Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
The stars of TLC's 17 Kids and Counting open up about their kids, their faith and why they could never live in NYC.
Tue Dec 16 2008
Even if you don’t recognize their name, you’ve probably heard of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar: They’re those parents with 18 biological children whose fertile saga has been documented on multiple reality-TV shows, including TLC’s 18 Kids and Counting, currently in its second season. Now the cheery and seemingly unflappable couple have yet another baby to nurture. No, we’re not talking about Jordyn-Grace Makiya, who was born last month. We mean their new book: The Duggars: 20 and Counting!, filled with personal stories, photos, recipes and, of course, parenting tips. When the Duggars stopped in the city to promote their latest project, Time Out Kids met with the productive pair to chat about their brood, their critics and whether their baby-making days are finally over.
So let’s start with the obvious question: Are you planning to have more kids?
Michelle: I’m 42, so I don’t know if I can have any more. But my heart is open to more if the Lord will give us more.
How do you answer people who ask why you didn’t opt to adopt when so many kids need homes?
Michelle: It’s something we’ve been praying about for a while now. And dear friends of ours have adopted children with special needs. If the Lord leads us in that direction...
Have you ever lost any of your kids?
Jim Bob: Just for a few minutes. We were at the airport and our little boy Jackson--he was about three-years old at the time--made a right turn instead of a left. Now we do a head count wherever we go. I usually just do a head count, but Michelle goes down the list.
Michelle: If I just count, I’m not going to know which one’s not here!
How many toys do you own?
Michelle: No idea. We rotate toys, so we have the blocks for a while, then we put them away and bring down the train tracks.
Has anyone ever asked you a question that really upset you?
Michelle: You know, one thing that really hurt me was, “If you nursed your babies, you wouldn’t have them so close together.” That really got me because I do nurse. I’ve struggled. I had a lot of issues nursing in the beginning and I still have a lot of pain. So for someone to say that, they have no idea how painful it is for me to nurse, yet I nurse because I know it's best for my babies. It doesn't seem to work as birth control for me.
Do you ever read the negative stuff about your family online?
Jim Bob: We’ve glanced at some of that, but not much. People go on and on. They make up things; they’ve said they know us. It goes back to when I was in politics. [Jim Bob is a former state legislator who served in the Arkansas House of Representatives.] We just don’t worry about what other people think. We don’t have a perfect family. We have challenges just like everyone else, every day. It’s a constant training process. We love our children, and we’re trying to raise them to love God and serve Him and serve others.