No Child Left Behind: Can Having a Big Family Harm Your Children?

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If you’re familiar with the Duggar family who stars on the TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, you already know that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are parents to 19 children and the show follows their trials, tribulations and adventures as a large family.  In a recent interview with the staff of TODAY Moms, Michelle revealed that even in light of her recent miscarriage, she wouldn’t rule out having more children.Viewers and fans across the country grieved with the family who lost a child to a miscarriage in Michelle’s 18th week of pregnancy, who commented in the interview, “I would do it again.”

Bigger is better when it comes to building a family, or at least the media would have you believe lately as shows like Jon and Kate Plus Eight and 19 Kids and Counting saw ratings soar through the roof in recent years.  Even Nadya Suleman, better known as “Octomom” experienced a temporary burst of fame when she covered tabloids everywhere after giving birth to octuplets in January of 2009.

Large families are nothing new to the African-American culture, and even in many Latin cultures a strong emphasis is placed on building large, strong united families.  But could having many children be doing more harm than good to the family unit?   Nadya Suleman faced public disapproval when it was revealed that she was actually mother to fourteen children including her octuplets.  That disapproval turned to outrage when rumors ran rampant that she was unemployed and using public assistance to care for her children.  And although The Duggars provide for their family without the help of government assistance, they still find themselves dealing with many judgmental opinions.  Even in the difficult time following Michelle’s miscarriage, many had no remorse and lashed out with comments that included, “Her body is finally worn out.” “Something probably would have been wrong with the baby anyway.”  Some even blamed Michelle for other women’s frustration that faced difficulties conceiving.

It brings to light an unfortunately troubling fact: For some reason people still feel entitled to tell women what to do with their uteruses.  Like anything, there are pros and cons that are associated with any size family, but the topic of larger families seems to ignite some heated controversy.  Let’s explore some popular opinions:

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