It feels weird to be writing in defense of a family with whom I am so at odds. At first, the Duggars were simply some anomaly to me. My ambivalence about them hardly elicited a raised eyebrow. And then my own baby died, and this enormous, continuously-reproducing family was the symbol of everything the Universe was denying me. I couldn't think about them without ire. How DARE they keep having kids? They seemed to spite me; I took every morning show announcement straight to my heart and, frankly, hated everything they represented.
And this kind of flew in the face of my pro-choice beliefs. If I was truly pro-choice, as I have lived my entire life, then who was I to judge how another woman handles her reproductive life? I had no leg to stand on, no matter how much they irritated me. I was simply feeling they were stealing all the good reproductive mojo and hoarding it for their clan. Also, the name Jim Bob really stuck in my craw.
So when they announced that she was pregnant with her TWENTIETH baby, my heart shrank another few sizes and I sent out the ugliness. I didn't wish them harm or ill will, but I felt once again like they, along with the American media, were throwing their good fortune smack in my face. Also, through my own journey, I've made friend whose babies died earlier than the Duggar's last baby, who was born premature, but miraculously lived. And has health issues now, and likely will for the rest of her life. I was angry for my friends, too.
But then their baby died. And all bets were off. Because, you see, most of you know this, but I have a dead baby too. Instantly my heart went to them, no matter the chasm separating our lives, our beliefs. They do have 19 other children, she was possibly putting her life, her baby's life at risk. But it was her choice, her life--and that baby was so loved and wanted already. It doesn't matter that it was her twentieth baby---would it have been different if it was her first? My heart says no.
I admit to being somewhat ignorant about the entire story--mostly because I've backed down from my irrational anger enough to not really care. Also, popular culture and reality, ahem, "stars" don't take up a whole lot of my brainspace. But having just read that she was in the last week of her second trimester when their daughter Jubilee died, that means she was roughly 24 weeks pregnant, right? That means she had to go through labor. That means she had to deliver her dead baby girl. No one waved a magic wand and POOF! the baby magically appeared, or was simply gone. That kind of warped thinking went through my brain when I learned my baby had died--I had no idea that I'd have to go through all the pains of labor just to say goodbye to my daughter.
And the notion that this family is somehow warped to have taken pictures of their dead baby? Well guess what. I have many, many pictures of my dead baby. Thank. FUCKING. God. Because that, my friends, is ALL I have to remember her beautiful face. And that is all they will have, too. Did people say all those horrible things about me when my baby died? "Oh how GROSS to have pictures?" "Who wants pictures of a DEAD BABY?"
I'll tell you who wants them: NO ONE. What I really wanted was my living child, but all I have is a box full of things that have little connection to her, fading memories and my pictures. And that's all they'll have, too.
So before you judge this family for taking pictures of their dead baby, and sharing them with the people who would have been in this child's life, tell me this: What, exactly, did YOU do when your baby died? Oh wait, you don't HAVE a dead baby?
Lucky. Fucking. You.
**I realize I'm being passive-aggressive by posting this on my babyloss blog, as the majority of you, if not all of you, get it. But maybe someone will share this, or read it and think, "Oh. I get it now."**