Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” have announced that they are expecting their 20th child this spring.
The news was announced on ABC’s “Today Show” amid family and fans.
“We are so excited,” said 45-year-old Michelle, mother of 19 children. “I feel good, I am past the sickness stage now.”
Mrs. Duggar is over three months along in her pregnancy and expects the child in April.
The family from Arkansas includes children Joshua, 23 (who is married to Anna, 23, and has two children), twins Jana and David-John, 21; Jill, 20; Jessa, 19; Jinger, 17; Joseph, 16; Josiah, 15; Joy-Anna, 14; twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, 12; Jason, 11; James, 10; Justin, 8; Jackson, 7; Johanna, 6; Jennifer, 4; Jordyn, 3; and the youngest, Josie, who was born during a medical emergency Dec. 18, 2009.
Josie was born at a mere 25 months along Duggar’s pregnancy after a pre-eclampsia diagnosis and weighed only one pound and six ounces. The condition is caused by hypertension during pregnancy and involves a high amount of protein in the urine for which there is no known cure. TLC covered the medical drama and although Josie is developing normally, viewers question the Duggars’ decision to have another child.
Jim Bob understands that the question is raised and explained, “Michelle is probably in better health now than she was 10 years ago.” The 46-year-old father of the large family added, “She has been getting on an elliptical for about an hour a day and is very careful of what she eats.”
Approximately 10 to 15 percent of women experience pre-eclampsia and those who have had it previously have an increased chance of it reoccurring. Mrs. Duggar had it with her second pregnancy as well as with Josie, but she said she is being cautious.
“We are just going to do the best we can,” said Duggar. “I am taking a nap every day, and we are just taking good care.”
Mr. Duggar agreed with his wife, adding, “If we had lived by fear after Michelle had pre-eclampsia after her second delivery, we would have missed out on all our wonderful blessings,” referring to their many children. “So many pregnancies have gone extremely well.”
Duggar will undergo a C-section for the first time ever because of the cut inside of her uterus that Josie’s birth required. She has spent over 14 years of her life pregnant.
Jim Bob and Michelle, who identify as Christians, were married on July 21, 1984. Four years later, their first child, Josh, was born. Not ready for another one yet, Michelle began to take birth control pills. But she conceived and later suffered a miscarriage.
“As conservative Christians, we believe every life is sacred, even the life of the unborn. Due to our lack of knowledge, we destroyed the precious life of our unborn child. We prayed and studied the Bible and found a host of references that told us God considered children a gift, a blessing, and a reward. Yet we had considered having another child an inconvenience during that busy time in our lives, and we had taken steps to prevent it from happening,” the Duggars said on the website.
Since then, they decided to allow God to determine the number of children they would have.