There’s a new Duggar on the way, but this time it’s not Michelle Duggar adding another to her brood of 18 children. Instead, it’s a grandchild expected by the oldest son and his wife of seven months.
The happy news was broken exclusively on TODAY Monday. Anna Keller Duggar learned she was pregnant on Feb. 2 and is due Oct. 12.
“I am three months right now and feeling great,” Anna told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Monday. “Morning sickness is pretty much all gone. I’m looking forward to having my baby.”
The couple made their happy news public from the home of Josh Duggar’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Surrounding them were Josh’s 17 brothers and sisters and his parents.
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Anna said that she had taken several pregnancy tests since her marriage to Josh last September. When it came time to take another in early February, she told Vieira, she didn’t want to be disappointed again. She took the test at the used-car dealership she and Josh own and operate, then left it in the bathroom without looking at it. She asked Josh to check it for her.
“Wow! I’m going to be a father,” Josh said, describing his reaction when he saw the positive test.
Instead of telling Anna right away, he told her he’d tell her the results when they got home from work that night. She called her parents in Florida first, and the next day they told his entire family.
“We are so thrilled and so excited for Josh and Anna,” said Michelle Duggar, who held her youngest daughter, 4-month-old Jordyn, on her knee. She said that when she was growing up, she had nieces and nephews her own age, so it wouldn’t be strange to have a grandchild almost the same age as her own child.
All 18 of the Duggar children have names beginning with the letter J, and Josh and Anna are frequently asked if they intend to keep up the same tradition. The other question everyone wants to know the answer to is if they want to have as many children as Josh’s parents.
“We’re pretty sure we’re not going to go with J,” Josh laughed, adding that they’re thinking about using the letter M, in honor of his mother, as a theme letter. As for how many children they’ll have, he said. “We’re leaving that up to God.”
Vieira asked Josh what lessons he’s learned about parenthood from growing up in such a large family.
“In any large family you learn responsibility. You learn it from an early age,” he said.
His father offered another bit of advice: “Teach your children to love the Lord with all their hearts; serve others.”
Josh and Anna were married Sept. 26 of last year at the Buford Grove Baptist Church in Hilliard, Fla. The 20-year-olds had met at a home-schooling conference and reported that it was love at first sight.
After a period of supervised courtship, in which they were allowed to hold hands but not to kiss, the couple decided to get married. The Florida church donated its facilities for the wedding, Anna herself made all the dresses for the bridesmaids, and the Duggars piled in the used bus they had purchased from a hockey team to drive from their Arkansas home for the ceremony.
At the wedding, which was later aired on TLC as part of the reality show “17 Kids and Counting,” the couple were allowed to kiss for the first time. After a honeymoon, they settled into their own quarters near Josh’s parents, where he and Anna run a used-car dealership.
Four months before the wedding, Michelle Duggar had revealed to TODAY that she was expecting her 18th baby. After the wedding, the family appeared on TODAY again to reveal that the baby she was carrying was a girl.
On Dec. 22 of last year, just in time for Christmas, Michelle gave birth by Caesarean section to Jordyn-Grace Makiya Duggar. At the same time, the family published their latest book, “The Duggars: 20 And Counting” and updated the name of their TLC show to “Baby Makes 18.”
As many children as God gives
The Duggars are devout Christians who take the Biblical advice to be fruitful and multiply literally. They are part of the QuiverFull movement, which holds that couples should have as many children “as God gives them.”
On their Web page, Josh and Anna write: “We look forward to the blessing of children as stated in the Psalms, ‘Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.’ (Psalms 127:3) Having both been raised in large families, we have agreed to trust God in the area of children and the size of it.”
In January, Josh told People magazine, “I would welcome a big family. My parents have been wonderful examples.”
Anna, who grew up in a family of eight children in Florida, added, “I would love to have as many children as God would bless us with. Growing up in a large family, and Joshua in a mega-family, you learn so much more. I think a large family helps you prepare for life.”
In the People article, the couple confessed that it was difficult adjusting to living in a home with just the two of them.
“Married life has been great,” Joshua said. “It’s definitely quieter than being in a house with so many kids. When I go to the grocery store, it feels strange only having one shopping cart.”
“I don’t know how to do just one or two loads of laundry a week instead of one or two loads a day and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to cook for only two people,” Anna told the magazine.
Images: The Duggar bunchMeanwhile, as the 42-year-old Michelle Duggar told TODAY last year, she and her husband may not be done having children of their own.
“We would love more,’’ Michelle said. “We really believe that each child is a gift from God. We would love to receive more gifts if the Lord sees fit. I guess we’ll just wait and see.”
While she’s waiting, she can look forward to her first grandchild.
Vieira asked Michelle what words of advice she had for her son and daughter-in-law.
“Just enjoy them because they will grow up really, really fast,” she said.
Visit DuggarFamily.comfor more info on the family. Michelle and Jim Bob’s book, “The Duggars: 20 and Counting,” is out now on Howard Books. For more on the Duggars and Josh and Anna’s pregnancy news, watch “18 Kids and Counting” Tuesday, April 14, at 9 p.m. (e/p) on TLC and visit TLC.com.
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