Mazel tov, Duggars! The most episode of TLC's 19 Kids &Counting revealed that the Josh and Anna Duggar's second child is a boy. (In case you are unfamiliar with the show, Josh is the oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children.) And the news was revealed to Josh's siblings via skywriting--no lie, skywriting.
Are Josh and Anna going to stop having kids after getting "one of each," or are they going to try to match Jim Bob and Michelle's achievement of nearly 20 babies?
Here's what the young parents revealed to us exclusively about their plans to bring this next baby into the world through a home birth (hopefully!), their family-planning philosophy and what high-profile career Josh has in his sights, long-term:
Anna, who is due in June, tells us, "I'm at the easy, no-morning-sickness second-trimester part of the pregnancy." The younger Mrs. Duggar says that she's excited to mix up her family a little: "I've had a lot of fun preparing for a boy, shopping and getting everything ready. Obviously, boys and girls are just totally different. Even the amount of movement from Mackynzie's pregnancy to this pregnancy it's like, whoa, we've got an active little boy--Mackynzie wasn't quite so active. And you look at [6-year-old] Jackson and you look at [5-year-old] Johannah--they're totally different. I'm looking forward to having a little boy, it'll be different; we can wrestle--well, not right away, of course."
Speaking of birth, Anna says preparations for the delivery are well under way: "We're planning on a home birth, but we're still at 25 weeks monitoring the pregnancy and making sure that it's risk-free, so we're not 100 percent [sure a home birth will happen]. We're still considering our options, but we're definitely planning towards a home birth--we just really enjoyed the experience we had [delivering Mackynzie at home]. Of course, last time was unplanned, so there was a little hurrying and scurrying to get everything there that we needed, but it's definitely fun planning [for a home birth] and definitely a learning process."
Anna's sister-in-law, Jill (who is the fourth-born child of Jim Bob and Michelle), is widely recognized for her caretaking role with her siblings and her interest in perhaps parlaying that interest into a career, maybe through nursing or work as a birth doula. We asked Anna if Jill might be one of her birth attendants, and she told us, "Jill is still very interested in being a labor and delivery nurse so that's something that's she's working toward and looking at. You'd have to ask Jill about [her specific career plans], but I definitely want to have her there for support. If Joshua's family is available, I'm definitely looking forward to having Michelle and Jill there."
So what happens after the arrival of baby boy Duggar? Will he be the second child of many to come, or will Anna and Josh stop once they have "one of each"? If nothing else, having kids gets pretty darn expensive!
According to Josh, "We've decided we're going to have 25. I always say that jokingly, but there's a lot that goes into a family, and a lot of hard work, and that point often gets overlooked, especially with the harshness the economy is going through now. [The cost of children] is something we think about, but it's often a sacrifice to be able to raise a child and do it well, whether you have one sacrifice or 19."
"It's really not about the number of children you have," Josh adds, "but how well are you doing with the children that God has given you. We're really just going to take it one at a time. I don't think you can say we're going to set out and say we're going to have five kids or four or three. We have no control over that. God has the control. Obviously, we can do things to prevent that, but I'm glad my parents didn't just settle to have three or four children. There are definitely a lot of advantages to trusting [in God]. Anna's glad that her parents didn't stop at four, because she was number five."
But isn't there a limit to how many ways you can realistically slice up the family pie? Josh responds, "I would look at it from the other side: There's always room for one more. There are arguments on both sides, and obviously we hear them all, and everybody has their own opinion, and that's something we have to realize every day as well. We've been doing this in the public eye for a long time, and you get a lot of scrutiny and a lot of negative comments, but we also hear a lot of positive comments...There's not any one of my siblings that I wouldn't want to have in my life.
"Each person has to make that decision for themselves, but right now we're in the state where we've got a little one that's under our feet and a little one that's on the way, but we're just enjoying the time and the precious moments that we have at this time, and taking each moment as it comes to us." Awww...
There's also more to Josh and Anna's life than just their two babies. Josh tells us that the car lot is going well, noting, "We've added an additional location. We have two lots, we're branching out. We're actually wrapping up construction this week on interior remodeling on our new office. I'm also enrolled in [a distance-learning] college at the moment as well."
Yup, the oldest Duggar child is back in school, working toward some long-term goals. Josh says, "I'm focusing on my B.A. in political science...Family law is really appealing to me, as well as constitutional law, so I'll probably take steps along that road. And politics ties in as an interest of mine for a number of years, and I've worked in campaigns, in different capacities, and that's something that definitely appeals to me."
Intriguing! Might Josh follow his father's political footsteps by seeking a seat in the the Arkansas State Assembly? Not exactly, says Josh: "I think really I don't have as much of an interested in elected office. At this point, I'd be interested in working for somebody or helping somebody--we have a lot of great candidates right now and a lot of great people in public office. The ideals of public service really intrigues me. We'll see how the years unfold. Right now I'm really focused on building my business here. And my wife and I look at our lives, really, as a ministry.
"Every opportunity, even the television show, whatever we do, can be an opportunity to reach into the lives of people in a positive way, by sharing God's hope with them."
So what do you think? Is it cool with you that Josh and Anna are "going to take it one at a time," or do you expect more procreative ambition from young Duggars? And what do you think they should name their new baby boy?! Hit the comments!
19 Kids and Counting airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on TLC.