The Duggar family of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting fame will soon be 20 Kids and Counting. This piece of news (which personally affects no one I know yet has taken up considerable Facebook conversation time for a lot of people I do personally know) has made me wonder why in the hell I care and why it make me a little crazy that Michelle Duggar is going to pop out kid number 20?
It isn't the fact the the Duggars are "whoring" (not my word here. I borrowed) out their kids to make some money on TV. I actually don't have an issue with that. I mean, the kids may be slightly embarrassed by some of their childhood antics as they grow older and you could blame that on the parents, I suppose. But seriously, how many parents don't threaten to show their kid's future spouses embarrassing photos of their childhood? Do these kids have to put up with people in their homes and perform for the cameras and wake up early to shoot "reality"? Yeah, but I don't call that abuse. Inconvenient, maybe, but not abusive in my book. In fact, I am pretty sure the paycheck has provided some nice things for that family and I know there are parents who do far worse things to make a buck to raise their families.
It isn't the fact that they use a whole lot of stuff. I mean, they are Americans, after all, and all of us Americans use far more than our share of the world's natural resources. Think mud hut in Africa if you aren't following me on this one. Just the fact that we use any kind of motorized transportation or electricity of any kind pretty much throws us into the "more than our fair share" category.
It isn't the fact that the older kids have lots of responsibility for the younger ones. Which, let's face it, they do. One mom and dad cannot possibly be there to wipe every tear and doctor every scrape and brush every tooth when there are that many kids in the house. But that is OK with me, too. They all seem to treat each other pretty well. Maybe it isn't "fair"that the older kids are essentially "mom", but we all screw our kids up in one way or another. I figure they can spend their adult lives doing whatever they want. And if the worst thing that happens to them is that they have to care for their younger siblings, they are doing pretty well, really. If you don't believe me, let me tell you a story about a kid who has a hard time opening her eyes all the way due to undeveloped muscles in her eyelids from being kept in the corner of a dark trailer for the first year of life.
I actually do understand all of the above arguments and don't disagree with those who stand on them. But none of those reasons speak to me. But I think I know the one that does.
Michelle is not a young woman. Difficulties associated with pregnancy and childbirth do not decrease as one gets older. The last Duggar pregnancy was fraught with complications and resulted in the birth of a micro-preemie. Mom and baby both survived and are doing well, but it was touch-and-go for quite a while. Does this mean she doesn't have a right to have more kids? No. I had a preemie and a complicated pregnancy and chose to have another child . AFTER consulting with multiple health professionals. Do I know that Michelle hasn't gotten the go ahead from her doctor and been told there is a 0% chance that she will have another complicated pregnancy? No, I don't know that for sure. But I do know that I wouldn't bet the farm on the odds of that happening.
Now to the real issue for me...Michelle and her husband have both said publicly that they will have as many kids "as God sees fit" and that if she keeps getting pregnant, it is God's will.
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Back up the hockey-team-converted-to-Duggar-family-transport-vehicle bus. If God lets you get pregnant again it is his will to risk your own life and the life of a child and possibly leave your other 19 children motherless? Isn't that kind of like the people who choose not to treat their children for cancer because if it is God's will for them to live, they will live without medical intervention? I may have missed the boat, but it seems to me there was something in that there Bible about free will and choosing to go down one path or the other. Last time I checked, the ability or desire to do something didn't necessarily make it a slam dunk in the what-would-Jesus-do "right" game.
So is it God's will for the Duggars to have 20 kids? Maybe. I missed the memo directly from God on that subject evidently. But the memo I did see (in the form of the most printed book of all time) is that as humans we are given free will and are indeed fallible. We don't always choose the right path, even when we think we are doing God's will. We are sinful. We are broken. We are selfish.
I can't help but wonder if maybe Michelle and Jim Bob aren't just a little swayed by what THEY desire rather than determining what it is that GOD desires. Do I have any clue (much less hard evidence) what it is that God desires for the Duggars as far as their family size goes? Ummmmm, no. But I am pretty sure no one else does either. Maybe they are just a little bit selfish - kind of like the rest of us mere mortals. And doesn't that leave open the possibility that they are making ill-informed decisions and then justifying them in a way that is hard to argue with (i.e. God's will) since no one knows that for sure?
Of course I don't know any of this for sure. But, as always, I have an opinion. That I am definitely not afraid to share. After all, if I can share it, it must be God's will that I blog about it all I want to, right? Argue with that one, people.