In thinking about Michelle Duggar’s most recent birth — baby Josie was born at 25 weeks gestation and is considered a “micro-premie” — I wonder if this has changed or will change their outlook on things. I hope nobody thinks I’m being snide — I’ve certainly seen plenty of people say things like, “It serves them right, having so many kids” or “maybe they’ll stop having kids, finally — I’m certainly not doing that! But I do wonder if their attitude has changed.
It’s easy to think that pregnancy and birth and babies are all easy, all “sunshine and rainbows” when that’s all you’ve experienced. That’s not exactly the case with Michelle Duggar — she’s had now 4 C-sections (if I’m remembering correctly) — the latest one an emergency, with the two previous ones due to the baby being in a sideways position or “transverse lie”, and I’m not sure about the first one but maybe something to do with one of her sets of twins. But aside from this last pregnancy, for the most part her pregnancies seem to be, well, just plain normal.
Among stories I’ve read, shows I’ve seen on TV, friends I know in real life, plus other people that I “know” via the computer, I know that ease of pregnancy is not something many women can take for granted. Some people struggle with infertility. Some women suffer multiple miscarriages. Many women have fetal demises or stillbirths. Many women have severe problems during pregnancy that threaten their health and their baby’s life. Some have had it all.
Recently, I had a miscarriage, but up until that point, I pretty much took it for granted that not only could I easily get pregnant, but that I also would have a problem-free pregnancy and a relatively easy birth. My sister had three miscarriages before she had her first baby; I know that had I miscarried my first pregnancy, that I would have feared that I had the same problem that my sister had. As it was, it has been easy for me to have a basically positive attitude about pregnancy and birth. I still have that attitude, but think it might have been different for me, had I miscarried to start with. Since I had two easy pregnancies, it’s easy for me to say, “That’s what’s ‘normal’ for me, and what is likely to happen.” But others can’t.
Prior to this latest Duggar’s birth, perhaps some time after the Duggars announced the most recent pregnancy, somebody commented on a blog, criticizing the Duggars for having so many children, basically saying they were “asking for trouble” with Michelle having so many pregnancies. This commenter said something about having had severe problems with her two pregnancies, and she opted to be sterilized and enjoy her two children, rather than face a third pregnancy with the potential for something else to go wrong.
The problem is, what happened with Michelle Duggar’s 17th pregnancy (19th baby — she’s had two sets of twins), could have happened with her 1st, or at any other time during her life. Certain problems are more prevalent or more common with older moms, but eclampsia and gall-bladder attacks are not exclusive to “elderly great-grand-multips”. Plus, she had had 16 basically problem-free pregnancies, at the time of that person’s writing, so there was really no basis for her to think that the current pregnancy would be any different. But, of course, this woman was writing from her own perspective — being that of a woman who had had two problematic pregnancies, and could probably scarcely conceive of anyone not having problems.
While I’m not planning on getting pregnant any time in the near future, I do think that I will eventually have another baby or two. And I will probably be a bit more nervous about a miscarriage until I get past the time I miscarried before. Your experiences shape you, for better or for worse. I’m still pretty “happy go lucky” when it comes to pregnancy, but having had a negative experience, I “know” in a different way, I know by experience, that a miscarriage is quite possible, so why shouldn’t it happen to me?
And I wonder if the Duggars, since they have now been “once bitten,” might now be “twice shy”? It’s no skin off my nose, whatever they do, whether that’s get sterilized, intentionally get pregnant as soon as she ovulates again, or anything in between. But I think it would take some very special people not to have some fears and misgivings after this experience.