Opinion | Pop Culture

A Word to Michelle Duggar's Critics: What it Means to Publicly Grieve a Miscarriage

In a culture that doesn't have rituals for mourning a miscarriage, the Duggars' memorial service may become a helpful model.

I'll just say it: I'm inclined to criticize the Duggars.

Yes, a part of me wants to respect their right to have "as many children as God gives" them. But I also have real concerns about their choices. I'm concerned that their view of God's "control" over fertility is problematic on theological and pragmatic levels. While I'd affirm with them that children are a gift and a blessing, I also think that there are many good reasons to welcome fewer children than one could physically conceive in a lifetime. I worry about the daughters who are raised up as junior mothers, for the sons who are pressed into a model of patriarchal responsibility (with an emphasis on financial independence) beginning at a young age. And I worry about Michelle and mothers like her, whose bodies may not be able to withstand near-continuous pregnancy for decades.

I finished the Duggars' newest book, A Love That Multiplies, days before the news of Michelle's miscarriage broke. As I read the book, which tells the agonizing, ...

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