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.

44 comments on “How Many is Too Many?”

  1. 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.
    KalleyC recently posted…Are We Really A Society That Hates Children?My Profile

  2. 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.
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  3. 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!! =)

  4. @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” 🙂
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  5. 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!
    kateri recently posted…A New Nursing JobMy Profile

    • 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.
      Arnebya recently posted…Writer’s Workshop: I’m the MamaMy Profile

  6. 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.
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  7. 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.
    Cari recently posted…The Coldest Hell on EarthMy Profile

  8. 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.

  9. 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?
    bravoerunway recently posted…Down with ArgyleMy Profile

  10. 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.
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  11. 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.
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  12. 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.
    Barbara recently posted…2011…where have you gone?My Profile

  13. 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.

  14. 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.
    Miss Donna recently posted…Paying The Price For GrowthMy Profile

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