Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Defeating Duggar Syndrome


When people in the hospital found out that I'd just delivered my sixth child, most had the same question: Will you have more? To be honest, asking a woman who's just pushed a child out if she'd like to do that again, seems pointless. I'd have to be a masochist to want to do that again before I've had a chance to forget that it hurt! All I really wanted to do was rest and spend time with the baby I just had, not think about having more.

So, I come home with my new baby and turn on the Duggar show 18 Kids and Counting. On it Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (God bless them) announced that they are expecting baby number 19. The Duggars always make me think and question. My pregnancies cause so much back pain for me. How does she do it after so many? Is it easy for them to do this because they have healthy babies and easy pregnancies? Would they feel or act differently if their circumstances were different?

I also wonder how they manage meeting everyone's needs. I've seen their buddy system and all, but what did they do with lots of young children before they had lots of older children? How did Michelle not go crazy when exhausted from pregnancy or with a new baby and all the other kids needed her? How does she work a new baby into the routine with homeschooling and everything else? And why does she make me feel so totally inadequate as a mom?

For me, Duggar Syndrome is more than just being jealous that I will never be able to have babies without thinking about things like back pain, finances, and prematurity. Frankly, I know some women have two and then are happily done, but I'll never be one of those women. I think I'll always want more, even if it's not a good idea. Duggar Syndrome is also the feeling that I don't have nearly as much on my plate as Michelle Duggar, but somehow am unable to keep it all together as well as she does. I wonder if she has had any times of self doubt as a parent.

When I'm sleeping so close to someone this tiny and gorgeous, how could I not want to be the best mom in the world? To make all the right choices? To give these wonderful blessings everything they need to be good people?

I may not be able to banish my doubts easily. But, thankfully, I'm not going it alone.


  1. You take care, girl! What a little charmer you have. He looks so peaceful.

    Try to relax as much as you possibly can, so your body can heal up. (I know, I don't always take my own medicine!.

    I have 13 children, but do not aspire to be Mrs. Duggar. Their family is very nice, but I want to be me, and embrace the life God calls me to. Mine is unique, as yours, and more beautiful and complete as I am changed daily to be more Christlike.

    You and your family are so beautiful. I love following your blog and praying for you. God bless you, the infamous Anne!

  2. To answer your questions about the Duggars, I suggest reading their book. Those things are addressed and it is a wonderful read! It was very encouraging to me to hear her talk about how much she struggled through having 5 and 6 small children and how she handled it. I highly recommend it!

  3. A beautiful post...especially the prayer at the end!

    Trust in God. He will provide the answers to your questions. :-)

  4. Thanks. I needed that today. Your prayer is beautiful. As a homeschooling mom of 5 and 1 in college, I always go through these periods where I wonder if I'm giving enough... although it feels as though there is nothing left to give! I believe this is where we lean on God and each other. Thanks.

  5. I read once the God sends us the grace we need for each child when it comes...I hope that's true because quite honestly I'm starting to feel totally panicked about moving from 2 to 3 in a few weeks. I love your prayer at the end, I so relate to your parenting philosophy. Congrats on your new little blessing, he's beautiful.

  6. Anne,

    I totally understand the "Duggar Syndrome" :)

    We stayed with a family of 10 kids for about 2 weeks once, and I was really astonished to see how *very* little time could be spent with each child by the parents. There is hardly ever any one-on-one time, and their kids seemed really interested in any adults (like me and my husband) that could just spend time with them. In large families what happens is that older siblings take over many of the parental roles. I'm not saying that is bad, but it is different, and it isn't really what I want. Even with just my two, I noticed a huge difference with my second. I had much less time to spend solely focused on her. But of course there are many benefits to having siblings, like learning to share, having companionship, etc. Anyhow, I just wanted to point out that while the TV show might make the Duggar's life look all rosy, the reality is that day in and day out those kids don't see much of either parent (as in focused, individual attention).

    Just my two cents.

  7. What a beautiful baby! I have read interviews with Michelle Duggar where she explains candidly about the times when she had about five children and would cry and feel like she couldn't handle it, but that God would give her grace.

    I know the feeling. This reminds me that I should probably buy her book;) I'll be praying for you! Remember, this is just a season. It will come and go and you will get to the swing of things as you have in the past!


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