One Duggar is moving out, but if all goes as predicted, Duggar child No. 18 will arrive on New Year’s Day. And, it’s a girl.
“We’re catching up!” Michelle Duggar, the mother of America’s most famous supersize family, said after revealing the sex of the infant growing in her womb.
“This will give us 10 boys and eight girls,” her husband, Jim Bob Duggar, confirmed Monday to TODAY’s Ann Curry.
Actually, it will be just nine boys to eight girls in the family’s Arkansas home. The family’s eldest son, 20-year-old Joshua, was just married to Anna Keller, also 20, over the weekend at the Buford Grove Baptist Church in Hilliard, Fla. The family gathered in the church parking lot to bring Curry up to date on the wedding and to talk about tonight’s debut of the Duggars’ new reality show, “17 Kids and Counting.”
Mother’s Day surpriseThe Duggars were last on TODAY on Mother’s Day, when Michelle revealed to her surprised family that she was pregnant again, just nine months after giving birth to the 17th Duggar child, Jennifer.
With Joshua and Anna honeymooning at an undisclosed location, the rest of the Duggar children sat quietly while their parents talked about the wedding and the joy they take in their extraordinary family. Some of the smaller children fidgeted just a bit, but not one uttered an unsolicited peep.
Behind the family stood a used tour bus fitted out for camping. The vehicle was purchased from a professional hockey team.
“We travel all over the country in that bus,” said Jim Bob, a real estate broker who has recently gone into the used-car business. “It has 15 beds plus all the couches to sleep on. It really works good for our family.”
The family was still bubbling about the wedding. Joshua and Anna had met at a home-school conference. Anna had made a commitment not to date — she calls it “courting” — until she was 20, and she and Joshua reportedly hit it off immediately. Devout Christians, they started their supervised courtship not with a kiss, but by holding hands.
Like Joshua, Anna comes from a large family, and will leave her home in Florida to begin married life near her in-laws’ home in Arkansas.
One of the older Duggar girls, Jill (all the children’s names begin with J), told Curry about the wedding, which will be featured toward the end of the 10-week TLC series.
“I think it was all beautiful,” Jill said, flashing a set of braces when she smiled. “Anna did a really good job. She made all the bridesmaid’s dresses, and they turned out lovely, and the whole wedding ceremony just went off wonderfully.”
Curry noted that the family is very traditional, even old-fashioned. Yet, they are the stars of their own reality series on TLC, a very modern form of popular entertainment.
“We’re just a big family. We want everybody to know that we can have a fun time even though we’ve got a large family,” Jim Bob said. “We love going places together, doing things together. Some of the [TLC] shows will talk about our trip to the TODAY show and how much fun our big family had in New York City.”
“We just want to encourage families to hang in there and realize children are a gift from God,” Michelle added, saying their goal is “to just encourage families to have fun and enjoy life and to love the Lord.”
A big decision that’s coming up is what to name the new baby when she arrives. It’s a given that her name will begin with a J, and Joshua, John-David, Jana, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah and Jennifer are already taken.
“My dad wants Julie Grace,” young Josiah reported. “I think Jessie’s a lot better.”
Michelle suggested the family would have to put the issue to a vote.
Michelle Duggar is 42. She has two sets of twins and has been pregnant for 12 years of her life. Curry asked her if 18 are enough.
“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.”