Monthly Archives: December 2011

When did we get so mean?

Okay. I’ll admit that it’s possible that the hormones of pregnancy are making me extra cranky, but I swear, every time I read a headline the last few days, something gets me irritated. Most things are easily alleviated with a ranty Facebook post, but this one requires a longer analysis to get it off my chest. Feel free to stop reading here if you can’t take it. . .

. . .because I’m going to talk about America’s most loved and most hated family. The Duggars. And my opinion is apparently unpopular. . .because honestly it’s the lack of an opinion. LEAVE THE POOR FOLKS ALONE. Now, having said that, I recognize that they chose to put themselves in the national spotlight by going on reality TV, but having heard them share about their faith and their family, I really think even THAT move was motivated by some desire for good works. They wanted to raise awareness about their beliefs and making a little money in the process did not seem like a bad thing. I mean, they DO have 19 children after all. That’s a lot of mouths to feed for sure. . .but feeding them they are. All on their own. So why does everybody care so much about the fact that they have a large family that keeps expanding?

My “beefs” on this topic are many-fold, but the two that are really stuck in my “craw” at the moment are the following. . .

-The fact that everyone and his brother seems to have an opinion about whether or not they should have more children at this point. . .

-And the comments in the media about Michelle’s recent 19-week miscarriage being caused by the fact that it was her 21st baby (I’m counting her other miscarriage here). . .

To address beef #1:

WHY DOES EVERYBODY CARE so much if the Duggars have 19 children. . .or 30 for that matter? While I personally don’t think I could HANDLE that many kids, it seems to me that they are doing a fine job raising them. They are a self-sustained family unit. They don’t have to rely on state aid or charity to get by. They appear to have well-nourished, mannerly children who are all shaping up to be highly functional, pleasantly contributing members of society. That’s a lot more than many families with 1 or 2 kids can even say. And here’s the main issue I have with all these “Don’t they have enough children already. . .?” and “They need to stop procreating and start focusing on the kids they already have!” comments. . .WHO ARE YOU to say that they have enough and um. . .it appears they DO focus RATHER WELL on the kids they already have. Some people are just really good parents and I’m sorry, but they appear to fall into that category. If a family ADOPTED 20 kids out of the system and did such a good job with them, they’d be on Extreme Makeover Home Addition and hailed as heroes and humanitarians. Who knows what force these kids may become for good, but with a stable home environment and the lessons they’re learning, I’d say the odds are good that they may make a huge positive difference in the world somehow.

Which brings me to a sidebar. . .it’s nobody’s business how many kids are conceived and brought into this world by others. Sure, there are bad situations, but every child is a gift. . .and in our country of reproductive “freedom” it seems we’re talking out of both sides of our collective mouths! “My body, my choice!” is the motto the majority of America wants to shout from the rooftops. And while I’m not going to make this into a debate about abortion, it seems worth mentioning that America is all about reproductive choices being personal and private. . .until something ruffles our senstivities and we start practically crying out for the Duggars to be sterilized. We are a hypocritical society.

Beef #2-Did someone read in Michelle’s medical record that the loss of Baby Jubilee at 19 weeks was caused by the fact that she has 19 living children? No? Then WHY would anyone think that’s what happened? Miscarriages happen every day to women who have no children at all. A miscarriage at 19 weeks is more rare, but the fact that everything looked fine until her 19 week checkup when there was no heartbeat does NOT point to anything related to her large family. Just the publicized statistics of their family fall into the realm of “normal.” She has 19 living children and 2 who didn’t make it. That’s about a 10% miscarriage rate.

 

“Miscarriage in early pregnancy is common. Studies show that about 10% to 20% of women who know they are pregnant have a miscarriage some time before 20 weeks of pregnancy; 80% of these occur in the first 12 weeks. But the actual rate of miscarriage is even higher since many women have very early miscarriages without ever realizing that they are pregnant. One study that followed women’s hormone levels every day to detect very early pregnancy found a total miscarriage rate of 31%.”

(About.com article)

So basically, they’re actually AHEAD OF THE GAME. All those yelling that this should be a “sign” that they need to stop reproducing are just ignorant of biology. They are actually in a lower risk category than most. While the risk does go up for women as they age, would anyone be judging if poor Michelle was a woman who had struggled with infertility for years and finally conceived her FIRST baby at the age of 45? Doubtful. . though in our highly judgmental society, I guess anything is possible.

And WHERE is our human compassion and sympathy in the midst of all this? Apparently non-existent. Losing a baby at any stage, but particularly at the point that their little one passed, is a tragic and painful experience. . .but I see very little sympathy being published. Criticism is rampant. . .and yet they continue to carry themselves with dignity and kindness, allowing people to see photos of the memorial service they gave themselves to honor their baby. . which just led to more “outrage” because of the (very tasteful) pictures of the baby’s hands and feet that were present at the service.

In the wake of all the recent drama, I hope the Duggars are able to take the time to grieve and heal from this tragedy. . .and then move on with their lives. And if that process of moving on involves having more children, I wish them all the best in their endeavors. And for all those out there who don’t “agree” with their “lifestyle choices?” Get a life. Because the Duggars apparently have quite a full one and would likely wish you the very best in yours, whether you choose to have ZERO children, or 50.