Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.
I’m worried about the Duggars.
I’m just being silly, of course. The famous parents of 19 kids and counting and stars of their own reality show have likely seen and heard every kind of vile criticism of their large family lifestyle by now. They’re grown ups. They can probably take it.
In fact, I am continually impressed with the genuine sense of peace and calm that they convey whenever I hear either one of them speak.
But the news of their youngest child Josie’s premature birth months ago provided new fodder for their critics.
Ah-ha! The large-family nay-sayers seemed to delight in pronouncing. Now these parents are truly being selfish—having so many babies that it threatens their health!
Of course such criticism is unfair. Of course preemie babies are born every day to even first-time parents. And of course the Duggars are doing their very best to ensure that tiny Josie receives the very best care.
But that won’t stop the onslaught. And now that their baby’s poor health is making headlines again, I am sure the cries for government intervention will intensify. In fact, in the comments section following the article linked above there are several cries for exactly that.
I think the Duggars are in a unique position to set an amazing pro-life example, just by living out their lives while the nation watches. They testify to the value of large family living, but also to the intrinsic value of each and every human life. Tiny Josie, weak and fragile though she might be, has already touched her family’s hearts. The Duggars have moved their other 17 children still living at home to a temporary home in Little Rock, Ark. to be near where Josie gets her care.
And when Josie first came home from the hospital (before needing to be hospitalized again), the other children were overjoyed:
“The littlest Duggars at home – Jackson, 5, Johanna, 4, Jennifer, 2, and Jordyn, 15 months – have never seen Josie in person and ‘are jumping up and down that they will finally get to meet their baby sister,’ says Michelle. “
A family that makes great financial and personal sacrifices in order to care for its littlest member’s needs and joyful children who leap with excitement at the prospect of meeting a baby sister stand in stark contrast to the bitter anger and hatred that fills the comboxes.
I’ll take the Duggars and their “crazy” joy-filled lifestyle over that kind of vitriol any day.