Opinion Brief

A 20th baby for the Duggars: Too risky?

Though her last pregnancy was fraught with dangerous complications, Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting is excited to have No. 20 on the way

On Tuesday, an excited Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting announced that they are expecting their twentieth child. Commentators were less buoyant: After all, Michelle's last pregnancy was a complicated one, leading to the premature delivery of daughter Josie — born three months early in December 2009. Michelle also suffered from preeclampsia, a life-threatening circulation problem. Perhaps unsurprisingly, plenty of parents are questioning Michelle's decision to have yet another child — at age 45, no less. Is it too risky?

Yes. This is bad parenting: "It is irresponsible to knowingly endanger your life and the life of your child when you are already the mother of [19] children, many of whom are still quite, quite young," says Rebecca Jane at FemPop. The Duggars claim to be all about family, but a key caregiver's decision to put herself in danger "undermines the very institution" of family, and "seems to completely discount and devalue the family she already has."
"Duggars are to family what Kardashians are to marriage"

No. It's a personal choice: "I cringe when people comment about family size," says Stephanie Precourt at Babble. Anyone can spout off about what's too few or too many children, but really, it's no one's business but the family having the children. "The Duggars appear to be a loving, stable, and responsible family," so congrats to them for having another one on the way.
"Michelle Duggar pregnant with 20th baby, and I say congrats!"

It's important to understand the Duggars' beliefs: The Duggars follow a conservative Christian belief system known as Quiverfull, which eschews all birth control in favor of "trusting the Lord with… family planning," says Vyckie Garrison at RH Reality Check. As such, "Michelle also accepts the possibility of her own or her baby's deaths... as God's will." I used to be a Quiverfull mom, too, and I'd venture that, for better or worse, Michelle is thinking: "Surely it's His will that she live and continue to love and nurture all those beautiful children whom He has blessed her with."
"Maternal martyr, Michelle Duggar, willing to risk life for baby no. 20"

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