Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at

More from this author »

The Duggar Family Controversy

The Duggars are that family from Arkansas with the 19 kids.  All biological, yes.  They’ve been in the controversial spotlight for multiple reasons, but the latest is for a different reason altogether.

Image from Scott Enlow/TLC

Some people don’t think they should have so many kids, and should not continue to procreate.  Things heated up when the Duggars had their 19th child, a little girl born prematurely with multiple medical issues.  She lived and thrives.

Then the Duggars became pregnant with their 20th child.  The baby, Jubilee Shalom, miscarried at 5 months gestation.  The Duggars held a memorial service and included pictures of the baby’s hands and feet, with a caption that reads, “There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”

The internet tabloids are blowing up about this, calling it “disturbing” (Perez Hilton), disgusting (TMZ), and even odd and chilling (Newser).  TMZ showed the pictures, and other outlets didn’t, saying “readers with the stomach to view them” can click on the link.

Tiny hands and feet?  I think they’re amazing.  Is the discomfort of the media due to that fine line between “fetus” and “baby”; between “not life” and “life”?  Despite the Duggars’ reality show and public face, does the media have any say in what is or isn’t appropriate for a grieving family?

The Duggars aren’t shy about their family’s pro-Life stance.  They don’t see baby Jubilee as a miscarriage, they see her as their dead child.  So they’re celebrating her short life and mourning for their family.

Odd?  Butting into the business of a bereft family and judging them for acknowledging their daughter is probably the oddest thing of all.

What are your thoughts?

Related articles…

There’s A War on Christmas, You Know

Frustrated with Your Kid? Give Her Away.

Flipping Out for Reality TV



Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Comments (25)

  1. jo sayles 08/07/2012 at 5:28 pm

    I dont see it as disgusting. If I lost a child at any stage it would be devestating, but I do believe they need to stop having children, Mrs. Dugger has passed the age were having children is healthy for the child or the mother she has shown us that. If the babies were healthy, and they had the ability to provide for their own children that would be a whole other thing, Im all for a big family having 3 kids of my own. I dont believe in any God but if I did I would think this is him saying enough is enough.

  2. karen s. 07/31/2012 at 10:12 am

    My problem with the Duggar family is that they profess to be good Christain family- wouldn’tit be more Christian to adopt some children that need homes than to see how long they can keep procreating and adding to the population explosion. There are so many children that need homes!

  3. Nancy 05/23/2012 at 5:32 pm

    I do not view it as disgusting at all. This baby was “real” to them, their child who passed away. I have miscarried three times also. No one wants to acknowledge it. Of course it is unpleasant. But to the Mom of the passed away child—he or she is real. And I would absoluteley want a photo. It is so hard to explain and I believe that people who have not miscarried can not fully understand it. I have experienced friends who dont get it. Then they go on to have a risky pregnancy where miscarriage either comes close or does actually occur. and its only then they get it. All I can say is….its REAL. a REAL LIFE. Their real child has died. The photo is part of healing, greiving, experiencing this lost child. It is not meant to be gruesome. I would think its just everyone who is NOT the close relative who objects. The only thing I would add is, perhaps on line posting of the photos is not the best idea. On second thought….I take that back. It may be dead fetal tissue to everyone else… the family…its their baby. I just cant find fault in photographing a baby lost this way. Its so awful to go through. Really. I cant even find the right words.

  4. Pingback: What is The Jeopardy Online Test? TodaysMama

  5. Kimberly 12/19/2011 at 7:45 pm

    I saw the headlines and I was a little scared to click, yet I did anyways. I wasn’t disturbed, I was sad! I lost a child at 13 weeks and its just heartbreaking knowing that something that was so active is now gone. It was a little person.I’ve seen way worse, people taking pictures with their stillborn, like right after it was born. :/

    • KT 12/22/2011 at 3:57 pm

      You’ve seen “way worse” like people “taking pictures with their stillborn?” I am
      ABSOLUTELY APPALLED by your very ignorant comment. Holding your stillborn baby who has died is a very comforting thing to do…you are obviously heartless, and lack compassion. Wow, one would think after miscarrying at 13 weeks, that you’d understand grief better.

  6. Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz 12/19/2011 at 5:07 pm

    Those photos were a lot less disturbing than about 60% of photos the media normally rolls out. People should really leave them alone, none of our business how many children they want – or let God give them. I find it most disturbing that people attack them after something like this happens.

  7. Kristen 12/19/2011 at 3:09 pm

    You said it perfectly Erica. It is not surprizing though that people and tabloids are offering their 2 cents. I hope people consider the source, Perez Hilton? TMZ? Yuck!

  8. Kelly M 12/19/2011 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you for a great article. I think it’s wonderful that they are celebrating her life.

  9. mrsKoenig 12/19/2011 at 3:51 am

    my friend had a still birth at 19 wks. she and her husband were fortunate enough to have had a photographer there when she gave birth to her beautiful, tiny daughter. her daughter only lived an hour, but they were able to capture every moment of her short but blessed life.

    if this is how the duggars want to remember their daughter, sobeit. they love each and every one of their children. it’s sad that the media thinks it’s controversial to have pictures of their daughter shown. let them mourn in their own way. if this is their way of getting closer, let them have it.

    every life is a blessing.

  10. Sharon 12/17/2011 at 10:15 am

    The 19th child, Josie, was born at 5 or 6 months in the womb and survived. This child was almost as old when she miscarried. She was a human and she was loved. Her little hands and feet were loved.
    The government is concerned because marriages and the birth rate have declined. They don’t believe there will be enough social security if the birth rate doesn’t increase. The Duggars are doing everything they can to insure you can retire with a social security check in hand, since the rest of the population isn’t doing their part.

  11. Kaila 12/17/2011 at 8:48 am

    I didn’t feel like they were something I should be looking at. Just too private.

    Then ABC had this statement from them that they were released without their consent, and I felt so sorry for them.

    But THEN it turned out that they’d put them up on a big screen at a public memorial service that got on CNN, and THEN they put them on their website with a video about how if you get an abortion you’re Hitler.

    So I respect everybody’s beliefs but for me, pics of a baby I lost would be way too personal and precious to even publish much less put them in something like that.

    I mean it’s their right and everything but it just seems kind of disrespectful to the memory of the baby to use her that way.

  12. Brandy 12/16/2011 at 7:50 pm

    Wow I think that this was a very cool idea. An awesome was to memorialize thier baby. I totally agree with this article. People need to back off and let this family grieve their loss in thier own way~

  13. Erin 12/16/2011 at 5:40 pm

    I agree with Cassie, so well put. The pictures were tasteful and touching and an ultimate reminder life starts at concetption.

  14. Becky 12/16/2011 at 2:59 pm

    No one knows or can understand the what a parent needs to do in order to grieve a child. The news outlets should leave them alone and let them do what they need to do in order to process this difficult time.

  15. Gerald Buck 12/16/2011 at 9:31 am

    I think it strange [and very unsettling] that all these places find it necessary to attack this family in their grieving time.
    What is wrong with people? While I strongly disagree with having 19 children, they [the Duggars] have chosen to have them, they have that right, and they take very good care of them.
    Maybe the nay sayers are just jealous of the obvious love this family has for each other.
    The online ‘news’ sites should be ashamed of themselves. Leave them alone and let them grieve, in the way they choose.

  16. Stephanie Armendariz 12/16/2011 at 9:28 am

    My heart goes out to the Duggar family. Our family suffered 4 miscarriages in 9 months. I pray their family can have peace and comfort during this difficult time. I am so thankful for their Christ-centered message from their show. When all that is on TV is trash and sinfulness these days; you can actually turn on their show and find clean family entertainment.

  17. Ned 12/16/2011 at 9:07 am

    The problem is they’re hypocrits. They won’t let their children watch television, but yet they’ll whore them out to it. They see each child as another business venture. And she is going against reasonable advice by continuing to attempt to have children. This is God’s way of telling her to stop!

    People are tired of the John & Kates and the 19 and countings of the world using children so selfishly. There are many who cannot have children, and would love to…Then they see profiteering off of them. This is exploitation nonetheless. The guise of religion doesn’t change that.

    • Kerryanne 12/29/2011 at 10:19 pm

      WOW Ned! Being from Arkansas, living a town over, and seeing the Duggars around often…knowing of them prior to tv and now during….no, they are certainly not profitting off of television and are DEFINITELY NOT using relidgion as a guise. Before making such a comment and attacking a family – I would implore one to do the correct thing and do some research on them first. Some of the children, that are old enough, hold jobs and own their own businesses. Though one could argue if some decisions that they make are ones that the general public would make – do know – there is NO GUISE!

      • clover 08/25/2012 at 8:03 pm

        i completely agree with ned. This is total exploitation. As for the picture that is fine and tasteful i dont see what the big deal is. But i think having that many kids will have major negative consequences for the kids.Its not humanly possible to provide the proper amount of attention to that many children. When people take religion to the extreme weird things can occur. I know cuz i live in Utah.

  18. Amy Herwig 12/16/2011 at 8:24 am

    It’s times like these that make me think ‘Peace On Earth’ begins with “Mind Your Own Damn Business’ but you never see that on a card. These appear to be perfectly lovely people who are really not bothering anyone. They have a TV show but no one is forced to watch it. What business is it of TMZ or Perez to judge them (or anyone for that matter)? I agree with Cassie whole heartedly, you hear from the pro abortion group how it’s ‘just a bunch of cells’ in a woman’s womb. No it isn’t and how dare someone point that out! They are allowed their opinion of course but this idea that if you don’t have the same viewpoints your strange or somehow wrong is a shameful tactic of trying to quiet their opposition. While I would rather shove a pencil in my ear than have such a large family, God bless them and their 20th child.

  19. Annoymous 12/16/2011 at 8:15 am

    I don’t think the media knows anymore what is “appropriate” and what is not. Girl on girl, boy on boy, pedophiles, nudity this all seems fine with the media. The torture and death of a US civilian in Iraq is ok to watch. But posting pictures of a baby’s hands and feet. I think that is so much more appropriate and better to stomach than some of the stuff they put out there on the internet, magazines, and etc. To me, this baby did live. It had a heartbeat, it lived. I am pro-life and I am currently 5 months pregnant. Let them mourn the way they need to mourn. It’s not the media’s issue. This is a family’s personal issue. They are not pushing their mourning onto the rest of the world.

    • Anonymous2 12/19/2011 at 6:08 am

      Well said.

  20. Cassie 12/16/2011 at 8:05 am

    I can totally sympathize. My son was born at 23 weeks, 5 days gestation. It is legal to abort a child with the exact same gestational age as my son was when he was born. What makes one a “baby” and one not human? It doesn’t make sense. Psychology tells us that one of the things that makes it easier to commit atrocities directed at another human being is the process of dehumanizing them. I’ve always been pro-life, but felt that I couldn’t force someone else to believe. Since my son’s birth, though, I’m a little more vocal about my feelings. Anyway, I think it’s beautiful that they named and photographed their daughter. Were the photos disturbing [I haven’t seen them]? To someone who dehumanizes the unborn child so abortion seems less like murder and more like a medical procedure, yeah, they probably are pretty disturbing. They probably make it pretty obvious that the “products of conception” equal a human life.