Duggars: Should medical issues mean no more kids?

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar surprised a lot of people when they recently told People magazine they are still open to having more kids despite their most recent baby – their 19th child – being born more than three months early and struggling to live with multiple medical issues. (This particular article is not featured online, but here is the most recent story about the Duggars on People.com.)

Mom Michelle had preeclampsia, pregnancy induced high-blood pressure, and the baby girl had to be taken by C-section in December.

Jim Bob and Michelle talk frequently about why they want to have as many kids as the Lord will give them. (The story is on their Web site.)

Michelle miscarried after she conceived on birth control pills. The doctors felt the miscarriage was because of the pills. At that point they decided to they shouldn’t use contraceptives and be open to how ever many kids they conceive whenever they conceive.

Doctors in the People article suggest that the preeclampsia could be a problem in any future pregnancies and additional health problems could arise as Michelle is 43.

People did have some interesting quotes on having multiple babies that I had never heard before:

“ ‘The risks of additional pregnancies tart to go up dramatically after four,’ warns Dr. Jeffrey Richardson,a Ventura, Calif., obstetrician who had practiced for more than 30 years.”

“ ‘Postpartum hemorrhage, dysfunctional labor, preterm labor and early miscarriage are all risks.’ ”

The article says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says pregnancies should be spaced out at least 18 months. (I think Rose was 16 months old when I got pregnant with Walsh.)

The article also reported that based on the Bible, The Duggars abstain from sex 40 days after having a boy and 80 days after having a girl.

The Duggars say in People: “Each child is a gift from God.”  Jim Bob adds, “The negatives don’t bother us.” Agrees Michelle: “Our hearts haven’t changed.”

There are many faiths that for many reasons preach that parents need to always be open to conception and there are loads of reasons why people think having as many kids as you can conceive in a lifetime is excessive, but I really want to focus on the medical issues alone.

At what point do medical factors override that openness to having children? At what point does Mom’s health or baby’s potential health change being open to conceiving any time you are having sex?

277 comments Add your comment

NANA

February 10th, 2010
1:21 pm

oh, i forgot to mention that they planned to have a large family and planned financially as well. The TV show isn’t their only income. JimBob is a business man. I would be shocked if I ever heard it confirmed that they ever took any government assistance. By the way, she homeschools! And yes, the older children help..they all are being taught responsibilities….OMG! Can you imagine children actually being taught responsibility. They have to work around the house and contribute.

Wounded Warrior

February 10th, 2010
1:24 pm

@ Tiger. That would be a czar, since that doesn’t need the congressional approval. Obama has a car czar, pay czar, why not kid czar? Great idea.

As many as you can pay for yourself is my answer. I have 2.

Steve

February 10th, 2010
1:24 pm

It’s time for them to stop. Has anyone thought they might be “hoarders”? Hoarders of children!

Dog Lady

February 10th, 2010
1:26 pm

Ms. C. Lady: I didn’t agree with your position until you pointed out that their children were taking up air that could better be used by others. That argument actually swayed me – and additionally I feel a little short of breath now too.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 10th, 2010
1:27 pm

@WW…so what happens if I have one and am getting along fine then lose my income and can’t afford my child’s needs anymore? What should the czar do then?

Rachel

February 10th, 2010
1:34 pm

Catlady…you might want to reread your biology book on reproduction. A woman who is breastfeeding is more fertile than one who is not.

Boneyard Randy

February 10th, 2010
1:37 pm

Two is enough for any pig.

Aslinn

February 10th, 2010
1:38 pm

The Duggars know more about parenting than any of you people. To say anything about what you did catlady is mean and hateful. If you feel that way you should leave the country. Also I highly doubt you are religous, have any morals or values, and you probably don’t have any kids. Kids ARE a gift from God and they love God a lot which id more than I can say for SOME people (ahem,cough cough)

joseph

February 10th, 2010
1:41 pm

Even if they have private health insurance, we are all paying for all of the kids. As their children consume more health care and undergo more expensive medical proceedures, cost for all of us rise. If these kids are in public schools we are paying for them there, too.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 10th, 2010
1:43 pm

@Joseph…from what I’ve read, they’re not in public school, but rather home schooled. Do you think they should get the property taxes they pay designated for the school district they reside in refunded to them?

RICK

February 10th, 2010
1:47 pm

Could they afford all these kids if they weren’t doing a TV show. The older kids are taking care of the younger ones while their making more. Idiots if you ask me.

Jeff in Roswell

February 10th, 2010
1:49 pm

Joseph, come on. Tell us how much our health insurance is going to go up with the Duggars all being insured?

cld

February 10th, 2010
1:52 pm

@joseph, Despite the youngest being in the NICU (and PLENTY of people have babies in the NICU – not just mass producers), I would venture to say that the Duggars probably are healthier and have lower healthcare bills than most Americans. I mean, they actually eat real (read: not fast) food and get physical activity!

joe suggs

February 10th, 2010
1:52 pm

The woman is sick in the head.The only time she is happy is when she is pregnant.The world is overpopulated now because of nuts like her.

the Squad

February 10th, 2010
1:53 pm

really who cares how many kids they have if they can pay for it? get real folks.

kennecott

February 10th, 2010
1:53 pm

These people should be fixed.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 10th, 2010
1:55 pm

@cld…good point.

I’m willing to bet that 15 healthy kids cost less annually than let’s say 1 kid with cerebral palsy. Since this really seems more like an economic affront to most than a moral one, let abolish health insurance altogether and make all people pay as they go for whatever they need. If you have 15 healthy kids, you’re golden…if you’re unfortunate to have a sick one, well…sorry, but you should have made sure you could afford to have a kid..even a sick one and if you didn’t see it coming, well that was just bad planning on your part.

Mickey

February 10th, 2010
1:58 pm

CATLADY=== needs some D****K

NANA

February 10th, 2010
2:00 pm

IT AMAZES ME HOW JUDGEMENTAL EVERYONE IS OF THESE PEOPLE…THE COMMENT, “THEY ARE TAKING UP SPACE AND AIR BETTER SERVED FOR SOMEONE ELSE” GOOD GRIEF. GIVE US ALL A BREAK…THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES ON WELFARE THAT KEEP POPPING CHILDREN INTO THE WORLD AND TO EVEN COMPARE THIS FAMILY TO THEM IS ABSURD. THEY LIVE, LOVE, AND WORK…THEY ARE NOT CRIMINALS AND I AM SURE THAT IF ANY ONE OF THE SHOULD CHOOSE TO ATTEND COLLEGE, THE PARENTS WOULD BE HAPPY TO PAY FOR THEM TO DO SO. RICK, HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED THE SHOW? THESE PARENTS SPEND LLLOOOOTTTSSS OF TIME WITH ALL THE CHILDREN. THEY ARE KIND LOVING AND YES, GOD LOVING PARENTS. IT IS NONE OR OUR BUSINESS HOW MANY THEY CHOOSE TO HAVE BECAUSE THEY ARE SUPPORTING THEMSELVES. PERIOD! AND WHAT IF THEY WERE GOING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS…THEY PAY TAXES, THEY HAVE JUST AS MUCH RIGHT AS THE NEXT ONE. I BET IF THEY WERE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS THEIR LUNCHES WOULDN’T BE GOVERNMENT PROVIDED AND THEY WOULDN’T BE A DISCIPLINE PROBLEM. COME ON PEOPLE…REALLY…

Wounded Warrior

February 10th, 2010
2:00 pm

@ Tiger, like any good gov’t employee. Have congressional hearings and then appoint a blue ribbon panal. Not to mention the have the follow up convention in Hollywood, Ca (like the DeKalb educrats did last weekend). Must waste as much tax payers money as possible. Or simply become disabled, and then receive disability.

Tami

February 10th, 2010
2:05 pm

This is a hard one to voice an opinion on. However, I’ll attempt it. Michelle & Jim Bob are experienced parents, and if they want to continue to have children, no one should interfere with that right. And, no one should compare them to the “Octomom” as there are two parents involved here, and they can provide for the children. The older ones are entering or have entered the age of consent and can support themselves if need be. With the circumstances leading to #19 Josie’s premature birth, all of this started when Michelle had kidney or gall stones. She has not had any health problems related to her pregnancy before now. This does lead one to think that maybe she should either end her childbearing or come to a decision of when/where she will stop considering her age. Who knows…maybe she won’t have any other health issues & can keep bearing kids…or not. But, it isn’t for us to say or decide.

GHOSTRIDER

February 10th, 2010
2:06 pm

So let see, If I’m not mistaking, while they are still popping out kids like what every 10-12 months, their older kids are having them to. Dont they have 2 grandchildren. Their grandchildren are going to be older then there younger kids. What a bunch of morons.

fer

February 10th, 2010
2:12 pm

I think that if they’re trying to make a point, they’ve made it. They can quit now!

JATL

February 10th, 2010
2:16 pm

@Tiger -I believe in replacing yourself, so 2 for a family of 2 parents. I don’t have a problem until people go over 5. I think 5 is the upper limit of reason and sanity as well as how many you’re able to bestow quality attention upon. Of course people have different priorities -I want my children to receive a great education, spend lots of quality time with their parents, and I want to be able to take them on trips and offer them a lot more than a backwoods homeschool, religious fundamentalism and a creed to breed. Overpopulation of this planet IS a problem, and more people need to curb the breeding. Again, I just think the Duggars are dumb -for several reasons, and I particularly hate to see dumb folks breeding like rats.

fer

February 10th, 2010
2:17 pm

Rachel, you’re the one who needs to get updated info on breastfeeding and fertility.

Aubrey

February 10th, 2010
2:19 pm

Wow @catlady. So having a child and taking a tax deduction means I’m on welfare. Last I checked I give 40% of MY hard earned income to the government. Now I feel so guilty that they give me a percentage of a 2000 dollar deduction back to me…

Aubrey

February 10th, 2010
2:22 pm

Rachel, I hate to admit it but catlady is closer to correct on this one. BUT just so you both are aware, Breastfeeding can be considered a safe and reliable contraception method IF you are breastfeeding exclusively. In addition, no two feedings can exceed more than 2.5 hours apart. So if you are EB but your child sleeps through the night than it is not an effective form of contraception. It has to do with things released in your body during each individual act of nursing your child.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 10th, 2010
2:22 pm

@JATL…so if Bill Gates had 10 kids and they all went to Ivy League schools, spent lots of time with them and showed them the world, and were generally productive members of society you’d still think he was doing the world a disservice in overpopulating the world, right? Would you also assume that he was dumb?

Shastagirl

February 10th, 2010
2:25 pm

I really enjoy watching and following the lives of The Duggars. They are lovely GOD fearing people and really MORE people should have their morals. The kids seem to be real rounded / happy / and loved by all of the family. Tax Dollars are not paying for The Duggars life style – they provide for their own – unlike ALOT of people that each of us may know or work with in our own lives.

Tami

February 10th, 2010
2:26 pm

@Ghostrider: The Duggars only have one grandchild, Mackynzie. She was born to eldest son Josh & his wife Anna (both 21) this past October, I believe. They have 19 kids, but I believe the last 7 children are under the age of 10. I have to go back to their site to verify that for sure. No other Duggar children among the eldest are married or are expecting.

Margaret

February 10th, 2010
2:26 pm

Had two children 14 months apart and I was breastfeeding. don’t count on that being a deterent. Also, when they are looking after the newest, family members moved in and helped as well as the oldest son and his family. I can’t imagine having that many children but that is their choice. I do hope they will wait until the health of the baby is stabilized.
I never did figure out how the black woman fit into the comments???

I Use To Watch The Show

February 10th, 2010
2:40 pm

It was very interesting as to how they were able to keep everything going & orderly, but the older kids help alot. I can’t knock them for how many kids they want to have, but having a baby at any age is dangerous & then as a woman gets older there are a lot of risks & you don’t want to be responsible for having a baby with medical problems that will have to be taken care of the rest of his/her life when the Mom & Dad are both gone. It’s a sad situation, but my hat goes off to them both.

FCM

February 10th, 2010
2:41 pm

Jane: “You’re saying that if she doesn’t breastfeed each child for 12 months shes a bad mother? I couldn’t (and didn’t) breastfeed my children, but I’m far from a bad mother.” Well what do you know we found something in common. I don’t think nursing a child makes you a good mom either. A good Mom does feed and cuddle her baby. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you did that and not just leave your baby with a bottle and walk away. I never let mine have a bottle in the crib either.

Magenta & MJG– that Quiverful thing is based on the “Go forth and multiply.” verse in the Bible. It was not said to populate earth so much (I believe) as to tell families to increase the fold that the children would be brought up to believe in the Monotheastic (sp?) faith of Abraham. Abraham was a great teacher, with one of the few stops on a well traveled road. He would invite travelers to stop and rest then engage them in talk, in order to teach them his faith. (See Rabbi Kushner’s writings for where I came up with this).

lakerat I agree with you. As long as it does not encroach on another’s rights, or a tax payers dollar then it is their business how many they have. From what I understand the kids are all well adjusted.

catla

Joe

February 10th, 2010
2:45 pm

I from a family of 7 and my wife is from a family of 8. We currently have 7 children and I love them all very much. We are a single income family and we are not on any government programs.
I can’t believe some people. They say it is morally wrong to have so many kids, they say you can’t afford to have a big family in today’s world; they say it is a burden on the taxpayers.
Morally wrong? I will tell you what is a morally wrong, a person denying someone to have the opportunity to live, to have a chance at life. But you just want to squash that life out just like a bug. These people make me sick.
Can’t afford a big family? I have heard people say this all the time, but what they mean is they are not going to give up their lifestyle to have children. They don’t want to give up their “toys” or they just want to spoil 1 or 2 kids (creating young people and finally adults that are more selfish than their parents, catlady seems to be a good example of this). If people weren’t so selfish and just bought what they needed, they could afford a big family.
Burden on the Taxpayers? Let’s take a look at that. Yes families get tax breaks for the larger families they have (I think it is $1000 child tax credit each year during tax time). But let’s look at the big picture. The children we have will become productive members of society paying taxes (If they are raised to be responsible and not so self-centered). Look at the problem we are faced with in the coming future with Social Security. We will have more people on SS than we will have paying into it. How did this happen? People became so selfish, they only care about their own lives and care nothing about the future. Not wanting to have children. Those people are the ones who are the real burden on taxpayers. Who will be paying for their Social Security/Medicare? Not their children because they had none. And for those of you who don’t think that’s the way Social Security and Medicare works, think again. All that money we have put into those programs for all those years is not being invested for our retirement, its paying for those who are currently in retirement.
Get a clue people; Big families is not the problem, they are our future.

FCM

February 10th, 2010
2:46 pm

catlady forgive me but I am wondering if your own daughter’s difficult pregnancy is understandably skewing your view on this.

Tiger – hi there! I am pretty much on the bench cheering you on!

Shastagirl

February 10th, 2010
2:51 pm

I agree with you Joe!

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 10th, 2010
2:52 pm

@Joe…you just exemplified why people should be defending the rights of the Duggars to have as many kids as they want. It would be pretty hypocritical to take offense to you implying that they “don’t want to give up their “toys” or they just want to spoil 1 or 2 kids (creating young people and finally adults that are more selfish than they are)” and then turn around and call you an idiot for having 7 kids.

For the record, I am offended that you would slam on me for MY personal choice and you’ve demonstrated that you’re no different than anyone here for expressing their distaste for your decision to have a large family.

Jeff in ATL

February 10th, 2010
2:55 pm

@Catlady, et al. “NO federal or state aid at all? Of course not.”

Maybe no federal or state aid, but claiming 18 dependents sure makes the tax returns pretty sweet. They definitely get more back from [at least the federal] government than they pay in.

Jeff in Roswell

February 10th, 2010
2:57 pm

JATL – gosh, I guess the Duggars have made many mistakes… you know being so dumb and all. I would venture one of the bigger mistakes is not consulting you on how you feel they should live THEIR lives.

Righteous and Judgemental – does that describe you accurately?

Hey, Jeff in ATL...

February 10th, 2010
2:59 pm

…obviously you are not an tax account, or financial wizard – “They definitely get more back from [at least the federal] government than they pay in”.

Care to expand on this statement?

Hey, Jeff in ATL...

February 10th, 2010
3:00 pm

My bad – that should say “Tax accountant”….

Marinemom

February 10th, 2010
3:13 pm

I would have to say that it’s up to them if they continue to have more children. I would hope that her doctor would say enough is enough. This new little baby will hopefully be ok and not have any lasting health issues. If this child ends up with medical and mental issues, they will have to do more for this child, I don’t know if their other children will be able to handle, could be wrong, the pressure of taking care of a special needs child. This may be God’s way of saying no more.

Jeff in ATL

February 10th, 2010
3:16 pm

I’ve seen the show. Dude owns commercial real estate and rents it out. Probably an s-corp or LLC? Pays payroll taxes, sure. Pays FICA, sure. Claims 18+ dependents on his taxes? Yeah. I don’t have any kids, but they’re worth something at the end of the year. They probably have, what, 20 exemptions? That’s worth $73,000 or abouts. I would be shocked, shocked I tell you, if they have to pay in at the end of the year.

Nora

February 10th, 2010
3:17 pm

@catlady:

1. I became pregnant while exclusively breastfeed AND using barrier contraceptives. Does that make me a bad mother?

2. The Duggars are not dependent on any state or federal aid. They are not on the “public dime” at all. They are entirely debt free and self sufficient. They have done nothing “unfair” to you or any other taxpayer. In fact you could even go so far as to say that their children will grow up to earn money and spend money – therefore contributing to society.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 10th, 2010
3:23 pm

@Jeff in ATL…why would he put commercial real estate in an S-corp? Any CPA worth his mud would tell him that you NEVER place appreciating property in an S-corp.

Uh-oh…did I just tip my hat as to what three initials follow my name in professional circuits?

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2010
3:25 pm

@Jeff in Atlanta, I am not an accountant either but I believe Neal Bootrz has spoken about this:

The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a federal tax credit for low and moderate income families with dependent children under age 17. The purpose of the Child Tax Credit is to lower the tax burden of families who are raising children. The maximum CTC is $1000 per qualifying child.

( t me, that is 18 times $1000= $18,000 but then again, I am not an accountant! oh maybe 17 as one child is now married) .

The Child Tax Credit is a nonrefundable credit, meaning that the amount of the credit is limited to the amount of taxes a family owes. Families who do not pay any taxes, or whose CTC is more than they owe in taxes, cannot get the full credit.

Families who cannot get the full Child Tax Credit may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). The Additional Child Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit that allows families who don’t owe any taxes, or owe less than their CTC amount, to get a refund payment from the government

Not sure if the Duggars are on the income scale for this.

I thought there would be more medical views today ….hmmm.

I DO NOT care how many kids they have. I simply cannot imagine spending ample time with each child when you have that many. That is just MY opinion.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 10th, 2010
3:25 pm

@jeff in ATL..so if they’re getting income from the flow through entities to let’s say the tune of $150K on their K-1’s and TLC (or whatever channel is sponsoring them) gives them a 1099 to the tune of $250K per year, where exactly are they getting the other $300K or so in deductions and credits to eliminate any tax liability?

Jeff in ATL

February 10th, 2010
3:30 pm

Imma let ya finish, but I’m just sayin it’s darn likely w/ that many dependents dude gets a big big check from the feds at the end of the year, no?

My whole entire point was that yeah, they may not get welfare or living off the dole, but they probably get a FAT refund check around this time of year solely because of the number of kids.

As a society we don’t see the families who get FAT tax returns every year as living off the dole, but what is it when they get every dime in federal taxes they paid through the year, and then some? Being lucky?

say what?

February 10th, 2010
3:30 pm

Problems arise when a woman is pregnant more times than her body is not pregnant. The body goes through a variety of challenges during pregnancy, your eye sight changes, hormonal changes affect taste, muscle tone, bladder and kidney functions, etc. Many many years ago when I worked at DFACS, I interviewed a lady who failed to follow doctor’s recommendation NOT to have another baby after #17 due to hormonal changes, and unfortunately she ended up losing her sight permanently. Carrying and birthing children is a life threatening event for women but we seem to forget that the body does not want a foreign body (the baby) in it and tries to make the body as inhospitable as it can. People who are willing to subject themselves to these increased risks, should do so and not look for anyone to help them when things go wrong.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 10th, 2010
3:30 pm

@MJG…in all likelihood the Duggars get NO CTC because their is an AGI phase out that begins at $110K AGI for those filing a joint return. The phase out completely eliminates the CTC when the AGI reaches $130K. I think its a VERY safe bet to assume that the Duggars AGI (remember this is all income, not taxable income after deductions) is in excess of $130K and they go NO CTC benefit.