The Duggars have been under a lot of fire recently after the recent pre-mature birth of their 19th child, Josie. Josie was born 4 months prior to her due date after mom Michelle had complications with pre-eclampsia.
Criticism from the medical and parenting communities have been both harsh and sometimes completely false in terms of medical risk:
“ ‘The risks of additional pregnancies start to go up dramatically after four,’ warns Dr. Jeffrey Richardson,a Ventura, Calif., obstetrician who had practiced for more than 30 years.”
“ ‘Postpartum hemorrhage, dysfunctional labor, preterm labor and early miscarriage are all risks.’ ”
To which I say, OH REALLY? I have never ever heard that claim before. Ever. Just because someone is a doctor, (he is a general surgeon, by the way), doesn't make them an expert in another field.
People are outraged that Michelle and Jim Bob have put baby Josie in grave danger by conceiving her. Other parents are wagging their fingers and saying "I told you so," and "it was bound to happen since they didn't stop having kids."
The fact is, this could have happened with baby # 1 or 2 or 7. It can happen to anyone and I don't believe Michelle and Jim Bob increased their risks any. I mean, baby # 18 was just fine, as were the 17 before that. Obviously Michelle's body can handle pregnancy and childbirth very well. I know some of you will disagree with me, and that's fine – but you can't deny that she had 18 healthy children before baby Josie.
You might as well hold your criticism; it doesn't sway the Duggars. Michelle had a miscarriage after conceiving on birth control pills and her doctor said the pills were the cause. Now the Duggars are avoiding birth control and abstaining after babies (40 days after a boy, 80 days after a girl) like the Bible says.
Adds Michelle: “It is not as if we’re going for another (child) immediately. This is going to be a year of different focus for me, getting Josie through her first year of life.”
As it should be.
The Duggars say in People: “Each child is a gift from God.” Jim Bob adds, “The negatives don’t bother us.” Agrees Michelle: “Our hearts haven’t changed.”
I don't know at what point the Duggars will decide to stop having children, but in watching the show, I have observed the following:
The kids are well cared for. They eat nutritious food, they are always dressed nicely, and they are clean. They speak kindly to each other, they help each other and teach each other. They are grateful for what they have, they make do with what they don't, and they love each other.
I don't care if Michelle and Jim Bob have 100 more children, they are doing something right. Those children piled into the tiny room where baby Josie was being kept in an incubator, and the room was quiet. My two children would be hooting and hollering and I'd be hard-pressed to keep my 5 year old from knocking something over. The older Duggar children explained the situation to the younger ones, engaged them in seeing their newest sister and cried at how small Josie is. They are a close-knit, compassionate bunch.
As for Josie, she is recovering from a bowel perforation and now weighs more than 2 pounds. The Duggars will relocate to Little Rock Arkansas, for the next year to care for her. “Josie has been off the ventilator for two weeks now, and they are increasing her feeds little by little,” says Jim Bob. “We pray that she grows strong.”
Michelle is 43 years old. Personally I wouldn't be having babies after that age, but many people do without complication. Personally I wouldn't be having 19 kids and counting either but that's the Duggar's business and as long as they are caring for them the way it appears they are, I don't believe it's our place to criticize them.
It's all too easy to make snap judgments about a family this rare. But if you watch the show at all, you'll see this family is strong in their values, comfortable with who they are, and waist-high in their faith. You're not going to change the way they do things. Regardless of the clown car jokes, all those kids can't go back to where they came from.