How Many is Too Many?

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The Duggar family is one for the ages. I’m sure you’ve heard of them by now but if you haven’t allow me to introduce them. They are the family featured on the TLC show 19 and counting. This husband and wife duo, Jim Bob and Michelle, are the parents of 19 yes NINETEEN children. They don’t believe in birth control and have chosen to have as many children as God allows. In some ways, I get that. I’m not going that route, but I get it.

They are a self sufficient debt-free family. Can’t be mad at that. They live in a house they built themselves in Arkansas. The husband works in real estate and is able to take care of their growing brood. They were back in the news less than two years ago when child number 19 was born premature and was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for six months with a life threatening illness. She’s fine now and developing normally. I, for one, thought that after that scare they would change their tune. For me, that would have scared me and I would have been thinking that maybe 19 was a good number and shut up shop.

Well, I did say that was my opinion and that’s what I would have been thinking. They don’t share my sentiments. “If we felt that way, we would have stopped back with our second birth,” says Michelle. She experienced preeclampsia during her second pregnancy with twins John David and Jana who are now 21.

Just a few weeks ago it was announced that Michelle is pregnant with baby number 20. I have to say, I hadn’t balked at their choices before now. This just scares me though. We all know as women that it gets riskier to have children the older we get. I didn’t mention that Michelle is 45. I know women are having children later and later but we can’t ignore the risks though. The other thing is how much can one woman’s body take!! Good grief. They have a few sets of twins here and there but this woman has been pregnant at least 15 times! What the what?! One of their children was married a few years ago and has since become a parent. They will now have a child younger than their grandchild.

My question to you all is how many is too many? Is it as long as you can afford it, keep having babies until your body quits?

Update: Michelle Duggar suffered a miscarriage this afternoon. Tragic.

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44 Responses to How Many is Too Many?
  1. KalleyC
    December 8, 2011 | 7:17 am

    I heard of them, but I didn’t pay attention (until now) how many kids they have. I guess for this family, they’ll have enough when she can no longer give birth.

    I admire them in a way that they can afford to have as many children. I wouldn’t want to have 19 or 20 (way too much for me), but you can’t say they are raising children through debt.

    If we could afford it, I would love to have 4, but we’ll have to see down the line. Finances usually determine how many kids a family has.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:20 pm

      i agree. it comes down to how many we could provide a great life for.

  2. kita
    December 8, 2011 | 7:39 am

    I have always wondered how they afford to keep having kids. I thought the real estate market was down apparently it’s not. To each their own I could not put that much wear and tear on my body. There is another couple who is catching up to them I think they have like 15 or 16.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:21 pm

      wow. i didn’t know another couple was on the same path. pregnancy is rough. i couldn’t see going through it so many times.

  3. Rebecca
    December 8, 2011 | 7:47 am

    In all seriousness when is this lady getting menopause? I don’t see her stopping until she dies or physically is unable.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:22 pm

      i think you might be right.

      • Ladainian
        April 29, 2014 | 8:42 am

        Boom shlaaakka boom boom, problem solved.

  4. TOI
    December 8, 2011 | 10:25 am

    what?!!! 19? what?!!! that’s too many for my liking.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:14 pm

      I know! I can’t even see it!

  5. Latorsha
    December 8, 2011 | 10:34 am

    GIRRRRLLLLL!They can have all those kids, I don’t want any part of it!! I commend those who can take it and are financially able. God bless them!! =)

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:15 pm

      i think i’d be a crazy woman with that many children!

  6. Natalie
    December 8, 2011 | 10:43 am

    OMG—how can one have this many kids without their belly and lady parts falling off? I just don’t get it! I agree the older women get the more risks we are taking.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:15 pm

      Love it! “lady parts falling off”! I’m with you!

  7. Anna
    December 8, 2011 | 1:10 pm

    @Natalie LOL lady parts falling off? 🙂 I know a mom with 8 kids and she looks pretty amazing to me, she is much thinner than I am :(. This makes me mad. Some people are just made for baby “production” 🙂

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:16 pm

      pregnancy certainly takes it toll… so, that’s awesome.

  8. kateri
    December 8, 2011 | 2:33 pm

    Mrs. Duggard just had a miscarriage (annouced this afternoon). While I feel bad that they lost this baby, I almost feel a sense of relief as well. As long as the PARENTS are raising the children and have enough time to go around for all children parents can have as many children as they want. Unfortuantly the Duggars pass their babies off to the older girls to raise once they are no longer toddlers. As the oldest girl in a large family (I came from a family of twelve) where something of the same system was used, I have a serious problem with that. If you want a large family, have the engery to take care of them yourself, and can afford lots of children, go for it! Just don’t pass the child raising repsonsibility on to the oldest girls in the family!

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:17 pm

      thanks for the update. makes this post eerily timely.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:17 pm

      also, i didn’t know that her other children were responsible for so much.

    • Arnebya
      December 27, 2011 | 7:54 am

      I only have 3 and I feel like it’s such a burden and unfair to saddle my older two w/the toddler. There are times I need to pee (preferably alone). There are times I need to be in the bathroom, um, slightly longer. Ahem. And I ask them to sit w/him or play w/him, or just keep him off the steps. I don’t want to say it’s impossible, but how…HOW…is she making the rounds to ALL of them EVERY DAY?

      I commend them for being debt free. I respect her for home schooling. They are nowhere on the radar of using taxpayer money for anything (are they?). Yet…I’d much rather she be healthy and attend to herself and her body’s needs before they try again (I say try b/c not preventing, to me, is trying). And truth be told, I was sad about the miscarriage. It’s devastating (I do not, however, get the whole photo of the baby passed around at the memorial service).

      We are still deciding on #4. Right now the primary reason we have not done it is finances. But, I feel so incomplete. I always dreamed of 4. We always talked about 4. Now the oldest would be 12 years older than the youngest. I never wanted that. So perhaps I can relate; maybe that’s how she feels…incomplete (but in a way more, “warped?” kinda way). Because I think my uterus would have held up a picket sign by #10.

  9. IAAMM
    December 8, 2011 | 3:33 pm

    Call me self – absorbed and maybe even raunchy but the appearance of my body means more than sacrificing it for a million kids. Besides, my husband loves a tight *ahem*…LOL

    My tubes were tied after 2!!!!

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:18 pm

      Too funny! At least you’re honest!

  10. Aubrey
    December 8, 2011 | 3:34 pm

    Honestly, I don’t know how this woman does it…I think I actually kinda *admire* the fact that she is so willing to bring so many children in to a good and loving family. But then my practical nature wins out and it scares me a lot more…what happens if her body can’t take another pregnancy??? Then she leaves 20 children without a mother??? That thought is just so awful! It’s just all really crazy.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:18 pm

      It’s amazing, to say the least. I just think my limit would have been about 16 kids ago.

  11. Cari
    December 8, 2011 | 4:14 pm

    I do feel awful that Michelle had a miscarriage, and know first hand how devestating that can be. My heart goes out to her. I hope the nay sayers don’t take the miscarriage and run with it saying things like, “it’s a sign” and so on. I say whoa…that’s a lotta babies. I am already grieving my pre-pregnancy bod and boobs, I don’t even want to know what happens after 19! But if they are supporting themselves, they seem to be nurturing parents and the children are well cared for, go for it.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:23 pm

      you know a lot of people have been saying it’s a sign. i don’t think that’s fair. i can only imagine what my body would look like after that many babies and it ain’t pretty.

  12. Nerd Girl
    December 8, 2011 | 4:45 pm

    More power to them! If they can afford to have all of those children who am I to say when they should stop?

    As for me and mine? We’re happy with 1. If money were not issue, we might – might – have had another.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:19 pm

      true, very true. certainly takes a lot to keep that family going.

  13. bravoerunway
    December 8, 2011 | 6:20 pm

    I am more concerned about Michelle’s health as well as the baby and it is sad that she miscarried but honestly….20 kids is just too much. I have seen the buddy system and I just wonder, how much time does each child really get with michelle and jimbob?

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:24 pm

      true. i hadn’t even heard of the buddy system until this couple. after a while i guess it seems they’re being raised by their siblings. not fair to them .

  14. krissy
    December 8, 2011 | 6:55 pm

    To me its not a matter of being able to afford that bumber of children, its how much time can she possible devote to each child? I’m sure its a very small amount. I know with my ONE child requires a ton of attention. I think they are short changing the children they already have. I bet the parents have no clue about each childs individual personality. That’s the sad part to me.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:25 pm

      you make great points krissy. the time factor has to be an issue.

  15. Grumpy Grateful Mom
    December 8, 2011 | 11:35 pm

    That’s too bad about the miscarriage. I’ve never watched the show so I’m undecided of the mass quantities of kids issues. But I like that they’re self-sufficient and they must be especially organized. I struggle with my four.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:25 pm

      i do like that they are self-sufficient and raising a debt free family. not too many people can say that.

  16. pauline
    December 9, 2011 | 1:56 am

    You should have as many babies as you can as long as you can handle the finances and responsibility that comes along with having them.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:26 pm

      i hear you, it certainly isn’t up to us to tell her when to stop.

  17. Mimi
    December 9, 2011 | 6:46 am

    I watch their show religiously and I love their family unit and how well they are organized but I find it tragic that her older children have to do much of the rearing with the younger ones. I know her children really have no concept of life outside of the one they live so of course they feel as if they aren’t missing nothing but I just think its unfair for adults to have children and then have the others take care of them ie. their buddy as they call it.

    I am sorry to hear of the miscarriage. While I do believe God told us to be fruitful and multiply I think he gives us discernment as well. After the last pregnancy and complications I believe that she shouldn’t have attempted this again. But who am I. I highly doubt they will stop here. I’m sure she will try again and keep trying and having babies until she hits menopause. That is their belief and I respect it. If it works for them, then have at it.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:27 pm

      i’m with you. i respect their choice, it’s just not my choice.

  18. Barbara
    December 9, 2011 | 12:05 pm

    I don’t know that much about her, but I do know that there were a lot of complications with baby #19 that almost resulted in the loss of both their lives. I can’t believe that she would put her family through it again and potentially leave her other children motherless.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:28 pm

      they have to know the risks. i guess they’re just willing to take that chance. very scary. i’d think that the other kids would be nervous every time she gets pregnant because they know what she’s facing.

  19. Roses Daughter
    December 11, 2011 | 5:07 am

    I just don’t understand how she is able to give equal time and attention to EACH kid?!
    And as a labor and delivery nurse, I’m am in awe that she hasn’t had more complications than she has.
    All that being said, I’m so sorry about her miscarriage. It’s always a sad day for any woman when that happens.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:29 pm

      great points. the lack of time has to be a huge factor. her loss caught me completely off guard.

  20. Alicia @MommyDelicious
    December 11, 2011 | 10:24 pm

    I DEFINITELY couldn’t do it that many times. It’s just too much for me. I mean, my time being pregnant would exceed my time NOT being pregnant. Heck-to-the-NO. I wouldn’t remember what it’s like to NOT be pregnant.

    • Cam
      December 11, 2011 | 11:30 pm

      that’s too much for me too. at some point i’d like to feel like “me”.

  21. Miss Donna
    December 13, 2011 | 5:36 am

    having never watched the show, i’m speaking strictly from the point of view of any woman having 19 children: regardless of your financial situation and how much you love being a mother, you have to consider the health risks involved. in looking at the comments above, it appears that she had at least one complicated pregnancy/birth. just because our bodies may be able to physically produce that number of children, that doesn’t mean we should push it to that limit…discernment, as Mimi stated.

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