Michelle Duggar Envy

At the risk of receiving my first round of nasty comments, let’s discuss why I have always been a bit envious of Michelle Duggar

There are things that give me an odd amount of contentment:

  • dressing one kid after another after another (in coordinating colors, of course)
  • buckling in a van full of car seats
  • lining up a rainbow of cups, plates and bowls for dinner
  • anything that gives me the warm, fuzzy, I-have-a-house-full-of-kids feeling.

There are things I wouldn’t mind:

  • switching to a big cargo van
  • squeezing bunk beds in every room
  • always having a baby in the house
  • carrying a cheat sheet to remember all of my childrens’ birthdays.

The list goes on and on but ends somewhere shy of growing my hair to the floor and sewing long skirts made of my husbands old pants.

I have always wanted a big family, always hoped for five children or more. I have them, of course, just not in the way I had dreamt.

Unfortunately, my envy of the Duggar clan is fading because I’m not sure I agree with them anymore.

After we had triplets, I watched my surviving children with certainty they would be my last.

Our family could not return to the financial, physical or emotional toll IVF and an extremely premature birth had taken on us.

The risk of having higher order multiples again was not one we would chance, no matter how badly I wanted more.

Somehow we got pregnant naturally and I did end up with my One More.

To say my last delivery was scary would be an understatement.

Though fairly uneventful for my son, it was life-threatening for me and a terrifying roller coaster for my family.

And this is where Mrs. Duggar and I differ.

There are things that are more important than one more,

like getting pregnant knowing that your child has the best chance of beginning life healthy,

and making sure the children you already have get the best chance of growing up with their mother.

I wish I could say faith protects the chances you take when you are at risk for medical complications and a premature delivery but it does not.

Hopefully this is a lesson the Duggars never have to learn.

baby in NICU

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  1. Shirley says

    I find it curious that so many feel authorized to judge other family’s choices. I’m happy for the Duggars and wish them the best.

  2. Mimzy Wimzy says

    I have only seen a couple episodes of the show several children ago. My personal opinion is that they need to stop. From what I recall all of the older children are doing a big part of caring for the younger children. I do believe children should help around the house, however, the parents need to do the parenting. So many couples out there are unable to have children of their own, wouldn’t they in their faith think maybe helping make another family’s dreams of a child reality is an option? They could also consider adopting and bringing already existing children who don’t have a family in to be a part of theirs. Lets see if their show is cancelled and they aren’t getting publicity (and I would assume money) if they had a change of heart on popping babies out non stop. I fully agree that with the complications of the last baby the risk is not worth trying again.

  3. says

    Well said. I have always dreamed of a large family (for me that meant 5) but for numerous reasons we have 3 children and feel very lucky. After my last pregnancy my doctor told me I would be risking my life and that of my unborn child if I were to have another child. While we thought we were done (i was 37 1/2) that sealed the deal.

    As a person who spent 8 hrs a day in a classroom of up to 22 3-5 year olds for many years I can tell you those children are NOT getting all of the attention, love etc. they need from their parents. It is logistically impossible! It has been a few years since I watched the show but I remember an episode where they explained how they “manage” it all. Each child is paired with a younger child and fully responsible for meeting that child’s needs..bathing, feeding, dressing etc. While I am all for teaching responsibility and helping care for others I don’t think it is right to expect a child to “raise” their younger sibling when the parents are present and should be fully capable of taking on the job.

    I often wonder if some of the children have some learning disabilities or other special needs that are just not physically observable and are swept under the rug.
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  4. says

    I work with someone who is a part of the same faith beliefs & he and his wife are currently expecting #7 and plan to continue to have kids as long as God continues to bless them. While I am a Christian, the “Quiverfull” theology is not a part of my faith tradition but I won’t knock them for it. If they can financially handle it, more power to them. While the Duggars are more conservative than mainstream America, their kids seem to be well-adjusted, well-rounded, caring citizens. I understand the risks of this pregnancy (and don’t think I would ever chance it after the last pregnancy) but if you look at their odds with pre-eclampsia during only 2 of 19 pregnancies, I can see why they would have faith that God will keep this pregnancy healthy.
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  5. says

    I couldn’t agree more. And also, my heart aches for those 20 children. I think at some point you lose track, which isn’t to say that she doesn’t love all of her children equally, but I imagine that growing up in a house with so many other siblings would leave each child feeling somewhat neglected.

    And of course there’s the whole risk of not having a healthy pregnancy/baby. I can’t understand why anyone would take that chance.
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  6. says

    I agree. I would love to have a huge houseful of kids, but I’m sort of at the end of my rope already and I only have two; and their both healthy! I wasn’t blessed with the patience to deal with any more than I already have and I realize my limitations.
    Miss Marina Star recently posted..Life is Beautiful

  7. says

    I totally agree with you. I just really wish that they could learn that they are truly gambling with lives here, Michelle’s and her unborn babies. I am not God but I don’t see how God could think that is a good idea.
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  8. Courtney @ The Mommy Matters says

    You won’t get a nasty comment from me….I agree with everything you said. While 20 something children is way too much for me (and a tiny bit ridiculous if you ask me, but that’s a whole different post), I have always wanted a big family. And by “big” I mean maybe 4 kids. I understand her perspective on faith, but I believe that God gave each of us COMMON SENSE to help out in situations like that.

    I think it’s extremely selfish of her to continue having kids after what they went through with her last baby. Selfish for the child, putting them through such a hard time right to start off with and the possibilities of life long trouble down the road. And selfish for risking her own life and leaving her husband and older children with a houseful of kids to look after.

    Faith goes so far, and then you have to use your HEAD. Sorry I wrote a novel, but this is one of those issues that gets under my skin.
    Courtney @ The Mommy Matters recently posted..I want what I want, when I want it…

  9. Stesha says

    My husband and I are parents to 7 beautiful children that we love and cherish dearly!

    I never had major pregnancy or birth complications until the birth of my twins two years ago. It was so traumatic: I had a blood transfusion before their birth. An unexpected cesarean. They both spent a full month in the nicu. My son (the youngest twin) was admitted back into the hospital after only been home 3 weeks. He couldn’t keep down milk. Breastmilk or formula and was losing weight daily. We spent 2 more months in the hospital before we realized he needed a surgery. He had a “peg tube” inserted into his stomach so he could eat (liquid only) and a nissen (sic) placed around his esophagus so he couldn’t vomit.

    It was even harder when we came home. His feedings through his tube were on a strict schedule. If we had to be somewhere at a certain time – picking up the older kids from school. I’d have to pack up all his supplies and feeding bag. I was so paranoid while driving because I was afraid the tube would come out or the other twin would reach and grab it.

    My son’s tube was removed after a year. He eats normally. He’s a happy, loving, funny, and mischievous little tot at times:)

    After that ordeal my husband and I decided together that having one more wasn’t worth my life or the risk of having our other children losing time with their parents.

    This is just our story and what was best for us. I do wish Michelle and the baby a complication free pregnancy and delivery.

    Hugs and Mocha,

    Stesha
    Stesha recently posted..Beauty Bag Goodies

    • Jessica says

      Your experience sound similar to mine and is exactly why we have chosen the same. I too wish them well and hope they have a very uneventful pregnancy.

  10. says

    This was beautifully written (as always), Jessica. I commend you for tackling such a sticky situation.

    With all the struggles, my husband and I are having to conceive just one more child, I am completely envious of any woman who can get pregnant on her own at the drop of a hat. 20 children seems too many to me and I worry about the Duggar’s emotional, financial and physical well being. All those children can not possibly be getting everything they need, can they? Although, having said that… they must know what they’re doing.
    Tonya recently posted..The Perfect Vacation

    • Courtney @ The Mommy Matters says

      I think that the financial aspect is being handled by US from their TV show and promotional propaganda. But, I agree that all of those kids can’t possibly be getting everything they need from their parents. I have ONE child and don’t always feel like he gets enough from me. And it’s not fair to the older children to have them be responsible for so many little kids.
      Courtney @ The Mommy Matters recently posted..I want what I want, when I want it…

      • Jessica says

        Totally agree. When one of mine was hospitalized last year I kept thinking that there is no way we could manage if we had many more kids. You just can\’t give them the individualized care when they need it, if ever an emergency arises. I could see having a few more but 20? There is no way you can handle that many and know they are each getting their needs met from their parents (not from a sibling buddy).

  11. says

    I also think of having more children. I don’t think we will for reasons like financial, emotional, time, etc… But I think it would be nice to have four or five.
    I have a problem with a family having 20 or more children. It’s totally not my business and I usually don’t spew judgment of people; I don’t want to do that here either. It just “seems” like something is not right in that situation–that the best care for their children is not their first priority, never mind the underlying misogyny of their beliefs (yep that sounds like judgment!). Anyway, I feel similarly about the octomom. I worry about her mental health and the welfare of those kids. That’s me.
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  12. says

    I so agree with you on this. I can’t imagine why she’d want to go through another pregnancy after the scare she had last time. It wasn’t just her daughter’s health…SHE was also in danger. She’s risking leaving all the rest of those children without a mother because of something she believes? I understand faith…I’m a woman of faith for sure…but there are times when you have to really consider what God is saying to you….are they so dead set on having this lifestyle that they aren’t listening? Ya know? (of course you knwo)
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  13. says

    I can’t believe they are chancing it again after all their struggles with Josie. I hope they did this for the right reasons, and it truly is their religious convictions that made this baby happen.

    Everything happens for a reason, I suppose.

    But can I just say…how do they find time to have sex??? This, to me, is mind-blowing!
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  14. says

    I am envious because of her ability to have sex with her husband, get pregnant and have a child. Never worried, never terrified of loss, never preoccupied with the “what ifs”. I agree that her having so many makes me a little green, I would have liked 3 children…and while I have 2 I always wonder about the other…yet for me it comes back to the envy and hurt of her just being able to get pregnant. My friends who want their 2nd or 3rd child who are unable, the unfairness makes my heart ache.

    It was a gorgeous post as always myfriend….and gives me more to think about. Xo
    Kir recently posted..RemembeRED: Listen To Your Mom

    • Jessica says

      Absolutely Kir, I am nodding in agreement with everything that you said. I wish that our friends who would just like one or one more could have what they so deeply want.

  15. says

    No nastygrams from me – amen to everything you said. I think the Duggars are being – and have been for some time – very irresponsible with her health and the health of their unborn child, and extremely unfair to their other children.

    And I don’t buy their faith philosophy – that God just keeps “giving” them these children. I think they know exactly what they’re doing and they keep doing it, sadly, for media attention. I mean, please – she has to know her cycle backward and forward at this point. Even if they don’t believe in birth control, couldn’t they just take some time off from their baffling marathon sex life (seriously, I have one and I can barely find the time) for one week each month?

    Suffice to say, I’m not a fan.
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  16. says

    I have always dreamed of a big family with lots of kids and I do believe that each child is a blessing. However, at what risk? Her last delivery was so incredibly risky for both her and Josie. I just couldn’t see myself putting my family at risk like that again.
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  17. Life As Wife says

    YES! This is the post that needs to be read. People are so extreme one way another when it comes to the Duggars recent announcement but this? Just explains the genuine concern!

  18. says

    I actually have a post about this coming up on my blog tomorrow. I get that they have beliefs about birth control, but with her last pregnancy both her life and her daughter’s were in grave danger. I just don’t see how she can justify risking her life (with 19 other kids counting on her) and putting another baby in harms way like that.
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  19. Sela Toki says

    I’ve never watched their show and only learn of them from clips from Magazines and TV. All I can say is “WOW”. If they have this many children and are able to have them well mannered and good citizens, then they must be doing something right. They have their own faith and love that binds them together. Children are learning responsibilities. And now a days, with so many broken families, the Duggars can be a family that we can all look up to.
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  20. says

    I think the problem is they “can’t stop” because they don’t believe in any form of birth control. I don’t have a deep rooted religious faith like this, I tend to make decisions based on logic and facts, but they don’t. Everything they do is guided by their faith. And I guess for that I can’t criticize them. They have to do what is right for their beliefs and their belief system would never support them preventing a pregnancy.

    It is scary, but in the end I don’t really feel like it is anything that I have a right to have an opinion on, the same way I hope other parents would not judge the fact that I work outside the home or have our children involved in so many activities.

  21. says

    I agree with you and I so know how it feels to want one more. I think my husband and I may come to the same place on this and I pray that we do. I waited until our testing was done on the fetus we lost to fetal teratoma to make sure there were no other complications or disorders because I did not want to purposely take a big risk with a 4th child and 7th pregnancy.

    At 19 kids and Josie with so many issues at birth and such a complicated pregnancy, I am with you, I think I would have stopped.
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  22. says

    I can’t imagine how hard it was for you to turn this over in your head, and thank you for sharing it. I don’t know where the tipping point is for me, but they have reached it, and it seems irresponsible. I feel terrible saying that, because I truly try to live and let live. I just feel as though they are now putting their own interests and wants before the interests of their other children :(

    • Jessica says

      Me too! I had a hard time even writing this because I don\’t like to be judgmental about peoples right to make choices for their own family but this one was just not sitting right with me.

    • Jessica says

      I agree, I remember my doctor coming to see me after I got out of the ICU and saying that there was such a thing as taking a close call for what it is, counting your blessings and calling it good and, in this case, I think they need to do the same.

  23. says

    I totally agree!! I am all for big families and believe that those children need to get to earth one way or another-so if it is in a good family who is raising them right even better– but when you are starting to seriously risk the mother’s health too I just don’t believe that is what God intended.

    I haven’t kept up with their family in a while, but when I heard what happened with the 19th and all of the complications- yea it is time to be done.
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    • Jessica says

      That is such a neat way to look at it Emmy, never thought of it that way and I do think they are taking too much of a risk at this point.

  24. says

    I have admired that Duggars for being able to raise so many children and still be {somewhat} well adjusted. However, I struggled when I read that they were expecting baby #20. It just seems so selfish to risk the life of the baby and to risk the other 19 growing up without a mother. All this comes at what cost?
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  25. says

    I too hoped for a big family (4+), but IVF is not the way to go! I thanked God for my healthy (albeit premature) twins and promised to never complain again!! I’ve also gone birth control free for a few years or so . . . just to see. But I remain happy and blessed to have just two!
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    • Jessica says

      Birth control free was how we got our surprise baby, never thought it would happen after so many years of fertility struggles but definitely couldn\’t risk IVF again after all we went through. I guess that is why I have a hard time with their decision, I can\’t imagine risking another NICU stay after barely finishing the last one.

    • Jessica says

      I had never before thought of them as being in it for the publicity but this last pregnancy makes you wonder a bit.

  26. says

    I feel like if it were 100 years ago, when people just kept having babies until their bodies stopped being able to make them, they would probably continue to have this baby and deal with what comes. I am in awe of their ability to stay debt-free, have the patience and energy to raise all the kids and homeschool them, and while they are on the fringe, they are still a relatively normal bunch of people. I pray the pregnancy goes well for Michelle and the baby. Regarding the autism, I wonder if it’s because they make so much of their cleaning products and such from scratch? They would make an interesting control group for finding out if there are environmental factors affecting the autism causes.
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    • Jessica says

      I totally agree and have thought that myself, we stopped using many chemicals in our home with my daughter and I was totally paranoid about it with my subsequent kids and none have autism BUT with that said I know families who are extremely careful and still have children with autism. So hard to know.

  27. says

    This is exactly why I have a hard time with the Duggars now. Before, each of their pregnancies were healthy and normal, so it was none of my business. They all seem to love each other very much and are well cared for. And it still is none of my business, really. But her last pregnancy resulted in a very premature baby that was fortunate to make it through but the risk is high this time for a repeat, and it could be even worse. I just hope everything is healthy this time around. And hopefully this will be her last. I mean, 20 kids. That’s a nice, even number to end on, I think.
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    • Jessica says

      Totally agree, I was all for it up until her last pregnancy. She seemed to have endless amounts of patience and their children are loved and cared for but this pregnancy does not seem to be the most responsible decision in my mind.

  28. says

    I just read from another poster that they were having baby #20 but admittedly I don’t follow the show so after reading your post I had to go look up what happened with baby #19. So sad. I wish her a safe and healthy pregnancy this time.

    I do understand everyone’s point about how much time she can devote to each child and with her age this is a big risk. Again I don’t watch the show so I don’t know how her time is shown divided with the kids (the only thing that comes to mind is Kate plus 8 and kids running everywhere). I must admit her age and the risk this pregnancy carries does worry me but all I can do is wish her well.
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    • Jessica says

      I have a hard time dividing my time now but if they are happy with taking care of that many kids than they can go for it. The problem I have with #20 is the risk they are taking that could affect all of them.

  29. says

    I may not have the same belief system as the Duggars, but I have no problems with them choosing to have as many children as they are blessed with. Financially, and other aspects, they can make it work.

    However having one more after a traumatic pregnancy/delivery combined with her age worries me. I could be wrong, but I thought I read an article a few months ago about them experimenting with fertility drugs. I really hope she has a smooth pregnancy and delivery, as well as a healthy baby.
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    • Jessica says

      Exactly, this is exactly my thoughts. I can\’t imagine risking my children not having a mother to have more babies.

  30. says

    Really, I couldn’t agree with you more. I would love to have 5 or more children. I know that it’s probably not a reality for me at this point and I’m okay with that. How awesome would it be to always have a baby?!?!? But, you’re absolutely right…at this point I’m not sure how she faces another birth after her last scare.

    Also, I just reread your “New Life” post. I read it the first time, but I don’t think I completely got it until this read. Wow, just wow.

    • Jessica says

      Thank you Jaime, I had a hard time writing this post because as much as I agree with a woman\’s right to make her own choices this one just didn\’t sit well with me.

      And that post, New Life? I can\’t even reread it. I wrote it but can barely revisit the time.

  31. says

    I really thought after their last one, they would be done.

    I’ve always admired the Duggars- being able to take care of that many kids and having zero debt. They seem so functional.

    Though, I read a post last week(wish I’d saved the link, I don’t remember who wrote it) from a mom of two boys who have autism and she was talking about how it’s not fair that the Duggars have so many kids and none have(or at least, from what we know) any sort of disability. And that maybe if they did, the Duggars wouldn’t have kept going. And how it’s not fair that the Duggars are 0 for 20(19? I seriously forget) when it comes to autism and she is 2 for 2. It really made me think- as does your post today.
    Shell recently posted..Someone Else Be the Adult, Please

    • Jessica says

      Honestly I have wondered that too. How in the world do they have so many children with no issues and I have a house full of autism and other health issues? I don\’t wish any of it on them it just seems that with that many kids they would have encountered more but haven\’t.

  32. Stephanie says

    Although I do not follow their show, I hear enough to know what their beliefs are and how much trouble they had with the last baby. I feel the same as you about it and I pray that there is no complications this time!
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  33. says

    I’ve got to say, I’ve always been jealous of Mrs. Duggar, but not the way most people think. I envy her faith, her good additude and outlook on life. I can’t imagine living through eveything she has. Her life would have made me jaded, but it has made her extreamly strong and well-rounded.

    I can’t argue with her decision to trust God no matter what, and to not let what happened with baby Josie change her beliefs or shake her faith. I wish I was as strong as she is.

    I would have made a different decision, but I can’t fault the one she has made.
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    • Jessica says

      I do respect her commitment to her faith and the amazing amount of patience she has with her children but this is one decision I just can\’t agree with her on.

      • says

        I wouldn’t choose the way she has either. I don’t hold the same beliefs as the Duggars, and we stopped after 3 kids (2 pregnancies). I come from a really fertile family (my grandma had 13 kids and my great grandma had 19) so it has crossed my mind that if I did believe the same things as Mrs. Duggar, my house could be just as full.

        I think the point that Shell made below was really interesting. I wonder if things would be different if there was Autism or something else in their family. I always think of Mrs. Duggar before the TV show when she had 8 kids under 10, a 3 bedroom house and one washing machine. I can’t imagine. But if Autism or something else was thrown into the mix, what would that have looked like?
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  34. says

    Oddlt enough, my last post was on the Duggars, too.

    I understand your point of view without even having gone through the same struggles. I would be just as wary…in fact, I’m already wary due to Klaw’s medical condition.

    Although I am also a Christian, I do not subscribe to same kind of belief system the Duggars do and my decisions would be very different under similar circumstances.
    Dana K recently posted..Why I Won’t Birth 20 Kids

    • Jessica says

      I have a really hard time with their decision this time. I don\’t have the same religious beliefs as them but am all for people making their own choices but at what cost?

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