Duggar Miscarriage Postmortem: Who Knew Jim Bob And Michelle Grieved Like Real People?

For the past month or so that I’ve been recapping 19 Kids and Counting under the title of Duggar Miscarriage Update, almost every post has gotten linked to in the Free Jinger forums. This is probably my greatest honor of 2012 so far. But I’m not sure if I’ll be able to meet their expectations for snark this week, because the season finale “A Duggar Loss” gave me a modicum of respect for the Duggar family.

Even though this episode was twice as long as usual, it wasn’t until about halfway through that we join Jim Bob and Michelle for their diagnostic ultrasound. The intent is to hear the heartbeat again and determine the sex — knowledge that will be entrusted to their sound guy Bill – but as we all know, instead they learn that the fetus’ heart has stopped at 18 weeks.

It’s clear that Michelle and Jim Bob’s confessional narration comes after all this, and to their credit they stay strong throughout. Michelle explains that there was a lot of anticipation in the Duggar household in the morning, especially for the patriarch. It definitely takes the edge off some of my cynicism to hear Michelle remember how eager Jim Bob was to find out the sex:

“I was ribbing him a little–’You’re not allowed to ask any questions, can’t find out any information you’re not supposed to know.’”

Right after this, we see Jim Bob kiss Michelle’s hand, and I actually didn’t shudder the way I usually do when these two have PDA.

At the appointment, it quickly becomes clear that something’s wrong. When the ultrasound technician explains that there’s no heartbeat, Michelle’s initial reaction is a quiet “Ohh” that speaks to the shock that anyone would have. Then it becomes a Duggar reaction: She immediately starts saying, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,” as we’ve already heard from them earlier in the season, her voice breaking on “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I’m agnostic after spending my adolescence in Catholic school and I believe that religion is a social construct, so automatically I’m uncomfortable with the Duggars’ lifestyle. But I couldn’t begrudge Michelle when she asked Jim Bob, voice trembling, “Can we pray?” Obviously they needed this.