19 Kids & Counting (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
19 Kids and Counting (formerly 17 Kids and Counting and 18 Kids and Counting) is an American reality television show on TLC. The show is about the Duggar family, which consists of parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children"?nine girls and ten boys (including two sets of fraternal twins), all of whose names begin with the letter "J". The series began on September 29, 2008. It has had ten seasons, with the latest beginning on August 28, 2012.
The Duggars live in Tontitown, Arkansas, and originally appeared in several TLC and Discovery Health one-hour specials, most of which focused on four of Michelle's last five deliveries.
Jim Bob has one older sister, Deanna, who (along with her daughter Amy) occasionally appears on the show. Michelle has six siblings. Jim Bob and Michelle met in the early 1980s when Jim Bob, along with a fellow church member, were sent for a follow-up visit after Michelle had experienced a religious conversion. Jim Bob and Michelle were married on July 21, 1984.
The Duggars elected to delay having children and practiced birth control. It was four years before Josh, their eldest, was born. They then resumed using birth control; despite precautions, they conceived again but Michelle miscarried. On December 9, 2011, Michelle revealed that they had named the miscarried child Caleb, even though they did not know whether the baby was a boy or a girl. Believing the miscarriage was due to the contraceptive, the Duggars quit birth control and embraced the Quiverfull movement. As they explained, they "decided to allow God to determine the number of children" they would have. Shortly thereafter, Michelle became pregnant again, this time with her first set of twins, Jana and John-David. Thereafter, Michelle has given birth approximately every year and a half.
The Duggars are conservative Christians, and due to their fundamentalist, Bible-based beliefs, they practice the following: only watching wholesome family television on DVD, and various historical events; restricted Internet use; wearing modest clothing, which dictates modest-wear swimsuits, and for the girls, skirts that go below the knees; male family members keeping their hair cut short, and the females keeping their hair long. Instead of dating, they practice chaperoned courtship, which encompasses the couple abstaining from physical contact. In the event of engagement, the suitor seeks permission from the young woman's father before asking her to be his wife. The children are homeschooled using a mix of materials, including those of Switched On Schoolhouse, Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and Accelerated Christian Education (ACE). For college studies, several of the older kids use the CollegePlus! program.
The Duggars raise their children using a buddy system, wherein an older sibling is assigned to a younger sibling and assists in the latter's primary care. According to Michelle, "They help them with their little phonics lessons and games during the day and help them practice their music lessons. They will play with them or help them pick out the color of their outfit that day and just all of those types of things." In 2004, Michelle Duggar won the "Young Mother of the Year Award" in Arkansas, which is sponsored by American Mothers Incorporated.
Jim Bob served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002. Currently, he is a real estate agent and investor. The Duggars' income is derived from the rental proceeds of the commercial properties they own. They live debt-free, which Jim Bob has said is "the fruit of Jim Sammons' Financial Freedom Seminar" he attended years ago (Sammons' Seminar is endorsed by IBLP). The construction of their 7,000-square-foot (650-square- meter) house was begun by the family in 2000 when they bought the lot and ordered the frame. Discovery Networks completed it, by finding local Arkansas construction workers to donate their skills and time. The home was completed on January 20, 2006. The painting, decorating, furnishings, appliances, and other finishing touches"?such as a stocked pantry"?were provided by Discovery Networks and corporate sponsors as part of the one-hour television special entitled 16 Children and Moving In.
During the series
On December 10, 2009, Michelle gave birth via emergency Caesarean section to Josie Brooklyn Duggar, three months prematurely. Michelle was rushed to the hospital for gallstones and it was there that doctors discovered she had pre-eclampsia and performed an emergency delivery. Josie weighed 1 lb, 6oz at birth. A week after the birth, Michelle reported that Josie was "doing as well as can be expected for a baby at her age. We are taking each hour as it comes." On April 6, 2010, after nearly four months in the hospital, Michelle and Jim Bob were able to take Josie to their rental in Little Rock, while they awaited the okay to take her home to Tontitown. However, on April 8, 2010, Josie Duggar was readmitted to the hospital after her vital signs dropped. Fortifiers that had been added to breast milk to help her gain weight appeared to be the cause.
The Duggars were able to take Josie home to Tontitown on June 23, 2010. Michelle Duggar reported that Josie is doing very well, and weighs about nine pounds. "She has a double chin now," Michelle said, "It is so precious." Josie reportedly weighed in at a healthy 15 lbs. 12 ounces just over 5 months later in December 2010.
The couple had discussed the possibility of having more children in an May 2010 interview with Radar Online. Michelle was quoted as saying:
"We would love more! I'm 43, almost 44 this September. I know that my mommy years are probably numbered, and I don't know how many more children God will see fit to give me.
"It is something we've been praying about because we do love children. Each child really is a gift and that doesn't mean just our children. We asked the Lord to give us a love of children the way He loves children. That is something that we've prayed about, and we'll just see what the Lord has in store for our family in the future."
On November 8, 2011, Michelle Duggar and family appeared on NBC's Today Show to announce that she was expecting their 20th child. On December 8, 2011, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar revealed that she miscarried. Six days later, they held a memorial service for their unborn girl whom they named Jubilee Shalom.
Jim Bob Duggar " born
Michelle Annette Duggar (née Ruark) " born
Date of birth
Married with 2 children
Birth via emergency C-section
Birth via C-section
Birth via C-section
Birth via emergency C-section
Anna " born " married Josh on September 26, 2008
Mackynzie " born (homebirth)
Michael " born (homebirth)
Jimmy Lee Duggar
Jim Bob's father
1936"2009 (aged 73)
Jim Bob's mother
aka Grandma Duggar
Jim Bob's sister
Jim Bob's niece
Sang "Amazing Grace" in the closing credits of the episode of her grandfather's funeral
Garrett Floyde Ruark
1924"2010 (aged 85); appeared in one episode
1927"1991 (aged 64)
Priscilla Lynn Waller
Stayed at the Duggar home in late 2010 to help care for the younger children; also appeared in two episodes of season 2: "Duggars Down the Aisle" and "Hunting and House Guests"
The most often recurring guests (other than relatives) are the Bates family from Tennessee. Because they are so similar to the Duggars (having 19 kids of their own), they have become close friends. As of 2012, there is a spin-off series featuring the Bates family, called United Bates of America.