A friend of mine and I went to the McDonalds play place yesterday with our collective 11 children, ages 7 and under, in tow. It has already proven to be a long, cold winter, and our kids needed to burn off some pent up energy. 🙂 Before we entered the building, she sent me the text, “Ready for lots of looks?!” I had to chuckle because we are both so used to those looks.
And the comments, and the head counting, and the questions. All are par for the course when you’re the mom to multiple little ones.
And I usually don’t mind. I’m proud of my kids, and I want my kids to be proud to be a part of our family. I know that not everyone has had the ability to be part of a large family, so they generally don’t understand how much fun it is.
Recently, however, I have begun to notice a general “distaste” some people have for families with, what is perceived as, “a lot” of kids. Most notably was when Jill (Duggar) Dillard and her new husband, Derick, announced their first pregnancy shortly after they said their “I do”s. (If you aren’t familiar with the Duggars, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have 19 biological children and are open to having more.) The backlash, hateful words, rude judgements, and internet “eye rolls” came flooding in shortly after they made their public announcement.
Many were mad that she announced her pregnancy before her first trimester was over (but when Kate Middleton did the same thing shortly thereafter, no one even batted an eye). Others were counting the days to make sure that no “hanky panky” had happened before the wedding (don’t worry, guys… this baby is a welcomed, wanted honeymoon surprise). And still others were frothing at the mouth in anger that the Duggar family is the single cause for global overpopulation, and how could they be so selfish, and carbon footprints, and haven’t they ever heard of birth control?!?!?!?!
Let me tell ya, it is extremely nauseating seeing this kind of hate over what should be a joyous occasion SPEWED all over the internet. Don’t believe me? Just Google search “Jill Duggar pregnant” and see what comes up. My browser says 5.9 MILLION results, many of which, I’m assuming, are nothing but rude vitriol.
And now that Josh and Anna Duggar have announced their fourth baby is on the way, I think the crazy comments have really ramped up a notch. The heads are spinning and “the people” aren’t happy.
Listen, “people”, we live in the 21st century. In the United States of America. Where feminism is “all the rage”. Where women viciously fought for the right to their reproductive choices. Abortion, whether I like it or not, is legal here in our country. A woman can legally dispose of her unborn baby at any time up until birth. And no one had better try to stop her or they will come face to face with the most repulsive forms of feministic banter known to man kind. They would undoubtedly be met with the “don’t like abortions, don’t have one” argument.
But when a man and a woman, in a loving, stable marriage decide to have a child (or multiple children, or children by the dozens), suddenly that woman’s reproductive rights are hauled out into broad daylight, ridiculed, shamed, and made fun of. Because she is allegedly selfish, and foolish, and stupid, and any other mean-spirited thing one can come up with in their narrow-minded mindset. Obviously she should not be allowed a choice in this instance.
Anyone else see a problem with this line of thinking?
To them, I say this: “If you don’t like large families, don’t have one.”
The birth rate in the USA is actually on the decline, and has been for the last six to seven years. I, for one, am not the least bit worried about overpopulation anytime soon. (And actually, that claim has been proven wrong many, many, many times.) (I am, actually, concerned about the future ramifications (less people paying in to taxes and social security, economical implications, etc.) of having a lower population.) (Wow, that’s a lot of parentheses.)
When we announced our last two pregnancies, we were met with an array of comments. Everything from the simple-yet-appropriate “Congrats”, to people making jokes (yes, we know what causes it; yes, we own a TV; and comparison to the Duggar family… because having six kids is really close to having 19 kids), to other people all out ignoring our announcement. And while the positivity far outweighed the negative, the negative reactions are the ones that stuck with me the most. Many of the naysayers are people that spend less than a few hours with me and/or my family each year. So really, they don’t truly know us or our family and they had no right in making any sort of comment beyond “Congrats.”
Some people liken having a large family to having lots of little annoyances and inconveniences (aka children) running around. Those people couldn’t be more wrong. And so we have welcomed each new child into our family with the anticipation and excitement of seeing their little personalities grow and blossom, helping them become the people they are meant to be. Kids are human beings, not inconveniences that need to be managed.
We need to stop worrying about how many kids so-and-so is having, and stop letting this media-frenzied world feed us the news they want to sell. The number of children someone has is between them and their spouse. Yes, kids can be challenging and a lot of work. But the effort you put in to raising decent human beings will pay dividends tenfold. The fact that the Duggars (and many other people) choose to have large families does not impact anyone in any way. The fact that good people (like the Duggars) are raising up responsible, mindful, and respectful children-turned-adults should give us hope for our future generations. That is something we should care very much about. 🙂
And so, if you find yourself wanting to have more children than the national average of 2.1 kids per couple, talk to your spouse about it and come to a logical decision that works best for you and your family. Pay no attention to what everyone else says you should do because, at the end of the day, you are the one raising any current and future children. Not the internet hater across the country.
And if you find yourself on the opinion bandwagon, maybe you should use the advice of our forefathers: if you cant say something nice, don’t say anything at all!