I saw this in the headlines today: ’18 Kids & Counting’ Mom Michelle Duggar Hospitalized In Arkansas.

Actually, after shooting out that many kids, it’s a wonder 42-year-old Mrs. Duggar hasn’t been hospitalized for other complications before.

“This weekend, Michelle Duggar was admitted to an Arkansas hospital due to gallbladder issues,” a rep for TLC told People. “The pain from a gallstone was generating some contractions. Just to be safe, she was airlifted a Little Rock, Ark., hospital, so that in the unlikely event that she had to be delivered early, she would be close to a NICU center.”

Although Michelle remains hospitalized, the network spokesperson said both mom and baby are doing fine

Many people criticize the Duggars on several fronts, from their “quiverfull” religious beliefs for overprocreating to putting a Godzilla-sized carbon footprint on the increasingly overpopulated, under-resourced world. I’ve made fun of them as well, but I can’t really say much about over-sized families because my late mom is one of 14 children (she’s third from the right in the back row)…

I couldn’t find a photo with all 14, but those three kids in the photo are the children of two of the siblings. The child on the right, Dennis, is about the same age as my grandparent’s youngest child.

As you can tell by the age of the photo, quite a few of my aunts and uncles were born and raised during the Great Depression — no welfare, no food stamps back then — my grandfather, who was born in Barbados, came to the US through Ellis Island like many during that period. He held several jobs, including one as a railroad porter.

My family was just poor like everyone else in their Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn, NY neighborhood, which was racially and ethnically diverse at that time (ironically it is becoming diverse again now).

During family get-togethers I hear the stories of the hand-me-down clothes, second- or third-hand broken-down bikes, sacks of potatoes, beans and rice as diet staples, the trolleys, and the milkman’s cart, etc. A German neighbor of theirs was always giving the kids baked goods.  It’s rich oral family history; a snapshot in time from those days in Brooklyn.

But they were happy and self-sufficient and neighbors all pitched in with one another during that time, and certainly during the 40s and 50s, did live well since the older kids grew up, moved out and those who were old enough in the household went to work.

As far as I know there was no religious quiverfull reason for having so many kids; we found out many years later my grandfather was  Jehovah’s Witness; my grandmother, I believe, was a rarely practicing Episcopalian. But clearly there was no attempt at birth control, either.

So I can’t imagine having 14 kids, but somehow my grandmother did it. In fact, when my mom was born, it was in the house — my grandmother hid her pregnancy because she thought it was embarrassing to be pregnant yet again. But she went on to have more, lol.

By the way, none of my cousins is shooting them out like grandma or Mrs. Duggar.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

20 Comments