Fertility: The Greatest Crime?

So the Duggars are having their 20th baby, and there is great consternation in the land.

My goodness, with all the sad and scary things happening in the world these days, why on earth are people getting upset about this family? Unlike many much-smaller families these days, they don’t require taxpayer aid. Nor do they farm out their kids to grandparents, as taxpayer-supported parents often do; apparently they not only raise their own kids but they homeschool them. What’s wrong with that?

There’s a poll alongside this article about the Duggars’ baby news that shows 66% of respondents believe that even four kids are too many. To those people I would like to say that three of my four kids work and pay taxes and pay into Social Security, and you should be glad about that. Just think, if the 50 million babies that have been aborted since 1973 would have been allowed to live, they too would be working and paying taxes and supporting you in your old age (and as a bonus, maybe one of them might have even found a cure for cancer or AIDS). Many of our governmental programs, flawed as they may be, were designed for a growing population that supports its elders. Some call that a pyramid scheme, and I agree, but it’s what our society has used for decades, and the loss of so many young people over the past 40 years has damaged the framework of these programs.

I don’t understand why people have such hostility toward large families. Our former neighbors have six kids, and the husband didn’t even tell his coworkers about the last two because he’d already taken so much heat from them for having four kids. How sad is that? Their oldest four kids, by the way, now include a music teacher and an optometrist so I think you could say they contribute to society even beyond financial contributions.

Their mom and I were once at a neighborhood party where I was introduced to the new neighbor across the street, a child psychologist working for the public schools. She and her husband had no children (though they did have a dog they occasionally dressed up and photographed in the front yard, to our amusement). She quickly made it clear that she didn’t especially like children and made a few cracks about “breeders” (large families), so I felt the need to introduce her to my neighbor and then said, “By the way, we both live right across the street from you and between us we have ten children. So you might not want to drink the water around here.” I still chuckle thinking about the look of dismay on her face.

17 thoughts on “Fertility: The Greatest Crime?

  1. Isn’t it sad the outcry about this, I have heard some terrible comments. I think they area wonderful family and I agree there are so many bigger issues to cry out about than this family. I guess there is a blogg that specifically nit picks about every part of the show for this family…..really….the bloggers have nothing better to do with their life how sad. As for the older kids “raising” the little ones (which I do not believe is true) but they do help is it such a horrible thing to teach your children to serve others? and what better place to learn to serve than first in your own family? I think it probably has to do with the best way to destroy a culture is to first attack the unborn, the family and the elderly.

    It is funny I am a homeschool mom with only two lovely children, I am one of the very few with so few kids, and I get the same critizisms from larger families around me….why do you only have 2, what are you doing wrong that God has not blessed you with more. hmmm…. I think we just need to step back and be grateful with what God has given each of us, find the joy and blessing that is from each child.
    I am really happy for this family, will be praying for Michelle and baby.
    As for your neighbor why would she work with children is she does not like them.

  2. It sounds like the people are intimidated by this large family, or the fact that they even homeschool!
    Leave this family alone! For God’s sake, don’t we have bigger issues to address than this? Really!— this larger-than-’normal’ family is a non-issue. What is boils down to is there’s always going to be someone somewhere who will question your every motive…pathetic, isn’t it? Tell those judgemental people to get a life!

  3. I think it’s a guilt issue.. I wonder if some people FEEL guilty about using birth control and then when they see or meet a family that doesn’t use it, their guilt overwhelms them and say snarky things.. With 7 kids, ages 19 to 2, and expecting our first grandbaby in Dec, and after experiencing a molar pregnancy which required emergency surgery and weeks of medication, I get some pretty mind blowing comments when I tell people that “WE don’t know if we are done having kids yet… it isn’t OUR decision. It’s up to God.”

    Even people (namely pastors and church family) that in the past have told us, or preached to the church, to “Trust God” get very upset and rude when we tell them that we are completely trusting God in that area of our lives. Apparently, according to several Christian pastors and church family, we are to trust God, but NOT in that area. :O)

    Or maybe it just goes back to the jealousy issue.. most large families, just seem to have it all together.. (I wish ours did LOL) so maybe we just make everyone with only one or two kids feel insecure, that with 4+ kids we are homeschooling, baking, our house is pretty clean, and we still have time to paint our nails, while they have two kids and haven’t showered in three days? They forget to take into account, that smaller families, usually have TWO working parents, not just one, baking and housecleaning are part of our homeschooling curriculum and our oldest daughter is an aspiring nail technician :O) and that the more kids we have, the more help we also have.. and that is why we “seem” more together…

  4. Teresa, someone has a blog dedicated to criticizing the Duggars? Wow, that is sad! And I’m sorry you’ve had criticism from others re: your family size. They need to mind their own business.

    Agreed, Jane!

    Well, Katie, you’ve mentioned several possibilities, but the bottom line is that we live in a culture where an awful lot of people seem to feel threatened by new life. How sad for all of us.

    Thanks for weighing in, ladies :)

  5. Holy smoke! Why did your neighbor want to be a child psychologist if she didn’t like children? What a sad life to have to work with kids when you don’t like them.

    Regarding the Duggars, why can’t we all accept that we have different callings? Just because I homeschool doesn’t mean I think everyone should homeschool. I don’t really watch the Duggars’ show, but I doubt they are trying to convince everyone to have twenty children. Some people take these things much too seriously. And I agree with Katie about the possibility of jealousy. It seems to be a motivator for lots of nasty comments.

    Peace and Laughter!

  6. Pingback: Carnival of Homeschooling « momSCHOOL

  7. I have noticed this too. I grew up in a catholic community in the 70s where my family had the fewest kids (2) and we felt kind of odd about it. The neighbors had (clockwise) 4, 6, 8, 17 and 15. :-)

    I think it’s mainly just attempts to slander Christians, more than their reproductive choices, it’s their obvious faith. :-(

  8. I love it that the school child psychologist didn’t like children!

    As for the Duggars, Michelle is my age, and I feel like quite the slacker next to her–with my 7 children. I completely agree with her, as she quoted Mother Theresa: “Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.”

  9. Cristina, where we lived, a school psychologist makes a ton of money, huge pension and of course there are those summers off. I assume that’s the draw…..

    I think you’re onto something re: the Duggars’ faith, FatCat.

    Angie, with seven kids you’re no slacker! Good for you :)

    Thanks everyone!

  10. I would have had a dozen children, but we limited our family to three. It’s not because of envy or any of the other reasons suggested in the previous comments…it’s because of math. Exponential population growth leads eventually to environmental degradation and evils like mass starvation…we don’t have to guess about this because it’s already happened in some overpopulated areas of the world. Is that the legacy we want for those who come after us? If we truly love our children, why should we destroy their world? I’d never badmouth anyone’s children because they’re not responsible for their parents’ selfish decisions…but hopefully the children don’t indulge in the same magical thinking that their parents are guilty of…that it’s fine for everyone to have 20 kids because the earth can support them all. It cannot. Somehow someone forgot to do the math.

  11. I don’t see it that way, Deborah, because my faith (not magical thinking) assures me that God will provide for us. When I was pregnant with my first child, my brother-in-law’s dad (a father of 12) told me, “Every child comes with a loaf of bread in his hand,” and we’ve found that to be true. We actually hoped to have more than four children, but our youngest came with so many medical issues that we didn’t think we could handle more little ones in addition to him.

    Limiting population growth has hazards. I think of countries like Italy, where the people failed to replace themselves and now they have to import people from other countries to take care of their old folks. Their culture is dying out. The same thing is happening in other rural parts of Europe, where some towns have been abandoned by all but the old people. In Japan the old folks have toy baby dolls and pets to keep them company because they didn’t have children and now they’re alone. As for mass starvation, when we try to send food it’s often intercepted by corrupt government officials. I’m not sure how we can connect families like the Duggars’ to that.

    Thanks for stopping by, Deborah.

  12. Checked it out, Shirin, and it’s not a surprising chart but it ignores the effect that modernization has always had on most societies; as the standard of living goes up, the reproduction rate goes down. Now that the Internet is letting the world’s inhabitants see how others live, don’t you think the modernization rate can only speed up? So I think that chart reflects an alarmist viewpoint. But thanks for sharing the link and for stopping by.

  13. If you watch the short video at the link (which, I should have noted earlier, is what I found effective) you do see the extreme differences in the growth rates among continents. I only glanced at the chart before and will look at it again. At any rate, I’m not trying to alarm anyone. Just thought that since the discussion seemed to be getting broadened out into worldwide population issues, you (Barbara) and anyone else still following the thread might find the NPR visualization an interesting take.

  14. The chart accompanying the text only goes up to last year. So maybe you were talking about the visualization (video)? If so, according to the text, the 10 billion prediction by 2100 may be on the low side. Admittedly, neither the video nor text is very detailed in terms of predictions of how fast societies in Africa and Asia could go through the modernization that would lead to lower fertility rates. I’m sure that has been studied and the information is available elsewhere.

  15. I have had very similar thoughts so was delighted to read your take on it :) I really don’t understand why people think that having lots of children is such a crime!

  16. Thanks for the additional info, Shirin. I trust God to handle a job this big….

    Ditto, Rhoda. Thanks for stopping by!

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