The Duggar family, from TLC’s reality television show, suffered a great loss this week as the mother of 19 Michelle Duggar has miscarried.
The mother of the large family found out Thursday that her pregnancy with her 20th child had failed when no heartbeat was detected during a routine doctor’s appointment.
Currently the family, which now includes two grandchildren, is coping with the loss of the unborn family member. According to the American Pregnancy Association, miscarriages often take more time to recover from emotionally than the actual physical recovery a mother must make.
President of the American Pregnancy Association Brad Imler spoke to The Christian Post about the aftermath of suffering a miscarriage.
“It is a loss, similar to losing any child,” said Imler, acknowledging that that only difference being that the parents and family coping with a miscarriage simply will never have chance to get to know the child.
“It is a devastating loss,” added the president. “One of the main challenges to women who lose their child prior to birth is how other people look at the situation; most people do not know how to respond.”
Imler explained, “For example, many people will say, ‘Well at least you didn’t have a chance to bond with the child.’” The expert clarified that people do not intend to appear insensitive, but that perspectives on the loss of an unborn child can vary.
Many people regard miscarriages as less of an emotionally ravaging ordeal, but more often than not, bereaved families will hold a funeral for the unborn child.
The Duggars are reportedly going to pick a name and hold a service for the unborn baby after finding out the child’s gender.
Imler noted that not only are funerals often required by law, according to state in many miscarriage cases, but that the event can be very therapeutic and aid in the family’s healing.
“A funeral is a chance at a last goodbye,” said Imler.
Just one month ago the family announced 45-year-old Michelle’s pregnancy while appearing on NBC’s “Today” show. The child was expected to arrive in April.
Speaking to People magazine, the mother and star on TLC’s reality series, “19 Kids and Counting,” opened up about the sad news.
“We had just been talking about baby names last night and they were getting excited about naming a boy or girl. It has been a real sad disappointment,” said Michelle.
The mother of 19 continued, “I feel like my heart broke telling my children, they have all been so excited,” but Michelle added that her faith will help get her family through it.
“The Lord is the giver of life and He can choose when that life is ready to go on and be with Him,” said Michelle.
Jim Bob and Michelle, who identify as Christians, had suffered a previous miscarriage while Michelle was taking birth control. The couple cites it as the reason they have decided to leave the number of children they have “up to God.”
“As conservative Christians, we believe every life is sacred, even the life of the unborn. Due to our lack of knowledge, we destroyed the precious life of our unborn child,” wrote the Duggar family on their website.
“We prayed and studied the Bible and found a host of references that told us God considered children a gift, a blessing, and a reward. Yet we had considered having another child an inconvenience during that busy time in our lives, and we had taken steps to prevent it from happening,” continued that statement referring to the family’s first miscarriage.
The family from Arkansas includes children Joshua, 23 (who is married to Anna, 23, and has two children), twins Jana and David-John, 21; Jill, 20; Jessa, 19; Jinger, 17; Joseph, 16; Josiah, 15; Joy-Anna, 14; twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, 12; Jason, 11; James, 10; Justin, 8; Jackson, 7; Johanna, 6; Jennifer, 4; Jordyn, 3; and the youngest, Josie, who was born during a medical emergency Dec. 18, 2009.
Josie was born at a mere 25 months along Duggar’s pregnancy after a pre-eclampsia diagnosis and weighed only one pound and six ounces. The cause of why the condition develops in some women is still not known, although it results in the mother experiencing hypertension during pregnancy and involves higher levels of protein in the urine. There is no known cure for extreme pre-eclampsia except the emergency delivery of the baby, although mild pre-eclampsia may see mothers still manage to carry late into their pregnancy cycle. TLC covered the medical drama and Josie is growing healthily, but viewers have continued to question the Duggars’ decision to have yet another child.
The Duggars explained their faith, and while on the “Today” show last month Jim Bob stated: “If we had lived by fear after Michelle had pre-eclampsia after her second delivery, we would have missed out on all our wonderful blessings,” referring to their 19 children.
The family’s television series on TLC, “19 Kids and Counting,” has seen 134 episodes and 6 specials.