The Duggars, stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, handed out photos of the daughter they named Jubilee Shalom at her funeral service yesterday. Another family member, according to Jezebel.com, tweeted out the photos of the baby. Michelle Duggar learned she miscarried while at an appointment to learn the baby’s gender.
People grieve in so many different ways and who are any of us to judge how someone chooses to get through one of life’s most difficult events: death. The death of a child, no less! And I know it’s pretty common for parents to photograph stillborn babies… but from a second trimester miscarriage? Is that a common occurrence? (*Edit: Michelle Duggar learned her baby had no heartbeat at her 20 week ultrasound. Miscarriages that occur after 20 weeks of gestation are generally considered stillbirths so Duggar was right on the fence). And it isn’t the taking of the photos that feels most uncomfortable to me. It’s handing them out and tweeting them that just feels, well, weird. But. That’s just me. Like I said, people mourn in a million different ways and I’m all for whatever it takes for someone to make it to the other side of the grieving process. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the photos make me uncomfortable.
As Jezebel.com reports, TMZ is running 7 photos of the tiny baby on its website. I saw the first photo of teensy weensy little feet and absolutely could not continue.
When I worked at Fox news we did a couple of really beautiful stories on families who choose to photograph babies that are stillborn and I can understand the need to do so but… I don’t know. I can’t pinpoint exactly what bothers me about this situation. I’m the first one to let Michelle Duggar choose to have as many kids as her body can birth and not utter a judgmental word, but this time I have to question her judgment, especially since she knows she and her family are celebrities and the photos are likely to be splashed in all the wrong places – like TMZ – on the same page as a Girls Gone Wild advertisement.
Here’s what Jezebel had to say about the photos:
Honestly we can’t pinpoint what it is about this that made us stare at our computer screens, mouths agape, for a good two minutes. It isn’t uncommon for parents mourning after a miscarriage to photograph their child, so maybe it’s the inspirational captions? Is it the idea of a family member sharing the shots on Twitter? Or perhaps it’s the fact that TMZ tracked down the pics (which only show hands and feet) and posted pixelated images on the same page as a story about Girls Gone Wild and a poll on which Marilyn Monroe impersonator you’d rather screw, Lindsay Lohan or Michelle Williams. Maybe it’s a mix of all of the above.
Okay, so I went back and clicked through the first three photos. It was very upsetting for me. I know this is a very touchy subject and I’ve not ever suffered a miscarriage so I can’t really say what I’d do if it happened to me. The loss of a child is the absolute worst thing I can fathom. What about you? What are your thoughts? If you miscarried in the second trimester would you take photos and hold a similar service? Why or why not?
You can also find Monica Bielanko on her personal blog, The Girl Who.