Thursday, March 11, 2010

How Michelle Duggar and I are Alike

Not long ago I was watching the show “19 Kids and Counting.” You know the show that chronicles the life of the Duggar family. They live in Northwest Arkansas and have 19 children. She has given birth to all of these children. Now full disclosure – Since I grew up in Arkansas I am required to either be related to or know Michelle Duggar. Well I almost know her. My sister in law is a pediatrician in Northwest Arkansas. She used to go to Bible Study Fellowship with Mrs. Duggar. Sis in law reports that she stopped attending sometime after the birth of the 14th or 15th child. Also, she is not their doctor, but has been at the hospital while several of her births were taking place. The children are as enchanting and polite as they appear on the show she reports. Further, Mrs. Duggar is naturally beautiful and truly sweet. So there you go, I almost know her.

I began thinking of what we had in common. Then it hit me: We are both criticized by the size of our respective families. Hers is too large and mine is too small. Society, through overt and subconscious means tries to dictate the size our families should be. Think about it. Families are supposed to have 2 or 3 children. Anything higher or lower than that, there must be an approved reason. Here are the reasons I’ve observed.

If you have no children or only 1… Society’s reason:
There’s something physically or mentally wrong with the woman. Why else would you not have 2 or 3 babies? Not long ago while visiting my hometown a family friend asked me, “Anne, when are you going to have another baby?” I answered, dripping with sarcasm (as usual), "Probably 9 months after I conceived." She couldn’t believe I thought that an inappropriate question.

If you can’t have or don’t want children people always want to know the details. Perhaps we should all wear signs or letters; like the scarlet letter, so othesr won’t have to ask our status on such issues. People will delve into these private matters as if it’s their right to know. We’ll ask people when they will have a baby, but no one asks, “Why aren’t you going to get busy and get your nose done already?”

Only children are supposed to be coddled, spoiled and behave like peers to their parents. Of my friends and acquaintances, I know many only children who are lovely and gracious. Conversely, I know many jerks who come from the heralded two or three child homes.

If you have 4 children… Society’s reason:
You’re obviously trying for a boy or a girl. Perhaps symmetry is important and you need 2 boys and 2 girls.

5 children
Here’s where it gets interesting. You’re either trying for that elusive boy or girl, you are rich, or you might have a religious conviction that encourages a large family and/or discourages birth control.

6 children
You definitely have a religious conviction. You might even be part of the “quiverfull movement.”  .

7 or more children
Either you’re trying to be the next Von Trapp family or you’re just nuts...

Leaving it completely up to God
Mrs. Duggar has said on her show that she leaves the number of children she has, “completely up to God. What does that even mean???? I’m no theologian or Biblical Scholar, but I’m certain there has been only one birth that was left “completely up to God.” As a woman of faith I try to put things in God’s hands. We (Mrs. D. and I) might even have similar views on this. Maybe we’re both putting things in God’s hands and making choices and decisions based upon our interpretation of heavenly wisdom.

I have friends who have become mothers in every conceivable (pun intended) fashion. Those who received fertility treatments and those who’ve adopted give credit to God not doctors and attorneys.

As for me
There has been no decision made on the size of our family. Not sure when the final verdict will come down on this. Perhaps my quiver is just slow to fill or is already filled to overflowing.


  1. When we moved to a new house, I gave all the baby stuff away. One particular busy body was very concerned what I do when the next baby came. I told him there were no plans for another baby. You would thought I told him we intended to feed our child poison for dinner.

  2. ALRIGHTY THEN! I won't ask THAT question again! :)Every child is a blessing from God, but if he truly wants me to have another, it will certainly be an act of God to overcome all the barriers I have set up!

  3. That's very well written. I once asked my cousin, who had been dating a guy for a while, if it was annoying when people asked when they were getting married. My experience was once you get married they rush to ask when are you going to have a baby. Then after you have a baby they ask when are you going to have another one. Annoying.

  4. I often get asked when we are going to have our fourth! Unfortunately, a medical condition prevents that. But seriously... why do people think that the number of children we have is up to public debate?!

  5. Anne, you're so clever. Glad to get to read your blog. I had to laugh at this one. After our oldest turned two and it was apparent he was an anbundance of energy my mom gave me an article that was all about why it was okay to have only one child and how to know if one was just right for your family. I had to wonder, "why is my Catholic mom giving this article to me? Is she trying to tell me something?" I took it in stride, and well you know we kept going and had number two. By the way, she still LOVES her "Lovey" that you gave to me for her at my baby shower -- the pink and green blanket with an elephant head. You rock!