• Wed, Sep 12 2012

In Case You Were Worried Michelle And Anna Duggar Had Stopped Being Baby-Obsessed, They Haven’t

Josie Duggar Michelle Duggar shots RSV 19 Kids and Counting recap "All You Can Eat" Anna Duggar Mackynzie Michael twins

I’m realizing an annoying thing about 19 Kids and Counting: Last year’s season, where TLC edited the show to basically count down to Michelle Duggar’s miscarriage, was an uncharacteristically dramatic one. When there isn’t an impending death to foreshadow, the footage is unsatisfyingly mundane. Each episode of 19 Kids basically has four minutes of quasi-interesting footage that the editors drop in, almost as an afterthought, after 95% of the episode is devoted to touring the kids’ pantry and closet. (Didn’t we cover all that back in season 1?)

The only interesting parts of last night’s episode “All You Can Eat” happened in the beginning and end, as we visited Michelle with preemie two-year-old Josie, and Michelle’s daughter-in-law Anna let the TLC crew into her house to watch her be a single mother. Even though Anna doesn’t always look awful and glassy-eyed, there’s still a fervent little fire constantly stoked behind those eyes, which makes it creepy when she talks about wanting more kids. The girl is 24 and has already pushed out two kids; she tells the cameramen, “As far as the kids know, there are no baby announcements… but I hope there will be soon. Personally, I’m hoping for twins.” She even crosses her fingers!

It’s not as if her children Mackynzie and Michael aren’t healthy and admittedly pretty adorable. However, watching Anna look ahead to the next crop of kids shows that she’s not only drunk the Duggar Kool-Aid, she’s stuck a straw in it and is sucking away to get every last drop. Why not spend a few years with your children, both under the age of three, instead of wishing to literally double your brood when your husband isn’t home to help? The fact that she already shops for clothing at a consignment store should tell you that she and Josh aren’t rolling in the dough to raise the next generation of Duggars.

At least we haven’t heard Michelle use the B-word yet after miscarrying Jubilee Shalom last year. But I still worry for Josie, who recently turned two but still looks so frail. Because she weighed little more than a pound at birth, Josie has had to receive RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) shots multiple times a year to ensure that she didn’t contract the virus. In only two years, she’s had more shots than any of her siblings ten or twenty years older. So when Michelle takes her to the doctor’s office for her final RSV shot, Josie knows to associate it with pain.

That was for me the saddest part of the episode, seeing Josie start whimpering when they put her up on the changing table. You also caught a glimpse of it in the otherwise uneventful second episode, when a visit to the dentist set off Josie’s pain alarm again. This kid is going to grow up either coddled to within an inch of her life, or deathly afraid of any sort of office because she thinks she’s getting yet another shot.

Josie Duggar Michelle Duggar shots RSV 19 Kids and Counting recap "All You Can Eat" Anna Duggar Mackynzie Michael twins

I’m trying to put my finger on why Michelle’s reaction bothered me. She wasn’t entirely glib, but she also didn’t seem to grasp why these experiences would be so traumatic for her two-year-old daughter. Sure, parents have the perspective to know when their kid is overreacting in relation to pain, but whenever Michelle talks about Josie being born premature, she never acknowledges why this happened, her own major role in this. She just shrugs it, and her daughter’s delayed development, off as part of God’s plan.

At least she wasn’t talking about making Josie’s new brother or sister in front of her. Because even crueler than having to go through this life of pain would be knowing that your parents were planning on inflicting the same discomfort on a new life.

Also, can we talk about how these kids eat like nine meals a day? One of them rattles off the meals as “Breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacktime, snacktime, snacktime, supper, dinner, midnight snack.” How they’re not obese Duggars is beyond me, though you know that’d be like striking gold for TLC.

Photos: TLC and Duggars’ blog

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  • Rebecca M.

    The Duggars believe in buying used to save money to support their large families. They’ve always done that, before and after they had money from TLC. Certainly, they dress more modern now than before, and I’m sure TLC’s stylists and money have influenced that. But even I shop at consignment stores and buy second-hand as much as possible, and I “only” have 3 kids. My twin boys can wear their older brother’s clothes but we need to buy more in each size since there’s 2 kids wearing them. They go through sizes so fast, it doesn’t make sense to buy everything new, especially since I’m an at-home mom and we’re living on one income.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kmevaul Katharine Morrison Evaul

    As a parent of a preemie I can certainly attest that yes most of us seem ‘glib’ about how many shots the child gets and how she seems nonchalant regarding Josie’s fear of the doctor.
    1. YOU will never know what is going on in a preemie mom’s head. MANY parents report that doctors and nurses love working with parents of preemies because we don’t panic and freak out because our baby needs shots. Why is that? Because we know it is infinitely better than to ever see our child hooked up on wires, oxygen and in surgery. As for being small and behind on milestones I am certain that most other preemie parents are more concerned about their child’s health and also that the child is gaining milestones regardless of WHEN that occurs. My son could not walk until he was 2. He is now 3 and is smaller than most 2 year olds. So should I only talk about how he is behind? Or should I rejoice that he is walking?

    2. You believe that Michelle refuses to acknowledge HER role in Josie’s early arrival. You don’t know that. Not to mention you are not a doctor and more importantly you are not MICHELLE’s doctor. Any argument that she should stop having kids or that it was a sign that she should stop getting pregnant. However there is no indication in any research that pre-eclampsia would occur. In fact – Michelle likely had no reason to believe it WOULD occur because she had already had many pregnancies that went to term with no problems.

    Going with your thoughts any woman who has a premature baby (or worse a loss) should never have more children. So please explain to me – a woman who had her very first child at 29 weeks gestation due to severe pre-eclampsia – why my second pregnancy would go to 41 weeks. Or why I should have denied myself the chance to have more children.

    Clearly you enjoy mocking the Duggars. However they have never relied on the government for support. They are clearly providing for their children – and were doing so long before they became a household name. I may not share their beliefs but their children are polite and caring.

    Perhaps instead of bashing a family for having many children that they care and provide for you should look into parents who fail to provide for even one child.

    As for buying clothes on consignment/used I must presume that if you have children then all of them were only clothed in new items (certainly not hand me downs!). That is not the case for most families – not because they can or can’t afford new but because they don’t WANT to pay for new! Why pay $18 for a onesie that will be covered in vomit, poop, drool, pee or anything else when you can get that same one for significantly less. Not to mention most kids grow so quickly that these clothes are nearly new.

    • Noelle

      Hi, I think you took this review to heart in a way that that the reviewer didn’t intend. My sister had a premie (her first child) and it was hard on everyone in the family, but most of all my sister. No one would ever think to blame my sister. I was born premature, had some health problems, but would never ever blame my mother because that was just how it was, an accident. I am sure that your case is the same. BUT Michelle Duggar, on the other hand, DOES warrant criticism because she continues to try to have children despite the fact that each child is more frail than the last. At this point she (unlike my mom and my sister) is more concerned about herself and her image as a “Christian” mother than her actual children. The same is true of her husband. Plus, taking care of premature children or children who are ill is noble and compassionate, but its hard work – why are they having more children instead of taking care of the ones they have?

    • JannaM

      Each child is more frail than the last? Where did you get this drivel? Are you making this up as you go along?

  • Matty P

    Liberals hate big families, unless of course they’re living on welfare. They would rather see these beautiful children aborted, what genocidal maniacs!