15 Kids and Counting – What would you like to have seen?



A lot of people have asked whether we would participate in anything like this again.  I have to admit that I’m not sure but don’t think it is an issue as we’d unlikely be asked, given that I’ve pointed out how our story was dramatised for viewing rather than accuracy.

Of course we didn’t expect not to be criticised or debated.  We live very unconventional lives what with our lots of children, minibus on the driveway, chickens in the garden, Church on Sundays and homeschooling.  We know we don’t fit society’s view of “normal”.  But that should have been plenty enough material and that was all stuff we were prepared to take on the chin.  By all means you can disagree on the ideal family size, you can disagree about school versus home education, you can disagree about whether there is a God or not.  You can call us fruit loops on any of those things because they’re “different” and people in this country cannot deal with “different” and that, we were prepared for.

I didn’t like how it was portrayed that we were putting my life on the line for the sake of religion.  That was completely inaccurate and not fair either to ourselves nor Christianity and Catholicism, and so I wanted to point out that the real story is on this site and in our books and has been here long before the programme aired.  Knowing that people aren’t going to hunt through three years of archives, I’ve pulled up relevant links in the previous two posts where you can find out about how we really homeschool and the truth about my pregnancy.    

Also, our Twin Pregnancy Diary was published long before the show aired and there is no mention of near-death experiences or failing health.  You can buy our Twin Pregnancy Diary on Kindle at Amazon for a really low price and you can also get it in paperback.  

While I’m plugging, I may as well mention our book Larger Family Life which explains our life journey, how we rediscovered faith, and how and why we chose to stop contracepting. You can buy Larger Family Life from Amazon  and also on Kindle.

So back to the question, would we do it again?  I really don’t know.  There has been amazing support, wonderful comments, fantastic feedback. The negativity and nastiness will always be there because that’s part of life and it actually doesn’t bother me very much because good far outweighs bad.  The ratings were fabulous and most of the feedback has been amazing!  Who’d have thought there would be that much interest and to be a part of it is quite something in that respect.  So… I don’t know.

Personally I think the crew did a good job.  I think it was the constraints of time which means they could only cover a certain amount of “life” and so had to pick an angle and follow it.  I understand that, and I also understand that the bottom line is ratings, which it definitely got.  I might consider doing it again because there is still so much more to share.  People can’t get an accurate impression from such small clips.

You don’t agree to participate in something like this lightly and we knew we’d be scrutinised.  We agreed in to in the hope it would make at least one person out there change their perceptions about the stereotypical large family.

A few comments have been left in previous posts about what people would like to have seen.  I thought it would be good to get them all in one place.  So if another series were to happen, how would you like to see it done?  What would you like included and what do you want to see?  I’d be interested in your thoughts.


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18 thoughts on “15 Kids and Counting – What would you like to have seen?

  1. It’s such a shame that they chose to edit the show the way they did and having read your explanations it make me wonder about the “real” story of the other family with the 15 children.

    We watch 17,18,19 Kids and Counting with the lovely Duggar family alot and you don’t seem to get the same dramatisation that we saw on “your” program on Tuesday. With the Duggars show it seems to be much more about the daily life of that family and how they deal with having a large family. Yes I’m sure some of it is a little staged but generally it never seems over dramatised or anything like that. Of course British TV is such a competitive place when it comes to getting the viewing figures and that influences program makers – often in a bad way and now I’m going to be very careful about what I believe when I watch a documentary.

    I think people could learn a great deal you and your family but I would be cautious about doing it all again without having greater control over the editing and output.

      1. I forgot to add, that though we watched the final edit (just of our family and not as it was shown on the TV), we watched it “emotionally” rather than critically. I think this was a huge mistake on our part and we should have watched it from a less involved and more detached perspective and voiced any concerns accordingly.

        So rather than say we wouldn’t do anything like this again I’d say we would learn from this experience and be more aware of what to do once filming is over and editing takes place.

  2. While I’m in the states and can’t view your show, I do hope that this all turns out to be a positive experience for you. I think what you are doing is wonderful.

  3. I rarely watch tv, it bores me, and I certainly never watch anything like ’15 kids and counting’ because I know how the media twist things and distort things just for viewing pleasure, and I also know that people believe that everything they read and see is true.
    However, after being recommended the program I did watch it and was pleasantly surprised, while keeping an open mind. I have read your blog etc since it was aired, so I know that it wasn’t exactly as you would have liked it, and I’m sure there will always be people who will judge you, but I think you were so so brave for putting yourself into the hands of the media. It was a very positive view of large families which is something very rarely seen. You know we are all dole dossing workshy layabouts who can’t control their kids, yadda yadda. I really do envy you, we have 8 ourselves, at one point I had 5 under 5, long time ago now, and while I was envious of your beautiful family, and while I so miss that time, I could not do it again. My health has suffered with my last two unfortunately, I would so love more.
    Anyway, to get to the question I suppose it really is moot, unless you were to film yourselves and put in all that you wanted. While you are in the hands of the media, there is not an option to put what you wanted.
    I think you did fine, and I wish you all well 🙂
    sorry I waffle a lot 🙂

  4. I haven’t yet watched the television show – but caught a snippet and after reading your post will definitely watch it.
    Although I haven’t seen it, I think it is a shame they put a spin or angle on the show – there are so many tv shows that over-dramatise things but most media savvy people out there do realise that this cannot be the whole truth.
    It was interesting in the comment by David, about the other show which did not over dramatise things.
    It reminds me of the hugely successful Jon & Kate plus 8 in the states – they rarely dramatised things until the later series and it truely seemed like a fair depiction of real life. It was mainly how they get through the day – really down-to-earth normal things and how they managed them with all those children. I think judging by how successful that show was, the ratings would be just as good with a more accurate depiction of family life.
    Good luck with everything – its nice to hear you have a very realistic view of what may or may not happen when you open your life up to a tv show. 🙂

  5. Yes would definitely like to see more day to day life with homeschool, washing, cooking, economies etc. Much like the duggars but relevant to us in the UK. I understand they were constrained on time but maybe next time……………….!! 🙂

  6. As Tracy says, every day stuff. Organisation, household chores, stopping the kids from running riot (mine do, i’m sure yours are angels). The programme was almost an episode of one born every minute, rather than about large families. Though it looks like the next episode will be different.

  7. I am number 8 of nine children myself and between the seven of us who are married we have 56 children. My elder sister has 15,a brother has 12 another 11 and another 10. We are Catholics also, though we don’t home school. I go to the old Latin Rite mass here in Kent not far from you. I have four children myself but who knows what the future holds ;o)

    We don’t have a TV either. Such trash on tv today. I saw the TV program in my IPad just now in bed with my lovely wife. We really enjoyed it. I much prefer to be in control of what is watched in the house.

    I noticed they mentioned your husband Michael was a joiner. If he does domestic work and could build me some cupboards could he drop me an e-mail?

  8. I am in New Zealand, but managed to watch the episode. I have to say that I thought that your children really came off beautifully. They were positive, very well-spoken (especially Caitlin) and looked like normal happy kids. The home schooling you’re doing with them is obviously working really well for you all, even though it looks like there are some days when it’s madness! (but then it’s like that in our house and we only have 6 kids!).

    I had a little issue when they were talking about your high-risk pregnancy and going on about the previous c-sections and the number of kids you have. They didn’t seem to pay much attention to the fact that ANY TWIN PREGNANCY is considered to be high risk whether it’s your first or your 10th. I had two singleton pregnancies that were so uneventful and went so well (pregnancy, labour, delivery, recovery) that my midwife said I was the “most boring preggo she’d ever come across”. As soon as we learnt we were having twins, suddenly my previous history counted for nothing, because we were “high risk”. I felt that wasn’t portrayed very well by the film crew. Also, they made it sound like Libby and Anna were extremely prem, when in fact the normal gestation for twins is 37-39 weeks, so in fact they were only a couple of weeks early – extremely common in twins!

    In terms of what I’d want to see more of, my husband (who in theory was reading his book while I watched the show) and I both thought we’d like more of the day-to-day living – the economics and economies, the logistics, more information on the social activities the kids do, and it would be good if they talked about your blog and what you do to bring in extra money. Clearly you live a modest lifestyle, and it would have been great to have seen how you managed it all in more details. I know they were pushed for time, but it did seem more of a show about babies being born by coincidence into a large family rather than living as part of a large family.

    Good on you for being brave enough to do the programme. And anyone who is interested in finding out more can always find your blog.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I do want to point out that though the viewers were given the impression that the twins were born at 34 weeks they were in fact born at 36weeks plus 3 days, making them only 4 days short of being “full term”.

  9. I’d really just like to know how you do it. The battles that every parent has – bedtimes, teeth brushing, stopping them running off in front of cars, sleepless nights, keeping on top of the housework, balancing the shopping, time for yourself as well as time for them.

  10. i would also have been more interested in the logistics of daily life such as what you cook, how you menu plan, how you arrange the housework (do the kids help? Do you have a cleaner?) and are you doing laundry all day??! Also more about home schooling.

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