Submitted for post by Scarfoot
I purchased the book Multiple Blessings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets because I was curious what the Gosselins had to say, and, to be honest, because I needed to spend a few more dollars on Amazon.com to get free shipping! I've been a long time watcher of the show, and a frequent online reader about this family. I don't know honestly where I fall in the "Gosselin lover/hater" debate. I was hoping that by reading this book, it would fill in some of the gaps that I was curious about: Kate's ugly behavior at times, where the extended family was, and other controversy that seems to follow Jon and Kate.
The book is written almost exclusively from Kate's point of view. While Jon and Beth Carson are listed as authors, there is virtually no narrative from either one of them. Kate uses this book to document the creation of the Gosselin 10, as well as a way to discuss the Gosselin's Christian faith. Each chapter begins with applicable scripture, and Kate mentions her faith in God throughout the book. The end of the book recaps the many blessings that God provided for Jon, Kate and the children as their family stretched and grew. I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the book is a documentation of the birth and first year (or so) of the sextuplets. In fact, the book makes no mention of their television show or work with TLC. There are some sweet photographs sprinkled throughout the text, and a copy of Kate's handwritten journal from her days in the hospital.
As Kate recounts the story of the conception and birth of the sextuplets, she is very honest about the ugly or difficult aspects of her pregnancy and life after the babies were born. She cites some of the issues that I had read about her including the conception of the sextuplets (No, she did not go home with over stimulated ovaries and have sex to try and conceive sextuplets on purpose, it was a clinical experience in a doctor's office.), her behavior as she came home and saw the new nursery decorations volunteers had done for her (She realizes that she came across as ungrateful and mean, and was apologetic. She was also very hormonal and stressed out at the time.), or even treating Hannah differently than the other sextuplets (She readily admits that she bonded first with Hannah, that she is not perfect, but that she loves all of her children equally and yet differently). Kate mentions her mothers and sisters frequently. It appears that Kate had a close relationship with her mother at least until Kate moved into the Ronald McDonald House. I don't recall her mentioning her mother again after that point in the narrative.
Watching the show, it was clear that Kate struggles with control in her life. I believe that she is a woman who is very easily distressed. I feel a small amount of pity for a woman who grasps desperately for control of all aspects of her life, and then is thrown into an incredibly stressful situation. After finishing this book, I view Kate as someone who was struggling to accept the fact that their life was far from easy or normal, far from her control, and yet loving these "creatures" that turned her life upside down. Does this mean that I am defending Kate's decisions? Not necessarily. A few times throughout the book, I found myself thinking "Oh my goodness, Kate, that was a really ugly thing to say/do." However, without Kate even explaining her thoughts or emotions at the time of the children's birth, it is obvious that stresses and hormone fluctuations made Kate appear even more demanding and pushy than usual. Keeping that in mind, I honestly can't say how I would react if I came home to a house that felt out of control to me, having too many children to juggle, a husband who was unemployed, a terrifying fear that my children would get sick, and the death of a beloved father in law. All of these things complicated a situation that was already incredibly complex and stressful. My opinion has always been that Kate is a very fearful person. I believe that she constantly worries about what "could happen" and this causes her to do things (such as the show) as a way to protect the future of their children, and causes her to be a very tense person who has a hard time relaxing and enjoying life. However, I'm straying from the book by sharing my views.
After finishing the book, I have not been pushed into one "camp" or the other. It was a mildly interesting read, and did help me to "connect the dots" from the show. I did appreciate knowing more about what Kate and Jon believe, and seeing that their faith is a larger part of their life. I appreciated Kate's honesty about their difficulties, and her positive view of the future. I did finish the book with a sense of sadness that her extended family appears to no longer be a regular part of their lives. I sincerely hope this can be mended. And hey, the book helped me get free shipping, so I'm a happy camper!