused by anything we have done – INCLUDING how many children we have already birthed.

      As a matter of fact, I would venture that her success in birthing 19 other healthy children would suggest that her fertile and healthy womb is far more adept at childbearing than my own, as I’ve only had one healthy child out of three pregnancies (two of which ended in miscarriage). But no one’s criticizing me for making “insane choices” by wanting more children, though mathematically it might look that way.

      19.2
      • Your honesty is beautiful, and it hits the nail on the head. We don’t know why things happen as they do, but the most important things are love and compassion. I genuinely hope you are able to have the things you want.

        19.2.1
      • I was never saying it is Michelle’s fault. Note they blamed the first miscarriage on birth control. Now, they have seen miscarriages happen without birth control for no reason. So the Duggars themselves tried to find a scapegoat. The reason I used the OD example is because in Christian Quiverfull Patriarchy, women are set up to be sacrificial lambs. Their sole purpose is to keep having kids with no thoughts about the woman’s health. The logic is the same. This isn’t because of the lack of sympathy but concern for Mechelle and the other kids.

        19.2.2
  20. Ashley from Feigning Fertility just did a post with a similar theme on her blog: http://www.feigningfertility.com/2011/12/loss.html.

    “Children are not interchangeable,” Ashley said.

    It always drives me nuts that people think “Focus on your other children” or “another will come along.”

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    • I like that wording: “children are not interchangeable.” I wonder if people would still be making the same rude comments if the Duggars had just lost one of their older children.

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  21. Beautiful post Lindsey.

    Pregnancy loss should be treated with compassion, whether the child is 1st or 21st. Whether the mother is a person you like or not. Whether they teach their existing kids good values and morals or do not. Whether they are on tv or not. Whether the mother is self sufficient or using (gasp! oh the horror!) public assistance. The circumstances have nothing to do with the loss and it’s sad that people tie it together as if it makes someone more or less deserving. Every loss, regardless of one’s opinion of anything else, is a painful loss and should be treated with love, compassion, and an offer to help.

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  22. I admire the Duggars. If I can do as good of a job raising the small family I have been entrusted with as they have done with their big family, I will count myself a success. Losing a pregnancy is a profound loss…one that cannot possibly be comprehended by the outside world. I envy their fertility, but regardless of the # of children they have, I’m sure their hearts are aching!! :(

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  23. Thank you for this post. I have actually had to unfriend a few people in the last few days over this. The comments are sickening. I was in the same place she is almost 5 years ago. I lost a baby at the same gestation. For those of you who didnt know she was almost 20 weeks with what turned out to be a little girl. Reading comments like the vicious ones aimed at the family takes me back to the pain I went through. You arent just sad, your hearts arent aching, your world is shattered. I had three children when I lost Kai, it didnt make the pain any less. To comment that this was a warning from God, that her body is telling her no more, is just plain bullshit. Pregnancy loss (and thank you, this was NOT a miscarriage) can happen to any mother, at any time. I went on to have 5 more losses before being blessed with our little girl. Thank God no one else gets a say in my fertility. People just need to learn to offer support and shut up after “I am sorry”.

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  24. I haven’t ever lost a baby during pregnancy, I do know the pain of losing a child. It doesn’t matter if it is your first or your 20th baby – it is a baby you loved. It was a life you had planned for. It was a part of your future, and it hurts.

    Regardless of what their religious or personal beliefs, they loved this baby, they have feelings and we as a society need to step back and ask ourselves why this got this type of reaction.

    Death is uncomfortable. Death of a child is even more uncomfortable. No one knows what to say or do when a child dies, or when a woman loses a baby. We as a society are so backwards when it comes to compassion about death. We are so afraid that something this horrific could happen to us that we will look for any reason why it couldn’t happen to us. Stop looking for reasons why it wouldn’t happen to us and start giving love to those who are suffering and in pain.

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  25. I am astounded by all the negative comments. I mean, it’s not like they are having kids and living off welfare, hence Octomom, right?? They raise a family and support them financially. Why else should people care?

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  26. Thank you Lindsey. Sometimes I think the human race is a pathetic lot. And then, most of the times when I’m suffering, I see humanity at its best. It would sure be nice if we all realized that just because someone’s in the spotlight, it doesn’t mean they’re without feeling. It’s as if some of us think that well known people aren’t real. They are. I just hope that the Duggars shield themselves and don’t read the trash that’s been published.

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  27. This pretty well sums up how I have been feeling reading the various comments from my FB friends as well. It’s sad and shocking that people have no sympathy for this woman’s very real, and very human loss, simply because they watch and judge her for an hour each week or so.

    We should strive to treat others the way we would want to be treated, and any of us in her situation would want one or more of these things. Love, compassion, comfort, respect, and/or privacy.

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  28. Oh man! I hope Michelle is doing okay. A lady in my church just lost a baby. She was about 25 weeks along. They named him Asa Matthew. She has three other children and they were all excited to be having a baby brother. It was really hard for their family. I know the Duggars are really sad over this , and I think it is sick that people are saying mean things to them. Their kids are so well-behaved and happy. I can’t think of any other family that raises their kids better.

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  29. Thank you so much for writing this post! I have been shocked at the heartless comments made by people. What the Duggars are experiencing is heartbreaking. It makes me wonder what in the world has happened to us as a society when comments like this are made when someone loses a child. It’s too sad.

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  30. I’m a huge fan of the Duggar’s, so it was a breath of fresh air to read this post. I’m tired of all the hating on them. I only have four children, and I can tell you, she’s doing something right to have such lovely, helpful, well-behaved children.

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  31. Thank you for this. People have become far too judgmental and uncaring. This poor woman suffered a loss. Why make her pain worse than it already is?

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  32. I love this post. Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking! I can’t believe how many people hold such vitriol for this woman they’ll never meet. And I cannot believe that people can say such hateful things about a woman’s loss of her child. Ugh. Thank goodness there are still some people out there who understand the meaning of compassion.

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  33. I am a closet fan (well, no longer now) of the show and have been following this family for years, always amazed and inspired by the way they work together. My own husband made some snarky comments about Michelle’s miscarriage and I couldn’t believe what he was saying, especially after we had experienced a miscarriage and knew how tragic it is.
    The hate, to the haters, is merely leveling the field. People look at this self-sufficient family succeeding in a country where few others truly are and feel the need to take them down a peg or two. I felt empathy for the family when hearing the news. I think they’re good people. I just wish others were good people too.

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  34. Thank you.

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  35. Amen! Thank you for sharing this because it really hit the nail on the head. I too was shocked at how mean and cruel the comments were. And I prayed that the Duggars didn’t read any of them. I cannot imagine my loss being made public like this and then having folks bash me and say horrible, mean, and untrue things about me. And before birth control, this is how families were. Big. I love my family that is larger than the “norm” and we planned it that way.

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

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  36. I get what you are saying to a point and I do feel awful for her since her loss was great to the whole family. I should know I lost two babies, had two very hard pregnancies and was told during my last pregnancy I could not have anymore babies. What I think you are missing in this articled is the reality of why people are so outraged and frustrated with this media circus called the “Duggar Babies”. So many families and women have suffered greatly to even have one or two children. Seeing them challenge medical science they way they have seems very callous and almost a slap in the face to the reality of a vast majority of women facing their own fertility.
    I blame the media and I point fault at the Duggar’s for not being sensitive in this issue. They say that they are of a compassionate faith, but being this over-the-top on child bearing and having it be on the top of the Yahoo and Google news pages regarding the pregnancy and loss of their 20th child is just part of the media insanity they signed up to be a part of the insanity.
    She is 45- years old and almost lost her life and the life of her 19th child her last pregnancy. For her to get pregnant again at that age with her previous complications and how that tuned that family upside down is mind-boggling to me, a woman that fought for the two lives I was blessed with. I have to say it enrages me. This is not a Biblical era of Abraham and Sarah. Sarah was infertile until that one child was blessed to her.
    The anger and the comments you read on the ABC page had a lot of valid points and some very mean and uncalled for statements, but the rage and anger stems from the same place. To many women having just one baby is like climbing Everest and to have a macro-family where the mom is 45 years old and has her history and chooses to continue to try to have babies because they feel God is going to bless them with more children is just heartbreaking.

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    • So, are you saying you are enraged because they are more fertile than you and that fertility is in the media?

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      • I also struggle with my own fertility and I am so grateful for my little one that I have been blessed with but it doesn’t enrage me that other people are able to have lots of children. Sometimes I think it’s easy to forget that we all have our own trials and we think that others are not grateful for the blessings that they do have. I’m sure she is grateful for what she has and isn’t just recklessly having children. She’s just doing what she feels is right for her family.

        36.1.1
        • I wonder when women will be regarded for something other than their fertility. I finally realized I am a complete person with no kids. It is better but still has along way to go. Michell has never walked in our shoes which makes me also wonder what happens if one fo the Duggar girls or inl aws are infertile.

  37. Having had a stillborn at the same time as Mrs Duggar and 2 miscarriages I mourn with them. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s their 1st or 31st they lost a child.
    Just as I would mourn with the President if they lost a child I will stand with the Duggars.
    This is not the time to make comments on their family size or anything else. Their emotions are RAW. Let them be.

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  38. princess21 said on December 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Its sad that it had to happen but I think this is the best time for this to have happen if it has to be for she has the best support system with her. People need to stop being so quick to talk crap cuz i gaurentee if it was them they would feel differently. People forget to stop and think what if that were me. It hurts to lose a family member especially your own child. Its somethin you can never just “get over” or forget about. Some people are so cold hearted and it makes me sick how they treat those that are mourning.

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  39. Well said.
    There was a very, very heated discussion in a momma group I’m in on FB about this topic….so much so that the admins ended up deleting it.
    You’re bottom line is right on.

    Blessings!

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  40. Elizabeth Carie said on December 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I love them. They take care of their family and don’t rely on Welfare. My grand mother had 17 brothers and sisters, there wasn’t a problem back in the olden days with having so many kids, so why is it such a problem today?! I’ve never been pregnant but I really want to have a baby with my husband when we’re ready. I don’t understand why people are being so negative and hateful. I hope that someone out there who posted a nasty comment, one day will be in Mrs. Duggar’s shoes and know what’s its like to suffer through a pregnancy loss. May God have pity on those who belittle someone who has such an amazing, helpful, kind, and caring family.

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  41. Thank you for posting this. An amazing quote I heard recently during Sacrament meeting was, “Always assume people are trying the best they can.” It really has changed my outlook on so many issues. The Duggars really are trying the best they can. And believe it or not, many of us are doing the same. Tolerance and Love :)

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  42. amen Lindsey!!!! personally I think she must be super woman I can barely control my house and I’ve seen an episode or two of their show and I can’t believe how well behaved their kids are. I admitt that when I heard she was having another child I was surprised, but really its their choice not mine and the only reason I’d be surprised is because of my own insecurities as a mom, but no matter 1st or 20th loosing a baby would be heart wrenching, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  43. Heather Brown said on December 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS! I am the mother of a stillborn child, and have heard many of these comments directed at me. My heart breaks for the Duggars.

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  44. Thank you for writing this. I found your blog from a link in the comments of another blog severely judging the Duggars, which I found very disturbing. I have nothing by sympathy for the Duggars’ loss. I have never seen the show, but I have visited their blog (I use her recipe for laundry detergent) and they seem to be a lovely family. I respect their commitment to their religion, to thrift, and to each other. I was expected to help out in my family as the oldest of four and I expect each of my children to do their share as well. This is not only helpful for me, but it helps them gain responsibility and a good work ethic. Granted, I am LDS, so I believe that we should have as many children as the Lord wants us to and we ourselves want (I have four), so my beliefs are more in-line with the Duggars. But I cannot believe the backlash against this seemingly wonderful family. I would like to be MORE like Michelle, but I don’t think I’m quite the Superwoman that she is.

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  45. I read your post earlier this morning and then went to work. I came home and read through the additional comments. The comment by nnfyla was shocking to me. Just because she has 19 children and she has had the opportunity to show the world her family and the way that they live does not mean that she is hurting or causing pain to a family who is struggling to have one or two children. I am heartbroken for families that cannot have children. For me that is more than just words, in fact, I put action to those words and I became a surrogate and I carried twins. A mom is a mom is a mom. It does not matter if you one child, twenty children, three children, or a mom of a child created in the womb who passed away. As women, we should lift each other up and not judge one another, not because the Bible tells us to, but because, if we could be lifted up by one another and not judge one another, and be able to talk about our pains and struggles without judgment, how much more touching our lives would be to not only ourselves but one another and to our families. The Duggars are not a media circus. They are a family that is raising their children with glimpses into their lives. We do not see everything. We do not know everything. We do not see the moments that the studio does not want us to see. We have no right to judge them. We have no right to say shame on them for having more children. We should mourn with them. We should have a heart for others. We should show compassion for one another. It saddens me that others would think that because they have had pain in their lives, how dare another mom live their life differently? It just doesn’t make sense that someone could write and say such things about another mother. How much better could this blogging community of moms be if we had compassion for one another and supported one another rather than tearing each other down or be jealous of another’s successes, or family. I apologize and I probably am not typing clearly and I am sorry. I wish you all well. I wish the Duggars well. I wish the mom that is hurting well. I hope and pray for the women who are hurting because they cannot build their family that they will have compassion for those that can. I hope that they find other ways to fill that hole in their heart with something other than anger and resentment for other moms.

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  46. The bottom line is, she is 45-years old. She had life threatening complications to her and her child the last pregnancy. Her odds with carrying this baby was 1 out of 3 due to her age. The point I was trying to make is, the reason due to the outrage is they are a media circus – they chose to be on national TV and what they are doing is very controversial and hits many tender nerves. There are women that would give to have one experience of birth and to hear that a woman at the age of 45, with her history and the fact she has 19 kids already elect to try for another baby is very irresponsible and controversial.
    To feel sorry for people that play this type of Russian Roulette with God and His gifts, can be challenging for many- hence the many negative comments. It is not jealously, it is trying to wrap your mind around a group of people that say they value life so much, but become reckless with it- all under the umbrella that they are “trusting God”. God put in place medical advances and knowledge and most of all a very powerful brain vs. blind faith.
    Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for their loss, it was a life and it was lost, but it was a risky move on their part and now they have to face this with the whole country watching and having their opinions – don’t forget they are getting paid for this show- this is not some charity gig. Just as you feel my comments are insensitive and cruel, I feel many I have read are not really looking at the reality of the situation, and if they continue to try to have a baby at her age, the end results may be catastrophic and who wants to see that unfold on national TV or in the headlines.

    46
    • I think the point of this post was not to debate whether or not this family should have more children. It is to remind us all to be a little kinder. We all have our opinions about this subject, you don’t have to feel badly for them, but hurtful comments toward them aren’t going to help any of us who struggle to have children feel better, and it certainly isn’t helping the Duggars. Their pain is real, and as human beings we should respect that pain whether we agree with the situation that put them there or not.

      46.1
    • That may be true, but I think it is still cruel and cold to say, “Well, you were too old to be pregnant anyway and you knew the pregnancy was risky so it makes medical sense that you lost the baby.” But, that’s just me.

      46.2
  47. I am so sorry to hear she lost her 20th child… that is sad and I feel bad for her & the family. I also feel that her body is telling her enough and I also thank the Lord is also saying we are done. I wanted to have another baby, I have 4 now but I am 38 and the doctor said “As you get older the pregnancies become more high risk.
    I had 4 healthy babies and I don’t want to take the risk. I love my kids and It is hard for a woman to say & know that your last child is the end of your baby making years. But I look forward to having grandchildren when the time is right and helping my children with them. I do feel for Michelle and I hope that she with the Lords help will come to terms with what he has in store for her next….

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  48. I haven’t read any of the online comments. I know how people feel about them & I could only imagine how absurd their comments are now. I am expecting my 11th child. I have had one miscarriage & no matter how many children I already had or have had since; then the pain of losing that ONE baby goes beyond description. I was so sad for MIchelle…sad for the pain she went through as her body lost that baby & sad for the emotional grief it brings. I am not surprised at the public response though. Even though we don’t have as many children as the Duggars, when I lost my baby I also received absurd comments & they really hurt. I hope & pray that MIchelle has stayed away from the comments. She has enough to deal with.

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  49. Yes I totally agree 100% “The bottom line is that there is something wrong with you if you experience more outrage than grief and compassion.”

    49
  50. Misty,
    I just wanted to respond to your comment. OB’s seem to like to say that…you are old and the risks go up. It’s true, they do. I lost 3 babies to miscarrige when I was 39 years old. It was extremely painful and we grieved over those babies that preceded us to heaven. I got pregnant when I was 40 years old and carried a beautiful little girl to term, who fills our home with joy. I got pregnant again at 40 and 11 months and am now 16 weeks pregnant. I tend to want to “live in fear” and I honestly never wanted to get pregnant again after the 3 losses when I was 39, but we also didn’t feel comfortable with chemical BC or sterilization. We tried to prevent using natural methods and I got pregnant anyway. And by God’s amazing grace, we have carried 2 in a row into at least the 2nd trimester. I know it is a natural human response to try to avoid future pain but in our case, if we had used “reliable” birth control methods we wouldn’t have our 1 year old daughter and we hope our little son on the way will be born healthy in late spring. Life is risky and for the Duggars, trusting God is worth the risk. When I am mourning our 4 miscarried children (we had one loss when I was 36) I do remember that we’ll get to see those children in Heaven and then all the tears and pain will fade away and we’ll just be happy that those children exist.

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  51. I respect any parents who can raise 19 children to be well behaved, good, and caring individuals. Raising children is hard work and to do such a good job with so many is definitely admirable. There is a lot of sacrifice and time invested in their family. Is it extreme to have this many children? In my opinion, yes, at least for me. But, they don’t need or want my opinion. Additionally, they are doing a great job with their kids and hurting no one. I do wish Michelle would stop having children, especially after the last 2 pregnancies, because I often think about what would happen to the family if something happened to her during pregnancy or childbirth. The older a woman gets, the more risk is involved. Obviously, their life is none of our business. However, I will admit that seeing them on T.V. has taught me not to judge a book by it’s cover. They are a supportive, loving, and ultra-religious family. They obviously know how to make what they have work. God bless them and keep them safe, happy, & healthy.

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  52. I have a feeling this family would be struggling financially if TLC didn’t pay them oodles of money to put their family on display like a circus act for the world to see. I find it ironic that it’s just fine to call out Kate Gosselin for exploiting her children, but not the Duggar family.

    I’m sad for their loss. They have chosen to live an extremely public life, which opens their family up to a lot of vulnerability from the world. The insensitivity of those who disagree with their fertility decisions, the crazy rantings of unstable people, the ridicule of religious critics- they have opened their home and let these people in.

    I’m sorry for their loss. I’m sorry for any woman who loses a baby- statistically 1 in 3?

    I’m sorry that they decided to go against the cultural norm and post pictures of their deceased child in order to make a political statement. (We shouldn’t be surprised eyebrows were raised. If you posted pictures of your deceased husband or grandmother all over the internet, wouldn’t people think you were acting strangely?) I’m sorry because it invites more skepticism of their motives, and more ridicule directed at their family, which is comprised of many young kids who don’t need anyone to feel “sorry” for them. Who don’t need to see the cruel comments people are making.

    The majority of the Christian world is supportive of their grossly public loss. However, they have invited criticism into their home when they opened it up for anyone, ANYONE, to see what goes on in what is for the rest of us the privacy of one’s own home.

    I guess this is a rant against reality television. I suppose it could be argued that exposing themselves to the masses is a public testimony of their faith- but that’s not how Jesus went about his ministry. And $20-40K an episode? Plus revenue from books, dvds, and speaking engagements? That’s one ministry that pays really, really well.

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    • Struggling financially? Really? You must have not read about them pre media. Both were very successful real estate agents and Jim Bob was a politician. This show did NOT make them wealthy! Another thing, they shop ONCE maybe TWICE a year at CONSIGNMENT shops.. not the mall. Big difference. Another thing, they used their savings to build that house that MOST of the MEN in the family built. Construction parts aren’t as high as the labor, which they endured. Regardless what they are doing for a living, the Duggars have made a life for themselves PRIOR to the media. They did not even start filming them until they had 17 kids. The “extras” like the trip, I am sure was paid, but what does that matter?

      Seeing all these posts, I question the Christians on here that claim to be! Judge not, for ye will be judged. Lindsay posted this about loss.. infant loss. Not about the media exploitation. Everyone has opinions, yes, but who are WE as humans to not have a care in the world to say, oh, well they get paid too much money anyways, it’s just another child. And they get paid off the viewers, if you are watching, you are paying.

      Just wanted to add that.

      52.1
      • yes they may be fine with no show but they would not be at their current lifestyle if not for the show. I question successful real estate agents since the market has dropped greatly over the last few years. They may have been at once before the market dropped and still there are 19 mouths to feed. I also read they still get donations since some fans think they don’t get money from the show. Under Quiverfull beliefs, they take great strides staying debt free like using children for labor and keeping them out of a real college. No money isn’t too important but having well fed and educated kids is.

        52.1.1
  53. I have learned this since posting this piece: The oddest thing I have seen is that is seems some people cannot get past the fact that they have a large family or that they are in the public eye or that they are extremely religious or that she was old or that they make money from a TV show and just feel sorry for the loss of a baby.

    I think it says a lot about us as a society and it is EXACTLY the reason for this post.

    We should be compassionate and sensitive NO MATTER the circumstances that surround someone’s loss.

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  54. Thank you for posting this. I linked to it on my blog. I think the internet offers people an opportunity to hide and say things they would never say to anyone. I remember as a kid being told If I couldn’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. That really has gone by the wayside now. Maybe we should start bringing it back!!!!

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  55. I love the Duggers…How many children they have is their business as long as they can support them. The children seems to be well adjusted, clean, well feed and a lovely home to live in….But most of all they are loved….As for the miscarriage, when I had mine, my doctor told me that’s Gods way of saying something was not right with the baby…..So he chose to take it early………It was my one and only child….I did adopted a beautiful baby girl who is now a mom of 3 wonderful children…… Please do not judge people just because you don’t agree with them and their lifestyle.

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    • Then the Duggars should not make judgements themselves about others. it was obvious in the letter to Jubilee. Just because others may have different beliefs isn’t meaning they fell thier kids are a problem or a career interrupter. Sorry but that rubbed me the wrong way. .

      55.1
  56. Wanted to add some things that I have read.. and things on their website. Seems as though people did not do their work on what they did PRIOR to media:

    Jim Bob and Michelle were both real estate agents and had made their money from commercial investments. I thought something was also mentioned about Jim Bob once owning a car dealership as well.
    As a family project the Duggars built a 7000 sq. ft. home debt free! Both Jim Bob and Michelle are licensed real estate agents.They often host and facilitate the Jim Sammon’s Financial Freedom Seminar. Jim Bob served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003 and was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2002.

    Or take a look at their answer to this: http://www.duggarfamily.com/content/faq/29567/4_how_do_you_support_such_a_large_family_especially_with_the_economy_the_way_it_is_these_days_tips_on_how_you_manage_to_support_so_many_people_

    4. How do you support such a large family? Especially with the economy the way it is these days, tips on how you manage to support so many people?
    ShareThis
    We have lived very frugally, and our family motto is to “Buy used and saved the difference!” We shop at thrift stores and garage sales.

    About 19 years ago, I (Jim Bob) went to a bank to inquire about borrowing a large sum of money to expand my business. A few days later, a successful businessman invited the men from our church out to his house every Friday morning for breakfast and to watch the ” Jim Sammon’s Financial Freedom Seminar”. I agreed to attend, as well as 50 other men. After just seeing the first session, the truths from God’s Word being taught through Mr. Sammons began to convict me of my need to “owe no man anything but love.” I decided right then to postpone the loan. I continued to attend the seminar, and after 20 weeks (to my amazement), God totally changed my view of not only His purposes for finances, but also how we are to be wise stewards of everything God entrusts to us. Later that year, this man had the seminar at our church and Michelle & I were able to attend the seminar together. After we both heard the testimonies of God’s methods for finances, Michelle & I purposed to become debt-free. As we have chosen to trust Him, I have seen God provide for our family in ways that are supernatural. I encourage every family to watch this seminar, the testimonies Jim Sammons shares are so encouraging that our family enjoys watching it together. He challenges you to give every area of your life to God. You can now purchase this seminar on DVD and the Men’s Manual Vol. 2 textbook that goes with it for only $109. This will be the best investment you have ever made. It has saved us and made us thousands by applying Biblical principles to every decision of life. (We do not make anything off this we just want to encourage others with resources that have helped our family.)

    (Lindsay, please don’t think that I am adding fuel to the fire by posting this comment. However, I do believe that people look at child rearing in a different sense, speaking financially. Money don’t make a family, it’s a mother and a father.. both are there and both are very gracious people. I love you!)

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    • Fan the flames, Baby!

      I really do not know A THING about them other than they lost a baby and that makes me sad …and it makes me even more sad that it seems many people cannot just accept that. I think you are right on with the whole “Christian” thing. Well said.

      Loved your comments and love you too!

      56.1
      • I mean, it just made me angry! I don’t feel that anyone, accept the Lord can judge anyone. We all will be judged on our own actions, and that means judging too. There is a scripture, I am not sure which one, that talks about alduterers. I know it has nothing to do with loss, but committing it is a 10 commandment. And in the Bible, someone called a woman out, and Jesus asked who without sin cast the first stone.. there was nobody left standing. It should be a lesson. I love that you had the courage to take and post this, not only that, but the comments. It’s harsh!

        I get judged day in and day out for different reasons. And the way I have been feeling lately (this week), I had to just voice my opinion. And yes.. they shop at consignment stores, WHEN THEY HAVE SALES! Imagine that. I don’t see any of the Duggars wearing name brand clothes, shoes, jewelry, or purses.

        Now the big flame is that NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep – non profit at that) did a newborn photo shoot of them and Jubilee (the baby’s name, which was a girl) and they are flaming them for it. Calling it distasteful. Women EVERYDAY have these pictures taken, this is a not for profit organization that does this for grieving parents. Regardeless of what gestational age they are. :( And being that there is a baby, HOPE, growing in my stomach.. I had to shake her to make sure she was there. It brings tears to my eyes that people can be so mean!! :(

        56.1.1
        • There are so many people who experience infant loss, and once the baby is born they take pictures to remember the baby that they have lost. I’ve seen many blogs devoted to these little lost souls, and I have never ONCE heard anyone call them distasteful or disrespectful or heard of anyone being harsh to them. So why it is considered acceptable to call the Duggars these things is beyond me.

          I have seen the Duggar kids wear name brands, however, you can find name brand shirts (Aeropostal) at Goodwill and various second hand stores if you look. ;)

    • …and anyone that shops at thrift stores is my friend. I love me a good Deseret Industries and Salvation Army!

      56.2
  57. basically- the only response to pregnancy news is : Congratulations! When can I bring over a meal?

    the only response to a miscarriage: I’m so sorry. When can I bring over a meal?

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  58. Thank you so much for your beautiful post. It is so encouraging and heartwarming to actually hear a fellow LDS member defending the Duggars.

    As a mother of 11, and experiencing 6 miscarriages myself, I can state emphatically that every child is a gift, and every miscarriage is heartbreaking. (I also posted about the Duggar’s sad loss on my own blog at:
    http://blog.oldfashionedmotherhood.com/2011/12/dealing-with-loss.html )

    Thanks so much for breaking down each of the cruel comments above. The amount of children we have doesn’t lessen our love for each of them, and for the others Heavenly Father may yet send. Mothers cherish each and every one!

    Again, thank you!

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  59. medicalmommy said on December 31, 2011 at 10:01 am

    What an extremely complicated issue! There are so many things on which one could comment. I would like to address the issue that if one does not respond with compassion that suggests a great deal about the poster.

    I agree with this statement, but it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with the poster. It means that we live in a world that is fractured and filled with tragedy and when one family chooses to live a very public and controversial life it touches the nerves of others who are struggling with their own sense of loss.

    I have had birth story similar to Josie, but in our case our child lives with profound medical challenges requiring full time nursing care. She lives at home with us. I too have experienced the loss of a baby, as have many women. It is a common experience. I was astounded Michelle chose to become pregnant again given the well-documented medical risks. The chances of having a similar birth story with catastrophic consequences is a well-documented medical fact given her age and birth history (and yes, I am a qualified medical professional who is able to say such a thing). Yes, there can be happy endings to such stories but the risks are undeniable.

    I am truly sorry Michelle experienced such a loss. However, while we are arguing about OUR lack of compassion perhaps we need to consider Michelle for a moment. She has 19 lovely children, including one who survived a complicated birth. She experienced a loss and that is truly heartbreaking. But to so publicly document the loss is bound to touch a raw of nerve of the many women who also have experienced such a loss and who DO NOT have 19 lovely children to call their own, nor have a faith or a community to assist with coping. It was appropriate for the Duggars to announce their loss to the public but the extent to which they went to document the loss could perhaps be considered insensitive to all others who have experienced a loss or similar tragedy. For one mourning a loss of a child to see feet cradled in the hands of their mother may not be touching, but hurtful. Their anger directed at Michelle is NOT an indication of something wrong with the grieving women, but rather that she IS grieving and looks at Michelle sho seems to have everything the wants in excess and then turns her personal loss into a public spectacle. Grief is not meant to be a media circus.

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