If you are not familiar with the Duggar family you probably don’t have TLC so I’ll fill you in. They are a family that practices as conservative Baptists, this means that they educate their family at home, they don’t allow their girls (& boys) to date, wear makeup or pants etc. They main claim to fame is the size of their family, they have 19 children and Michelle, the mother (45 years old) just suffered a miscarriage.
This is where the online controversy comes in. Since the family has a reality TV show they are in the public eye and shared their loss with the world. They did so through a ceremony a series of photos of the child’s hands and feet. I think there are two sides to this story and why people feel as they do.
1. Miscarriage and stillbirth are normally very private thing. Many people act like the family has not suffered a loss b/c it wasn’t a “real” baby at this point. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions or beliefs, I have suffered a miscarriage and no matter how far along your pregnancy is there is a loss there. I think becuase of the normally private nature of such occurences many people feel uncomfortable with the photos.
2. The photos show a “real” baby. Once again no matter what your beliefs the termination of a pregnancy this country allows abortions to happen through the 2nd trimester of a pregnancy or up to 24 weeks. Each state has their own regulations for when, how long, where etc these procedures can take place but ultimately abortion is legal until 24 weeks. The Duggar baby miscarried at 19 weeks gestation. I think this photo makes many people uncomfortable becuase you can see that its a “real” baby with hands, fingers, feet, toes etc and its gestational age is 5 weeks younger than when an abortion can legally occur.
3. Exploitation of the Duggar children. I think many people are outraged by the photos b/c it seems as just another way for this family to gain success and or fame off of their children and lifestyle and beliefs. While this may be true the family is considered public figures which means they are not guaranteed the same privacies we all are. REleasing these photos may have been their way of getting them out of their own terms before a tabloid could do it.
4. Why choose to capture that horrific moment in a photo? Many people don’t understand why a family would want a photo of a lost child during pregnancy or shortly after due to the horrible memories it would bring up. Once again everyone feels and grieves differently but families that have miscarried or lost a child often have little to no mementos of their life or time with them. I think having photos made of your child at any stage is your right as a parent. Just as we have rights to do what we wish with our bodies, as mothers we have a right to do what we wish with our children as long as no one is harmed.
All in all I can sympathize with the Duggar family because I too know how this loss can feel especially when so many discredit your loss. Regardless of beliefs I feel that the family has the right to photograph their baby and distribute them as they wish. I do understand why some people are uncomfortable with the photos because it is something they don’t understand or because it seems as though it is another way for their TLC show to gain ratings.
Miscarriage and still birth is a horrible tragedy that happens to so many and ultimately cannot be stopped. Odds are you know at least one woman who has suffered this type of loss and you don’t know it.
What do you think? Are the photos inappropriate? How do you feel?
Drama mama out
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