Up until the May 2015, I was one of the millions of Americans who watched the weekly ongoings of The Duggar family. It was not until the news broke of the Josh Duggar’s scandal that it dawned on me. Anna Duggar, his wife and mother of his four young children, is not much older than I am. Right now she’s at a crossroads in her life that will determine not only her future, but the ones of her babies. As someone who has never met her but feels for her from woman to woman, this is an open letter encouraging her to call this her Independence Day.
There are no words for the emotional turmoil you’ve endured this summer. For the past three months, your husband and family have been blasted across the airwaves. Not because another was another Duggar was born or a wedding reception without liquor was being held.
The history of your husband’s child molestation past was brought out from the depths of the Duggar family closet into front pages of newspapers and internet screens overnight. After reactions of disgust towards his actions, strangers from across the world flocked online to judge your decision to marry Josh Duggar despite knowing the transgressions. Would most women have made the same choice as you to still accept this man as a spouse despite knowing what he was capable of doing? No, but it could be seen as valid point since it had happened prior to your relationship and that there were assurance of redemption.
Everyone is guilty of having family secrets, and most would contemplate suicide if their were leaked for the entire world to ridicule. In a matter of days, your family went from being media darlings to tabloid targets. Both incomes your family relied on were severed, and at eight months pregnant you were forced to move back to Arkansas. It must have taken everything in your being to continue smiling for your children, who were mostly likely asking millions of questions about why daddy wasn’t at work or about the moving van taking all their toys away without warning?
After issuing your statement of support, you set your priorities on focusing on the upcoming birth of your fourth child. In the middle of the Duggar’s television empire unraveling, your family was expanding. But this baby would not grow up in the same warm limelight her siblings were accustomed to over the years. One day Meredith will discover that with less than a month before her entrance into the world, her parents were in the middle of the largest hollywood scandal of 2015. Nothing will ever be able to erase that tainted mark, but hopefully an explanation will be given that does not make her feel that her timing into the world was off.
Once again, your marriage is under scrutiny . However this moment in time is different. Over the past 24 hours it has been exposed that your husband was a paying member of Ashley Madison.com. While you agreed to forgo the privacy of your home for camera crews while raising four small children on live television at such a young age, he was paying to have sex with strange women. Not just random women, but ones he took time to seek out by building online profiles requesting specific desires. On top of all of this, he has admitted to an addiction to internet pornography.
Anna, there will be a point in time when you can make the decision to act as the woman you desire your daughters to become. The kind of woman you pray will marry your sons. Leave this Duggar circus of media, lies and unhealthy religious-based guidelines of life. Raise your children away from the media and camera crews, which your in-laws are desperately clinging to despite being shunned. Allow your children to experience religion and faith in a healthy, non-shaming way that will not led them to their repression fueled acts of their father.
Start over fresh for yourself, and create an identify that doesn’t involve being the wife of the eldest Duggar. Through your actions, teach your children that unhealthy relationships are not tolerated, and that forgiveness does not have to mean submissiveness. Take the steps necessary to set your children up with a bright future that will not be eclipsed by the wrongdoings of their father and desperation of extended family.
We are about the same age Anna, but living completely two different lives. We have never met, and probably never will. But if you were my sister or best friend, this would be the same advice given.
The Duggar family has always said they used their fame to inspire others to embrace religion and a faithful life. Anna, use the spotlight thrusted upon you to show women that this is not acceptable behavior to raise children around. Be the role model for Quiverfull movement women in similar yet less public situations waiting for your next move. Show them you can still be a wonderful mother with strong faith without being trapped in a loveless, unhealthy marriage.
A former Duggar Family fan and truly concerned bystander