As a tree hugging only child, I was shocked when the Today show featured the Duggar family announcing their 19th child. No, that is not a typo! This announcement comes a month before the Duggars are expecting their first grandchild. The wife of their oldest son, 21, will give birth before the child 19 arrives next year.
In my shock, I researched family sizes and came up with some Pros and Cons regarding having a large family.
PROS: 1. Children will always have someone to blame when they get in trouble.
2. They will likely always have a playmate and never get bored and hopefully they will learn to share, be cooperative and develop social skills pertaining to dealing with peers.
3. Parents are almost guaranteed to have someone to take care of them in old age.
–For me, having someone to blame or someone to play with were missing from my life as a child. However, you could argue that not having someone to blame gave me a sense of personal responsibility and playing by myself gave me a wonderful imagination.
CONS: 1. Parents get less sleep, privacy, and personal time. (Although, they have to have some time otherwise how are they getting pregnant so often?)
2. Children get less individual attention from the parents and the older ones are called upon to act as mini-parents to the younger ones.
3. The money it takes to feed, cloth, and school several children is a large chunk of change.
4. Big families require big cars if they want to travel together.
5. More children contribute to overpopulation of an already overpopulated planet.
I came across many blogs where the mothers seem to have a bitter attitude regarding questions of overpopulation, birth control, and having enough energy. Although, I understand how a person can get sick and tired of answering the same thing over and over again I find these questions important. These mothers need to keep in mind that they choose to have this many children and should understand the consequences such as people asking questions about overpopulation over and over again.
Scientists see overpopulation as one the largest threats to the environment. A recent SUNY survey of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry resulted in overpopulation being the biggest ecological concern due to its connection with loss of land, increase in carbon dioxide outputs and overconsumption. Many scientists felt it was a bigger threat to overall environmental stability than climate change.
Many proponents of big families don’t believe the world is overpopulated and point to lower birthrates in Europe to support their opinion. Although birth rates in some European countries are down, many still rank in the top 40 most populated countries in the world such as UK, Italy, and France. In addition, the world population is estimated to top 8 billion in just 15 years, which is a gigantic number!
An answer to concerns regarding large families used by supporters that I came across over and over again was “What! You don’t think children are a blessing?” This response is immature and doesn’t get at the real issues. I find every child to be amazing and full of potential. I adore my nieces* and miss them everyday, but I’m not sad I don’t have more children around me. I love these girls and realize their lives will be meaningful whether or not they choose to have children.
This research has led me to the discovery of many other topics such as the Quiverfull movement, which is a call to have lots babies in order to build religious warriors. In addition, Crisis Pregnancy Centers have gone a step further than just scare tactics and false information to get pregnant women not to have abortions. Some of these centers are even in the business of babies in order to place them with better Christian families. These are topics that deserve a lot more consideration and will be featured in posts to come.
*I am an only child, but have nieces through my best friend.