Having More Babies Makes You A Better Mommy? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation & Uncivil Unions

OK, forgive my disdain for the content of the video below, but how does the story of a 41 year old woman whose pregnant with her eighteenth child merit being a Mother's Day story on The Today Show? When did we reduce motherhood to a quantitative measurement? I'm sorry, but I just don't equate the number of children one births with the determination that a woman is a super mom. In fact, on virtually every imaginable metric, I find the choice to have eighteen children to be an example of short-sighted and self-centered aggrandizement.

The fact that this family believes that God is deciding how many children they will have only makes recognizing them on Mother's Day all the more misguided. Yes, they're entitled to their faith and to have all the children they want, but presenting that election as evidence of selfless devotion seems to ignore the obvious. Perhaps being the poster family for Christian values is a noble pursuit, but I fail to see how it is in the best interest of the mother's health, the children's well-being, or the world's already limited resources.

Having eighteen children also strikes me as a demonstration of faith that Jesus would have viewed with skepticism. In my estimation, he would have chosen the obscure single mother...who is raising a disabled child and struggling each day to make ends meet...as representative of maternal sincerity and sacrifice.

I never understood Jesus to be interested in those who sought the center stage to announce the fact that they were engaged in empathic endeavors. In fact, I think Jesus instructed that acts of sacrifice would, by their nature, provide all the reward one would ever need. Further, I believe Jesus thought that those who imagine the rewards before commencing to act weren't actually making a sacrifice and didn't deserve any of the recognition.

Look, the Duggar's may well be wonderful people, but in the end, I suspect this family's choice isn't properly motivated nor is it representative of the sacrifice that we should associate with motherhood. In our me first, top of the heap, number one or nothing chain letter society, this looks to be another example of the thinking that underlies our pyramid scheme psychosis...a pathetic pathology that values victory and despises defeat while routinely diminishing and discarding our humanity. It is the one characteristic we should cherish...the one thing we all share equally...and the first thing we set aside in our race to capture and claim the perceived pinnacle.

I don't know how many children the Duggar's will end up with...but I'm willing to concede that they win the award for churning out more children than most would ever consider. I'll also stipulate that their God is aware of their willingness to bear as many children as Mrs. Duggar's body can endure.

Beyond that, I'm not willing to conclude that having eighteen children makes Mr. & Mrs. Duggar exemplary parents, conscientious Christians, or honorable humans. The skeptic in me says their actions betray their intentions. If I'm right, they may have won the battle but lost the war. At least they have enough children to build their own perfect pyramid.

Tagged as: Chain Letter Society, Children, God, Jesus, Mother's Day, Motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Sacrifice, The Today Show

Daniel DiRito | May 9, 2008 | 2:49 PM
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