The reality TV stars Jim Bob, 46, and Michelle Duggar, 45, are expecting their 20th child in April, 2012, the couple revealed on Today Tuesday morning.
The couple are excited about the surprise. We are so excited, Michelle said. Michelle and I both feel like some of the most blessed parents in the world. Our children are so sweet ... we are so grateful to God, Jim Bob echoed, We didn't want to stop on an odd number.
Now Michelle is three and a half months into her pregnancy. I was not thinking that God would give us another one, and we are just so grateful, she said. I feel good. I am past the sickness stage now.
The couple star 19 Kids and Counting, on TLC, sharing their daily struggles and triumphs raising 19 children in Arkansas. As the conservative Christian, they give all their kids' names that begin with the letter J.
The Duggars homeschool their kids and use a buddy system to raise them, which means an older sibling is assigned to a younger sibling and assists in their primary care. Now the huge family lives debt free in a house, which was built themselves in Tontitown, Ark.
However, they are also facing more and more criticism for the size of their family . And because Michelle also experienced life-threatening preeclampsia and the premature birth of the last baby Josie, who was born in Dec. 2009, many people wonder that there might be risks related to Michelle's new pregnancy.
The couple, who was interviewed by People just after just revealing the news, however, dismissed the doubt.
If we felt that way, we would have stopped back with our second birth, Michelle said, for she had experienced preeclampsia during her second pregnancy with twins John David and Jana, both 21. There are many women who have experienced preeclampsia and have gone on to have more children.
That whole mind set that you stop after a problem pregnancy isn't realistic, she added. You may encounter struggles along the way. You may not have a perfect pregnancy, but each child is a precious gift.
Some people also think the Duggar children may not get to spend enough time with their parents like other children in normal family do.
however, We homeschool, so we are around our children day in and day out, Jim Bob explained. Because I am in real estate, I am home and can be with the children a lot. When we go to the store or run errands, we take the kids one on one and we get to spend more time individually than a lot of parents do.
The couple really enjoy the beauty of large family. The beauty of being in a large family, Michelle said, is that everyone works together as a team and it is about teaching our children responsibility.
And according to Michelle, the family never take the criticism to heart.
There are a lot of good things we can learn from our critics, she told People. We really believe we are following our faith and there are sometimes going to be people who don't agree and we aren't going to worry about the negative things stated.
We are thankful for those out there who are happy, Michelle said, and we are grateful for each and every gift of a child.
Not only the couple, but also other children are excited for Michelle's pregnancy. When Jim Bob suddenly announced the news to the whole family, the children were wondering if their father was joking.
It was a big surprise. The little ones started jumping up and down when they realized he was serious. Michelle said on Today.
The List of Children
1. Joshua Josh James (born March 3, 1988, age 23)
2. Jana Marie (born January 12, 1990, age 21)
3. John-David (born January 12, 1990, age 21)
4. Jill Michelle (born May 17, 1991, age 20)
5. Jessa Lauren (born November 4, 1992, age 19)
6. Jinger Nicole (born December 21, 1993, age 17)
7. Joseph Garrett (born January 20, 1995, age 16)
8. Josiah Matthew (born August 28, 1996, age 15)
9. Joy-Anna (born October 28, 1997, age 14)
10. Jedidiah Robert (born December 30, 1998, age 12)
11. Jeremiah Robert (born December 30, 1998, age 12)
12. Jason Michael (born April 21, 2000, age 11)
13. James Andrew, (born July 7, 2001, age 10)
14. Justin Samuel (born November 15, 2002, age 8)
15. Jackson Levi (born May 23, 2004, age 7)
16. Johannah Faith (born October 11, 2005, age 6)
17. Jennifer Danielle (born August 2, 2007, age 4)
18. Jordyn-Grace Makiya (born December 18, 2008, 2 years 10 months)
19. Josie Brooklyn (born December 10, 2009, 1 year 10 months)
20. ? (Due in April 2012)