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Doubling Down With the Derricos: An Overabundance of Family


Kellea Tibbs, Writer and Event Planner

Some women are meant to be mothers, some more than others. Karen Derrico, from the reality show, “Doubling Down With the Derricos” is definitely one of those women. I started watching this show, about a real life Black family with 11 kids, many of whom are multiples and all of the children are so stinking cute. 

Let me first say, that I do like the show and appreciate it, because it is a chance for America to see a real Black family on TV with a mother and father taking care of their family and the craziness of looking after multiples and the drama, all of that brings. And while I do know that I would not personally want to be responsible for that many children at once, I wholeheartedly give big kudos to these parents, because, whew, it looks like a lot of work. As an observer, one can see that there is  definitely a lot of love in the Derrico household.  As a childfree woman, on the outside looking in, I by no means want this to come across as me being judgmental, only as inquisitive and a goal to get to a place of understanding, for myself (which means I need to talk it out). I also know that I can't possibly be the only person who has watched this show and thad same questions about this family.

My concerns with the show, are as follows: So, at the premiere of the show, the mom, Karen, already having given birth to 11 children,  was pregnant again with triplets. As a result of past issues with births, she had to be on bed rest and had been on bed rest for most of her pregnancies, and, after his birth, lost a baby, the last time she was pregnant.  For this bed rest period, she was admitted into the hospital and during her stay, there was an earthquake that triggered contractions and the triplets arrived earlier than expected.  One of the new triplets has a heart issue, needing open heart surgery, and from what I understood, they can't operate until the baby gains some weight.

While I feel sorry for and pray for these babies, from the outside looking in, I do think that it's a little bit selfish, if you will, to keep having babies, knowing your propensity to have multiples, and the higher chance of possible complications, especially the older you get. And now, Karen, the mom, is in pain because of the birth of back to back multiples and she can barely walk. To me, her body is probably like, I need a break. On top of that she is breast pumping for the new babies and has breast fed all 11 of the previous kids! Again, her body is like stop! Not to mention the doctors and dentist visits for 14 kids, and what about college? WTH? And now, unfortunately, one of their children has a medical issue, not to mention all three new babies are still in the hospital, so who’s paying for that?  And who knows how many of the other of the children might get sick in the future (heaven forbid they don’t)?

Again, hear me when I say that, as a woman, I definitely understand the power of a woman’s body and what we are capable of. Also, not knocking having lots of children, because my grandmother had 11 kids, however, that was also back in the 1940s and 1950s and she started having children at an early age and the cost of living was a lot cheaper.  I also realize that some women feel guilty about not having children or actually family planning and saying, maybe I don’t want to have so many and maybe I do want to be on birth control or have tubes tied, or other options that women have access to. Karen also feels some kind of way about getting a nanny because, understandably, for many women, that's considered a sign of weakness as a mother. However, it is 2020 and a nanny or babysitter nowadays is considered self-care, and normal, so I encourage and hope that Karen chooses a nanny ( or two ) to help with the 14 children. And if any family definitely needs a nanny, it's this family.

And just as I did when Octomom came on the scene in 2009, my final question of curiosity to the Derricos is, you already have 11 children, why do you need more than that, especially in 2020? Again, I'm glad they have a Black family on TV with a mother and father, and it's very interesting to watch. However, it's also a different era and I’m just wondering if the concept of family planning should have been examined a little closer in this situation, especially when health risks are at stake for the mother or the babies. And my fear is that young people, who we know are very much influenced by what they see on reality TV (i.e., The Kardashians, Love & Hip Hop, 16 and Pregnant, etc.) who don't have money or a way to support a large family, will aim to get a bright idea about a big family and not have the means to take care of them.

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