Saturday, September 29, 2007

And Baby Makes Twelve (or Seventeen in Another Country) By: Christine Albrecht

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Barnaul, Siberia: Tatyana Khalina, 43, gave birth to her 12th child on September 26, 2007. Yahoo news reported that this mother of baby girl Nadia was stunned to hear of her daughter’s birth weight (7.75 kg, 17.1 lbs). We don't have the money for special foods so I just ate potatoes, noodles and tomatoes she answered in response to the possible causes for the child’s unusual birth weight (average baby weight is 3.2 kg, 7 lbs).

My first reaction had nothing to do with the child’s weight, but more in line with... Who the hell would go through childbirth twelve times? Didn’t she get it after experiencing the pain that accompanied her first delivery? Perhaps Tatyana's diet of starchy food impeded the sensibility area of her brain; even strengthened her threshold for pain? I understand a man’s preoccupation with cementing his DNA lineage firmly in the world, but when a family exceeds six offspring, they enter the confusing world of ‘kissing kin’ and ‘guess which one’s your sibling?’ brought forth by too many personal connections within their small community.

My thoughts strayed to America’s Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar . (If ever there was a necessity for nationwide 'suspicious' name alerts, it would be because of the moniker, Jim Bob (or any other first name that requires two identifiers).

The Duggars are infamous for their innate ability to reproduce; last count heralding 17 little Duggars into the world. Unfortunately, this couple does not possess any other newsworthy talents. Michelle and Jim-Bob are just great ...uhm, well, never mind. I shall not deliver my impressive list of reproductive colloquialisms.

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I watched a documentary, about the Duggars, one year ago. (‘Watched’ meaning the car-accident-on-the-freewaytype of observation. (You know you shouldn’t be staring, but you find ithe scene disturbingly fascinating.

The Duggars are firm believers that children are gifts from God and 'good' Christians will receive God’s gifts with open arms and hearts. (I am pretty sure God was not donning Jim Bob’s pyjamas every night, giving ‘gifts’ to Michelle.) And despite Michelle’s gushing affirmations regarding the joys of motherhood (spoken as she hands off each newborn to his/her older ‘buddy’ sibling who is responsible for much of the infant's daily care) her declarations ring false. Aside from her first three children, Michelle hasn't been a real 'mother' to an infant in years. She is more a family manager; her expertise shining through as she overseers a household chore list that challenges every child labour law in the country.

I feel that this couple is in deep denial as to the true definition of 'parenting' and 'family'. This applies to the Russian couple as well. Giving birth repeatedly, does not a parent make. I cannot speak for Tatyana Khalina (or Michelle Duggar for that matter) but I can question the irresponsibility (or intent) of the men in their lives.

What man would continually keep a woman pregnant, knowing how difficult pregnancy is on womens' bodies? What sort of man impregnates his wife before she’s recovered from birthing her last babe?

During the television documentary, it became apparent that Michelle is not the sharpest tool in the shed (which makes her home-schooling boast even more alarming). And despite my original concern - seeing Michelle as a docile victim of JB’s religious birthing indoctrination - the birth of her 10th child stopped me cold. I quickly realized that Michelle Duggar was extending her continuous state of pregnancy because she enjoyed being treated 'delicately' while pregnant. Gestation meant Michelle was not expected to do anything other than indulge in an occasional nap, while the Duggar children ran the household. (The children understand the increase in responsibilities because Mother is, once again, ‘with child’. (I also wonder if the older Duggar children are embarrassed by their parents obvious sexual indulgences, just as other teenagers would be?)

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To the outside world, the Duggar’s house is clean and orderly; the family is well groomed, and the children are courteous and cooperative. The family is not reliant on social/ tax funded programs; nor are they dependent upon charity - aside from shopping at government sponsored thrift stores. The Duggars are tax-paying citizens who (undoubtedly) receive a substantial child-tax refund.

The Duggars are God-fearing folk, yet they conveniently interpret religious doctrine to excuse their irresponsible sexual behaviour. Michelle’s decision to become an career Madonna is not condoned nor respected by society. Our culture values parents who raise their children in a supportive, nurturing, civic-minded, and financially responsible environment.

It is difficult to respect a man who keeps his woman pregnant and in the kitchen, thus depriving her the opportunity to ever advance herself (as an individual) outside the home. It is time Jim-Bob gave Michelle a break from her assigned obligation to produce a baby Duggar every 15-months. It is also time for Michelle to get off of the pregnancy pampering train and acknowledge her children who exist beyond the fetal state. On a superficial note, I get a chuckle recalling how I used to complain about my efforts (and inability) to recapture my pre-baby form after birthing two children. Somehow, I doubt if Michelle will ever complain that she can’t get her pre-baby figure back, because she cannot ever remember not having a baby in- in-utero.

Menopause is going to hit Mrs. Duggar like a ton of bricks. When nature (thankfully) steps in and says ‘Okay, Michelle. It’s time to give your body a permanent rest.' That’s when the ultimate postpartum depression will set in.

A viewer of the Duggar documentary wrote (in response to another viewer’s criticism.) ... By the way, I think mom and dad Duggar are saints... Saints, for doing what? Having intercourse regularly; giving birth as a result of intercourse; and feeding/ clothing/ nurturing the offspring? This a common practise around these parts, called Parenting, NOT Sainthood

Lastly, I am wondering how 17 individuals who have been:

encouraged to grow up as numbered household workers;

designated a sibling to babysit daily for twelve or more years;

allotted identically coloured clothing to wear on predetermined days,

received an education equivalent to that of the smartest adult in the household...

are going to turn out as adults?

How are these children going to respond to an entire society willing to recognize, embrace, and encourage their individuality? We had better keep an eye out for 17 potentially best-selling "I Was a Duggar Child, and all I got was this Lousy T-Shirt" autobiographies during the next 20 years.

And a note to JB... do us all a favour and give Michelle a ‘real’ gift by keeping your PJs on.

Images from:

Baby Nadia Image:

Duggars image: allday.msnbc.msn

The link that follows this article provides some interesting insights to being a child in a large family.

Siblings from Big Families


Anonymous said...

Your cold attitude is much more disturbing than even the shallow theories you pulled out of thin air for having a large family. All they do is reveal your own shortcomings as a human being.

R.A. JONES said...

I absolutely LOVED this article! I agree with you whole heartedly and as you stated - if intercourse and the ensuing results are considered "sainthood"- then I'm a saint three times over!! WOO HOO ME!!!
I had a wonderful time reading your article and a great laugh. It's so refreshing to read something from someone who thinks the same as I do. THANK YOU!!!

Swanktrendz said...
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Swanktrendz said...
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Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you 100%. My ONLY disagreement is that I think even JimBob is a victim in this. Yes you heard me right. I think even JimBob is just realizing the nutjob/Munchausen Syndrome (look this up!)/martyr complex woman he married. She is seriously disturbed. I don't believe that JimBob thinks women are second class nor do I think that he wants his wife constantly pregnant. Like you touched on, she is treated "special" when she's pregnant, like a walking Mary Magdelene. And she doesn't have to do anything. The kids cook for her, wait on her, do all the chores, and keep her away from noise, etc...because of her delicate condition. And she LOVES it. She is a classic narcissist and self delusional schizophrenic. She really is suffering from serious mental illness(es) and the entire family, father included, are trapped in her web. She has the most bizarre smile/expression on her face like she is an android. She is sick! I hope the eldest children just pack up their stuff (did you also notice they have lockers??) and leave. They do seem bright and could hopefully learn what they didn't get in their "home schooling" on their own in the library, taking classes, interacting with others. This family reminds me of the movie "The Village" where they have no idea what reality really is. But I stress, the problem here is Michelle. Not JimBob or the kids. Underneath that fright of a hairdo and odd smile is a cold, calculating, narcissistic woman with very low self esteem and a low intelligence. At this point, don't feel sorry for JimBob or the kids; feel sorry for her. She is a tragic person and a disaster of God's doing. Poor God. He screwed up with her. And I too feel sorry that the oldest are aware of just how active their gross parents' sex life is. Y-U-C-K.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. Jim Bob is as much in the dark as Michelle. As long as she is able to get pregnant, Jim Bob figures Michelle's well enough to give birth. They are only producing as many as "God wants". They appear to be doing a good job but I too question whether either of them are actually close to any of the children. Numbers 10 through 17 are probably people whom the parents know little about.

Swanktrendz said...

To anonymous - Twice I was going to post a response to your judgement, and twice I deleted it. Finally, I decided upon a simple response. The so-called "shallow theories" I pulled out of thin air (to explain why Duggars have a large family) are theories the Duggars have discussed. Jim Bob has often explained the reason for the children is because a child is God's gift and they should never try to stop or thwart God's gift. The shortcomings you are attacking belong to the Duggars, but I defend your right to voice these attacks. Try not to remain anonymous, hey?