People magazine cover, Duggars, How many kids are too many.jpgThis week’s People magazine cover story features Michelle, Jim Bob, and Josie Duggar, and it asks the inevitable question asked every time the Duggars have another baby, “How many kids are too many?”
They say they’re leaving the kid count up to God

Having a mega-family turned the devoutly Christian couple into reality sensations: Their TLC show 19 Kids and Counting… is in its 3rd season…. But for every fan of the show – the TLC special covering Josie’s birth garnered more than 3 million viewers – there have been detractors in online chat rooms, on parenting Web sites and within the medical community, who have been critical each time Michelle has announced a new pregnancy on average every 18 months….

“I think that’s too many kids,” says Dr. Douglas Downey, a general surgeon based in FL. “From a family resource perspective, there is no way you can give the emotional and financial resources you would need to support that may children….”
But the Duggars, who don’t use any contraception, remain committed to their belief that “each child is a gift from God” and are open to having more….

Josie duggar, michelle, people photo.jpg

Michelle acknowledges that she has never before encountered the sort of challenges she will face while parenting a preemie. “It is not as if we’re going for another [baby] immediately. This is going to be a year of different focus for me, getting Josie through her 1st year of life.”
Even without a preemie to care for, the Duggars would not normally conceive for several months. Taking a cue from the Bible, the couple practice 40 days of abstinence after have a boy; 80 days after having a girl. “Not that we feel like we are under the Old Testament law,” explains Jim Bob. “But there are spiritual benefits that come from that.” Agrees Michelle: “It strengthens our relationship.”…

the duggars 20 and counting.jpg

Critics who believe the Duggar children are a strain on government finances can rest easy: The Duggars live debt free in a 7k-sq. ft. home they built themselves, and Josie’s medical costs are covered by insurance. They’ve made their living by being frugal, profitable real-estate investments and earnings from their book The Duggars: 20 and Counting! and their TLC show. “People see debt as a gift and children as a burden,” says Jim Bob. “Not us. Debt is a burden, and children are a blessing.”

So how do you answer People’s question? And as an aside, I don’t recall reading the Bible’s post-birth coital instructions. Must be in Leviticus, which I confess I tend to gloss over. Fascinating. Any insights on that from scholars in the crowd?
[HT: proofreader Laura Loo]