Facts & Opinions: The Duggars Plus 20

I have a persisting problem of not being able to stay asleep. This morning, however, after waking up way too early, I was unable to go back to sleep because of my buzzing twitter timeline.
The Duggars have announced the upcoming birth of their 20th child. Having children isn’t the reason for conflicting opinions. I would say even the parents’ motivation for procreation isn’t necessarily a controversial issue. My opinion is simply a rational one: simply because some are able to have so many children doesn’t mean they should, a family shouldn’t be run as a business where you have to schedule an appointment just to spend time with a parent, and self-sufficiency is not defined as having household items donated or making profits based simply on how many children you have!

Procreation, Procreation, Procreation!
It saddens me that our society is more concerned with the McCaughey septuplets, the Nadya Suleman’s octuplets plus six, the Gosselins’ sextuplets plus twins, and the Duggar family’s soon to be twenty biological children. It amazes me that those who are pro-choice only focus on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. These are the issues that get the spotlight. Be childless or childful by CHOICE.
Those left out are the ones who have no choice. You rarely hear stories about couples struggling to conceive. I’ve never seen a story on a community financally supporting an infertile couple’s pursuit of conception. And of course, insurance companies will eagerly cover abortions, pregnancies, and sterilizations; but almost never any procedure that will aid in the ability to procreate.
I have sent countless emails to both the state commission of health insurance and organizations aligned with the pro-choice movement. Certainly I understand that health insurance in the United States is a privilege and not a right. Still, for those individuals afforded health insurance, they should have access to all reproductive options. To the pro-choice movement, I simply ask, how can you say you support women’s reproductive rights when you remain silent on the issue of infertility? In my opinion, the right to get pregnant by any medical means necessary should be equal to the right to terminate a pregnancy by any medical means necessary. But, let’s get back to the Duggars.

Family or Business?
In all the stories I’ve read and videos I’ve seen, the Duggars have said that rather than parenting, they delegate. Each older sibling has a younger sibling buddy. The older children are not only responsible for raising the younger ones but also for educating them. Time spent with parents, the Duggar parents boasted, is scheduled with each child getting a weekly appointment.
How is this not like a business? In my last job, I had delegated duties coupled with weekly meetings with my boss. My boss called us a family, but in the end I realized she cared more about job responsibilities than the individual employees.
But the kids are happy, right? On their television show, the Duggar children are shown as happy, cared for, and loved. In such a strict religious environment, is it any wonder that in the public eye, the children are expected to be happy and obedient sons and daughters. I do not dispute that the children’s physical needs aren’t met. It is obvious that the children receive plenty of food and clothing. But, in my opinion, the Duggar children deserve so much more! Also, I am not so näive as to believe a reality show is not staged or edited!

Self-sufficient? Seriously?
The Duggar family is proud to admit they have never relied on government assistance. To the outside observer, that statement of self-reliance is enough to justify the family’s desire to have so many children. But, look a little closer – the facts tell a different story.

  • Jim-Bob Duggar earns approximately 200k a year from his rental properties; however, by having his family on TLC, he has earned approximately 1.5m per season. No wonder they are self-sufficient! They may spend over $3000/month on food, but it is hardly a sacrifice or a lesson to others.
  • Their home was built and furnished by Discovery channel corporate sponsors. Again, congratulations for being debt free, but reliance on a television show (that exploits your family) for 90% of your income and receiving free construction and appliances for your home is not the same as being self-sufficient. Take away the television show and all of its perks, and then show me how it is to raise a family of almost twenty-two on an income of 200k. In addition, many claim that the Duggars were not put on the Discovery channel’s payroll until the 16th child was born, but this is incorrect. Beginning with the birth of their fourteenth child, the Duggars had regularly scheduled specials until the network decided to create a television show.

Regardless of your religious beliefs or your desire to be a parent, I think you must admit the portrayal of the Duggar family is devoid of very important physical, emotional, and financial truths.

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About debhalasz

I am a free-lance writer, skilled in writing press-releases, profiles, web copy, articles, and album reviews. I also am a skilled researcher in all areas. I have a MS degree in Educational Pscyhology and am currently in the dissertation phase of my PhD program. My passions are second language learning, learning strategies, music, musicology, neuroscience, and neuroeducation. I am a fan of all genres of music and love learning more about both indie and major-labeled artists as well as the behind-the-scenes people who make them look so good! View all posts by debhalasz

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