19 Kids and Counting

What would it be like to have 19 children?
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are probably one of the most talked-about mother/father teams in the country. Tthis ultra-conservative Baptist couple has an enormous family — “19 Kids and Counting” is the name of their TLC show, as well as the number of children they currently have. And they recently were quoted in People Magazine saying they are open to the possibility of conceiving again.
“I’m not pregnant right now, but that could change tomorrow or the next day or next week. That is out of my hands,” says Michelle.
More accurately, they have made the decision to put it out of their hands.
According to their personal beliefs, the Duggars think children are all “gifts from God,” and they have felt strongly about not limiting that number by any form of birth contraceptive.
“We don’t expect people to understand,” Jim Bob said. “Some think we are overpopulating the world. We are following our convictions.”
This has sparked a huge debate over whether this it would be safe for Michelle and her future babies. At age 43, there are a host of complications that could arise, including another bout of pre-eclampsia, which Michelle had with her last pregnancy, forcing her to deliver at just 25 weeks gestation.
Miraculously, the baby, Josie Brooklyn, survived and has been on the long but successful road to recovery over the plast six months with very few medical problems. (She is lactose intolerant and still relies on oxygen and a heart monitor.)
You’d think after something this traumatic and life-threatening, the Duggars would finally call it quits. But according to Jim Bob, “Our family is stronger than ever. We made it through the storm.”
I started watching “19 Kids and Counting” when my son was about 6 months old. At first, I was just extremely interested to see how two parents could handle such an overwhelming task of rearing and raising so many children and actually have them turn out so great. I was overwhelmed with one child — how in the world were they handling 19? What were they doing?
I think what makes this family so successful is the amount of caring attention each child receives. That sort of seems impossible if you don’t know much about the family, but all you have to do is watch one episode of their super-wholesome show to know that every child is very loved and looked after.
I was amazed at how sweet and caring Michelle is and how concerned and attentive Jim Bob is. They truly take time for their family. And by restricting television and computer time, they have encouraged their children to turn to books, outdoor activities and interaction with each other to grow and learn and have fun. And there’s no question the children are thriving.
Watching them has given me a positive look on parenthood to the maximum degree. It’s made me have more of a “Hey, if they can do it, I can do it!” attitude. Although I don’t know if I could ever handle such a large family, I don’t look down on them for choosing to do so. They do it well.
What do you think about the Duggar family? Do you think they’ve become borderline obsessive as some critics say about having children? Or should they be left to make their own decisions?

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