• Wed, Mar 28 2012

Duggar Miscarriage Postmortem: Who Knew Jim Bob And Michelle Grieved Like Real People?

Michelle Duggar crying Duggar miscarriage season finale 19 Kids and CountingFor the past month or so that I’ve been recapping 19 Kids and Counting under the title of Duggar Miscarriage Update, almost every post has gotten linked to in the Free Jinger forums. This is probably my greatest honor of 2012 so far. But I’m not sure if I’ll be able to meet their expectations for snark this week, because the season finale “A Duggar Loss” gave me a modicum of respect for the Duggar family.

Even though this episode was twice as long as usual, it wasn’t until about halfway through that we join Jim Bob and Michelle for their diagnostic ultrasound. The intent is to hear the heartbeat again and determine the sex — knowledge that will be entrusted to their sound guy Bill – but as we all know, instead they learn that the fetus’ heart has stopped at 18 weeks.

It’s clear that Michelle and Jim Bob’s confessional narration comes after all this, and to their credit they stay strong throughout. Michelle explains that there was a lot of anticipation in the Duggar household in the morning, especially for the patriarch. It definitely takes the edge off some of my cynicism to hear Michelle remember how eager Jim Bob was to find out the sex:

“I was ribbing him a little–’You’re not allowed to ask any questions, can’t find out any information you’re not supposed to know.’”

Right after this, we see Jim Bob kiss Michelle’s hand, and I actually didn’t shudder the way I usually do when these two have PDA.

At the appointment, it quickly becomes clear that something’s wrong. When the ultrasound technician explains that there’s no heartbeat, Michelle’s initial reaction is a quiet “Ohh” that speaks to the shock that anyone would have. Then it becomes a Duggar reaction: She immediately starts saying, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,” as we’ve already heard from them earlier in the season, her voice breaking on “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I’m agnostic after spending my adolescence in Catholic school and I believe that religion is a social construct, so automatically I’m uncomfortable with the Duggars’ lifestyle. But I couldn’t begrudge Michelle when she asked Jim Bob, voice trembling, “Can we pray?” Obviously they needed this.

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  • Rachel

    I have a problem with the fact that they contacted the press on the same day it happened…

  • Mike

    I do think the over-the-top megafuneral is worthy of snark. Not so much because they had a funeral, but because they turned it into a huge political statement (which was conveniently left out of the show). Witness Michelle’s recorded letter, which was re-edited when she realized her first miscarriage was also a ‘child’.

    Oh, and one of the kids suggested they name the baby after Jefferson Davis. Bite me, you quiverfull racists!

    • Natalie Zutter

      Yeah, there was a weird part where Michelle said something like, “We weren’t prepared because this hadn’t happened before,” and I was like, “What about your first miscarriage twenty-plus years ago?” Then a few scenes later, she and Jim Bob are all, “Now we have two children up in heaven, Jubilee and Caleb.” Caleb is finally getting his due!

  • Mandy S.

    I do think it was more tasteful than I’d imagined, but I want to credit TLC with that not the Duggars, since we know what famewhores they were before, DURING, and after the miscarriage. I do think the grief is genuine but that they didn’t give the children a chance to react privately to the news bothers me so much. Fair play to Jim Bob and Michelle if they want to air their feelings, but the children have no say.

  • amil zola

    Free Jinger!

  • shar

    really???? she lost a child, she has feelings….??? last time on this site for me.

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  • Pam

    Who are you to judge? I may not agree with their ideas on contraception…but they are a functioning, happy family. “Who knew the Duggars Could Really Grieve?”–how utterly disrespectful. Who are ANY of you naysayers to judge. There’s only one who can judge and he lives above. I pray for each and every one of you, because you must be very unhappy individuals to say such vile things at the loss of a life.

    • Ridgewalker

      I pray for Pam because her face gets read when people state the truth about these vile media whores. The Duggars put their lives on reality tv, THEY’re fair game! And if you actually read the comments, the comments are against the parents who have People magazine on speed dial and don’t have the class to let their children grieve in private.

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  • Mel

    I am not a religious person, but I have lost a child from miscarriage and also felt the strong sense of loss. I thought this was a very touching article.