Julie Cole: The Baby Machine


The Duggars' Big Announcement

The Mama of Many Weighs In

At last count, I had been asked 1023 times for my opinion on the latest Duggar family announcement. Looks like Mama Duggar is expecting baby #20, and I am happy to comment on that news—the only caveat being that I have never actually watched the show, nor have I ever read an article about them.  However, I don’t live under a rock and have certainly been exposed to the chatter on Facebook and Twitter. There are a lot of opinions flying around about this biggie-sized family, so I’m happy to contribute my $0.02 worth to the discussion.

 How do I feel about Michelle Duggar having her twentieth baby? I feel the same way I do about people who have one kid, two kids, four kids or are childless. I don’t really care. I’ll make my reproductive choices and everyone else can do the same regarding theirs. Whether a family conceives, adopts or fosters a child – all of these decisions best made by those involved. I have no interest in judging other families.

 What about the “sibling parents” buzz about how awful it is that older siblings are paired up with younger ones? Sure, we don’t want kids raising kids, but I don’t see how helping out and having some responsibility over siblings is a bad thing. Around my house, I spend a ridiculous amount of time listening to the biggies fight over who gets to watch the toddler. I’m so sick of hearing “But I had him and she tried to take him from me” or “It’s my turn to watch him – I haven’t watched him once today!” Those are not exactly the statements of resentful kids, bogged down in responsibilities and missing out on childhood. Sometimes I think another baby would keep the peace because there would be more people for them to fuss over!

 “Is it selfish to have that many children”? OK, maybe it is. Someone once asked me to give one unselfish reason people have children. That was years ago and I still don’t have an answer. Sure, as parents we end up living unselfish lives - but everyone has children for selfish reasons, whether it’s your first child, sixth or twentieth.

 The “She’s 45-years-old which means there is a greater risk of chromosomal abnormalities” position? Yes, statistically she’s at greater risk of having a child with Down syndrome. Somehow I’m guessing that raising a child with Down syndrome is not something this family would have an issue with. If you’re one of those “it’s not fair to the child/it’s a burden on society” types, I suggest you climb out of your 19th century brain and spend some time with families who have a child with Down syndrome. If you want to mitigate the risks for yourself, then go ahead and do what you want to do - it’s completely your business.

Would I want to have 20 children? Not really, which is why I don’t. Generally, I focus on the goings-on in my uterus and let the other mamas worry about theirs. Sound like a reasonable plan?