The Duggar family has grown by one more! Baby, Jennifer Danielle, was born this morning to be welcomed home by her 16 brothers and sisters.
I didn't realize until today that this Christian family, who I first saw on a Discover Channel Special, was from Arkansas. What I first thought, as I watched the special last year, was, "I'd lock that man in a shed in shackles if he came near me, if I were her." Then I watched as this amazing couple, with their love of God and family, handled a routine day that I'm quite certain (with my homemaking skills) would make me run screaming for the men in white to take me away. Their organizational skills astonished the heck outta me!
It wasn't so long ago that large families were the norm, but these days, with all of the various birth control methods available, it's rare that you see, or even hear about, so much voluntary procreation by one couple.
My mother had 7 brothers and sisters, my father was 1 of 12. My father's mother raised the majority of her children alone too, as my grandfather was killed in a bus accident on my father's 10 th birthday. Her older children helped with the farm and with the younger children after my grandfather's death but just imagine cooking meals, doing laundry, and everything else without indoor plumbing or all the fancy appliances that we have available today.
My husband and I also came from large families. He has 4 brothers and a sister living. One brother, older than him, died at age 9, and the youngest sibling, another brother, died in infancy. I am the oldest of 8, although my 5 brothers are half brothers. One of the 5, my brother, Roger, died several years ago in a car accident. I haven't seen the others in years so it's been different for me, not living together as one, big, family.
James was raised much the same way as it was decades ago with large families. As soon as they were old enough, they went to the fields to help make the living. They sharecropped and they all did their part to keep food on the table. The only one of them that never "shook a stick at a snake", by the time they were 7 or 8, was their sister. She is the youngest and the only girl.
Often as I raised my 2 daughters and my son, I felt as though I was walking a thin line and constantly tipping towards the insanity side of it, so I can't imagine the stress factor of raising 17.