A Woman Named Duggar

As most of us know, Michelle Duggar suffered a miscarriage a few weeks back. I was reminded of her loss when I read a blog post by a fellow IF blogger who posted her own thoughts on the situation.  I thought her perspective was a bit surprising.  I expected more compassion, but realize from first-hand experience that we infertiles should, no, need to, express the full-range of hellish emotions, whatever they may be.  However, I wanted to compare her response to the responses of ”non-IF’ers”.  Here is a sample from the news world:

*  “Maybe this miscarriag­e was God’s way of telling her to stop trying to have kids!” (maybe your ignorance is God’s way of telling you to shut-up)

*  ”Yikes, her last baby was premature and almost died. I don’t think it’s going to getter any better for her in the future. I think her body is telling her something and she should listen to it for the sake of the whole family.” (didn’t know bodies could speak, but ok)

*   ”Think the almighty might be trying to tell you something. It is wrong to have so many kids, there is no way you could give all of them an appropriat­e amount of attention.”

*  “That’s what you get for treating your uterus as a weapon of culture war.”  (huh?)

“I still don’t understand why they would try to create another life, after they saw the suffering of the last baby they had.”

*  “She and her husband have made a spectacle of themselves and their procreativ­e promiscuit­y by putting their family in a reality TV show.” (promiscuity–are we even talking about the same show?)

“In the article HP printed yesterday, it said the Duggars wanted privacy in their time of grief. Yeah, right. I’ll bet my Bank of America debit fee that there will be a thousand TV cameras just waiting for Michelle Duggar after the funeral, while she cries a bunch of crocodile tears for her loss of this child.” (hmmn–“loss of child” and “crocodile tears”-didn’t know someone was low enough to put these in the same sentence)


Honestly, I am not surpised by their responses.  I am pissed though.  Not because their reactions only validate the notion that the world at large cannot relate to the IF community.  People cannot help their ignorance.  What bothers me the most is the cruelty behind the words.

In the eyes of the public, Michelle Duggar and her reproductive abilities are critciized for three main reasons 1) She has 19 children.  2)  She is 45 years old and 3) She suffered a life-threatening pregnancy before she became pregnant with number 20.

I’ll be honest: when she annouced pregnancy #18 and #19 my reaction was similar to the comments above.  I thought she was “too old” to have any additional children.  I wished, or rather demanded, that she be happy with the number she already had and believed she was a fool for not sterilizing herself after her difficult pregnancy with Josie.  Then, infertility entered my life and my world was changed. 

I find it interesting that so many people correlate the number of children she has had with this miscarriage.  It’s funny how everyone becomes an expert when fertility is involved, isn’t it?  The truth is that she could have one baby or 30 babies at this point; none of them caused her to miscarry this child. Neither did her tumultous pregnancy with Josie.  If the pseudo-doctors of the world are going to make a diagnosis, they should at least get their facts straight.

Perhaps what is so damning about these comments is how they imply God caused the miscarriage because he knew no other way to tell Michelle Duggar she shouldn’t have more children.  I find it ironic that these people are likely the same who have never cracked a Bible or attended church a day in their life.  Yet, in the world of fertility, they seem to be divine prophets from God.  As an infertile, hearing a comment from someone that ‘God doesn’t want this’ or ‘God doesn’t want that’ from me is treading on hallowed ground.  Like many of you, my relationship with God is intimate, personal and intensely trusting.  Someone who maliciously intrudes upon this relationship is abominable.

So, should Michelle Duggar have more children?  Is she a fool for having the number she has had?  That is not for me to answer, simply because I am not Michelle.  I have tried to put myself in her shoes;  Does someone have the right to tell me I shouldn’t have children because I am 35 and my husband is 42?  Do I have the “right” to seek infertility treatments when I have bills that are unpaid?  Should I not consider IUI or IVF because it is not natural?  I don’t know about you, but no one has the right to make these decisions for me except myself, my husband, and my doctor. 

I know the pain from not being able to conceive a child.  It is a devastating, deplorable condition I would not wish on anyone, even if they already have 19 children.  If I grieve every month for the child I have never created, doesn’t Michelle have the right to grieve for the child she carried three months in her body,even if she is 45?

Is it fair that Michelle has 19 children when I (and others) have none?  No.  Is it fair that she can conceive a baby by merely thinking about it?  No.  Will it hurt like hell when she makes her next pregnancy annoucement?  Yes, definitely!  Though I am a bitter infertile and seem to lose a little more of my ability to stay logical and rational every day, I must hold on to my empathy for others.  It is part of what is left of me.


7 responses to this post.

  1. I do think the press coverage has been odd on this issue but considering she says that they have left their family planning to god because of the miscarriage she had between her 1st & 2nd children she believes and is quite vocal on it being gods punishment to her I can see why people have reacted aa they have. I think it will be interesting how they think god is speaking to them by making then live through their last 2 pregnancies, and I think that maybe the kicker for IF people or not depending on what they have to say.


  2. […] started this post as a comment on The Stork Whisperer’s post, but it just got longer…and longer…and longer…so I decided to post it here […]


  3. OK, I started typing out a response here, but it just got longer and longer, so to avoid you having all my word vomit on your post, I did my own post about it 🙂


    I do agree with a lot of what you said!


  4. Posted by shewithrotteneggs on January 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Ok, so I had no idea who Michelle Duggar is…I had to go look her up just to get up to speed here. But, that’s not what I wanted to mention. I was thinking recently about how damn bitter all of this has made me and how much empathy I have lost over the past 2 years. Empathy used to be one of my strongest characteristics, but not so much anymore. I was just thinking that I wonder if it ever comes back. Once this journey ends – one way or another – will I ever stop being bitter and be able to have empathy again? I like that you’ve decided to be intentional about that – maybe I should, too.


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