Anna and Josh Duggar have released a statement announcing that the couple is expecting another baby this year — their fifth child. It’s a rare public speech from Josh, who has kept himself (mostly) behind the scenes since the news broke in 2015 that he had admitted molesting several underage girls. Since then, each of Josh’s attempts to return to public life has been met with a loud negative response from the viewing audiences.
This time around, though, it’s his siblings’ response — or lack thereof — that may be the most telling.
After Josh Duggar was exposed, not only in the released police report, but when his name turned up on a website devoted to extramarital dating, his siblings spoke publicly on their new show, Counting On, to say how disappointed they were.
John David Duggar, for one, says he could no longer see his brother the way he once did.
This change from the other Duggar family members may be showing in the response to Josh and Anna’s pregnancy announcement: static silence.
Josh and Anna released their statement yesterday (March 17) on the Duggar Family’s website.
As of today, not one sibling has posted, “Congratulations, Josh and Anna!” or “Can’t wait to meet my new nephew!” or any other excited, congratulatory, or anticipatory message on their social media. Instead, Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard’s latest posts, two days and five days ago, respectively, center on their husbands and children.
A post shared by Jessa Seewald (@jessaseewald) on
A post shared by Jill Dillard (@jillmdillard) on
Jinger Duggar Vuolo and her new husband Jeremy also skipped any response to Josh and Anna’s announcement, instead limiting recent social media posts on their shared page to an updated profile photo and evangelical quotes.
Skipping a social media announcement about their joy and excitement for a sibling’s life event may seem minor — but bear in mind the Duggar family releases a flurry of congratulatory videos when a sibling begins dating.
Yes — that’s Jill and Derick Dillard in a publicly released video, congratulating Joe Duggar and Kendra Caldwell on entering a courtship. A courtship, if you will recall, has been described by the Duggar family on their reality shows as a type of dating focused on marriage. We also know that courtships do not always lead to marriage. Recall Josiah Duggar, whose courtship with Marjorie Jackson broke off after the family’s previous reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, was taken off the air.
Courtship may be serious, but it isn’t a marriage or pregnancy.
Yet we see Duggar family members announcing congratulations for courtships in a video — while they don’t do as much for the announcement that their sister-in-law, Anna Duggar, is pregnant.
Even the Duggar Family Official Facebook page has kept discussion of Josh’s announcement to a single post of link and text, without any accompanying image, much less video.
In fact, the post purports to speak for the whole family — “… our entire family looks forward to this sweet new blessing.” Yet no one else in the family felt interested in posting, and even Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar didn’t post a video of anyone in their household expressing joy — just assured readers that everyone is happy.
Maybe the Duggars are all quite busy this weekend and the congratulatory videos and posts will all surface on Monday morning. Perhaps Josh and Anna Duggar have asked for their interactions to be kept behind the scenes. It could be that the couple is ready for a bit less publicity.
However, they did make a public announcement, released on a website associated with the family’s reality show. It was shared on the Duggar family Facebook page, with over 875,000 followers. That’s pretty public, if they were seeking privacy.
For now, Josh’s siblings’ choice not to speak openly of his announcement and the promise of another Duggar grandbaby, another cousin for their own children, seems to speak volumes. Is Josh Duggar seeking to rejoin his family and re-enter public life with the announcement of this new baby, and if so, is this his siblings’ way of saying they aren’t happy with the idea?
[Featured Image by Josh Duggar/Facebook]