Please tell me you’ve heard of the Duggar family? I first heard about them when I accidentally ran across their TLC TV show “18 Kids and Counting”. They have since added another child to the mix making their show, “19 Kids and Counting”. And counting? Seriously? Their last child, Josie was born seriously premature and fought for her life for 6 months before being allowed to go home. She is now 11 months old but still has to be hooked up to oxygen at night to sleep. Her siblings have to tiptoe around her and the family is constantly worried about germs. During a chicken pox outbreak at the Duggar compound earlier this year, Josie and her mom had to spend a couple of weeks at a rental near the hospital where Josie was born so that she wouldn’t be exposed to the virus. Soon after, the family shared a cold and hand sanitizer became a way of life. I’m all for sanitary conditions but this just compounds the way that I feel about this family reproducing any more.
Who am I to judge, you ask? I’m a mom who survived 3 months of bed rest with my second pregnancy due to a 50% effacement at 26 weeks. After living on my sofa for 2 months, I began to go crazy. I thought about taking myself off of bed rest and just living life as regularly as I could without doing too much (more) harm to my fragile cervix. Luckily I have a very supportive husband and mother-in-law who both took care of me in their spare time and who also insisted that I stay off of my feet. My doctor did let me have one hour on my feet a day at that point (for another month). Sounds great, huh? Nope. I can equate it to giving a diabetic a 2-lb bag of their favorite candy and telling them they can have 1/2 a bite per day. It sucked and I swore I’d never get pregnant again, despite the fact that bed rest was successful and my daughter was born full term. I didn’t want to put myself through the hell that was bed rest again. That might sound selfish to you but it’s not. I also have an older son who was 7 years old while I was on bed rest. I couldn’t spend any time with him other than watching television (yay) and even that wasn’t a fun pastime for me. I couldn’t bring myself to smile, laugh, or even feign interest in…anything. I slipped, very quickly, into a pretty dark place with which I was not familiar. I cried all day, every day that I was alone. On the days that my mother-in-law came over, I was fine until she left. Upon her departure I would bawl my eyes out until my husband got home around midnight. That depression hasn’t left me 14 months after giving birth to my daughter. I still find myself crying over nothing when I’m alone. I still have to (almost quite literally), wind myself up to do housework or even get myself out of the house. I can’t find the drive to write anymore. I don’t have any desire to go to school. The thought of going to a PTA meeting makes my skin crawl. Hell, I don’t even want to spend time with my friends because I have some (paranoid, I’m sure) delusion that they all quietly hate me and don’t really want me around. None of this is me. NONE of it. Not one single word of it. My point? I’m not as good of a mommy right now as I could be. This whole bed rest situation put me in a really bad position to be able to raise my children with the love, care, and attention that I think they should be raised with. And guess what? I’m pregnant again and facing possible bed rest situations…again.
I will be 24 weeks pregnant on Saturday and as of today, my cervix has shortened 2cm in 4 weeks. It’s not as grim as it sounds; I was 5cm thick 4 weeks ago and am only 3cm now. My doctor is only concerned because I shrunk 2 cm in a matter of 4 weeks and I am feeling the same pelvic pressure that I felt with my daughter before going on bed rest with her. I have options if it comes to that but I’d rather not even discuss those right now. I’d rather discuss the fact that Michelle Duggar had 18 successful pregnancies before she had her nearly-fatal 19th pregnancy. How must have that experience left her? I have a difficult time believing that she is perfectly fine after that. I know she has her faith whereas mine is on more shaky ground but c’mon! Let’s be real. Having a child born weighing just over 1lb and having to spend 6 months in the hospital is enough to change any parent. I know that I would be absolutely nuts and I would probably have my tubes tied immediately to prevent any further heartache and/or wrongdoing to my children. I knew that getting pregnant again was a risk but the biggest risk that I face, is having to spend a few months on bed rest. I don’t have to worry about the fact that my body has already weathered 19 previous pregnancies and is tired, worn out, and older.
This will be my last pregnancy. Why? Because I don’t want to go through this worry and concern again. After this baby is born, I want to get myself “right” and become the Summer that I was before I was put on bed rest. I owe it to myself but more than anyone, I owe it to my kids. I owe it to them to be available to them at the drop of a hat when they need me and to not have to mentally prepare myself just to be in their presence.
And THAT’S why I have a problem with the Duggars wanting more children. So that’s my 2 (3) cents for today.