The GEM Debate:
19 Is Not Enough! Duggars Visit Fertility Doctor (VIDEO)
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are back in the news. They just visited a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies to find out whether it’s safe and possible for Michelle to get pregnant again.
Michelle says, “We would love more children if God saw fit to give us more. I just want to make sure that I am ready to catch a baby if that would happen.”
When Michelle, 47, was pregnant with the Duggars’ 19th child, Josie, she went into the hospital for a bout with gallstones where it was discovered that she had preeclampsia. Josie was delivered three-and-a-half months early and weighed 1 lb., 6 oz. She is now 4 years old and healthy. The Duggars announced a 20th pregnancy in 2011, but Michelle suffered a miscarriage shortly after the announcement.
The fertility specialist, Dr. Paul Wendel, notes that, “We do see occasionally pregnancies in women who are 47, 48, 49, even 50 but they are very unusual.”
When I heard this story about the Duggars, I did an eye roll. Or maybe two. The number of children they have is none of my business or your business. I do wonder, though, why we are so opposed to the 20th child.
I’m not against 20 or 25 or 50 children if that’s what they choose. The Duggars don’t look for handouts to take care of their family, so I have no concern that they’re having children that they can’t afford. Michelle seems to be fully aware of the risks involved with pregnancy in general and the higher risks for her specifically, given her age and the touch-and-go situation with her 19th baby. She knows she could have a baby with Down syndrome, autism, or myriad other health problems and I still have no issue because I believe that all human life is valuable and worthy.
So, what’s my problem? Some years ago, I read an interview that the Duggars did and there was one thing that stood out to me. Michelle said that with so many children, she had them make appointments when they wanted to talk to her. There was actually a whiteboard or something where the kids filled in a time slot. That makes sense for them, but it made me feel sad.
I felt sad because you can’t put a time on when children need their mother. I felt sad because a child can’t schedule when she needs more than a passing hug or time limits on a conversation. I felt sad because a child shouldn’t have to “wait his turn” to talk about a serious problem. The Duggars employ a “buddy system” where older children are paired with younger children. While I have no doubt that that works and is great for the children, there are limits to the life lessons that siblings can give.
The more children you have, the more you have to divide yourself to take care of their emotional needs. I have only four and I sometimes worry that I might not be giving enough attention to the child who needs it most. I can’t fathom how that works effectively with 19.
I’m certain that Michelle and Jim Bob are wonderful parents. By all accounts, that’s the case. But, they are only human and while none of us can or should do it all, the math suggests that they fall short more often than they might like to.
Related: Duggar Dilemma?
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