Duggar family members return to the airways in December for the first time since their series, 19 Kids and Counting, was canceled by TLC in July. Sisters Jill and Jessa Duggar, along with their husbands Derick Dillard and Ben Seewald, will be showcased in the first of a three-part special on TLC, Jill and Jessa: Counting On.
Yesterday, the network released a short preview of the first special, which is now in production. The show will focus on Jessa Duggar’s pregnancy and the birth of her first child, which is due on November 1. The lead-up to the birth is being filmed now, awaiting the big day.
The preview depicts Jessa and Jill Duggar discussing their feelings when the 19 Kids and Counting series was nixed. Their long-running show was canceled when reports were released in May that their brother, Josh Duggar, had sexually molested them when they were children. The reports also confirmed that two other sisters were molested by Josh and one non-related minor child.
The special addresses the situation, which has been the elephant in the room in anything related to the Duggar family since May. In the preview clip, Jill is in tears as she recounts her reaction to the release of the reports.
“You’re angry and hurt, like all of those emotions all mixed together. I cried a lot of tears. I still do. I know I’m hurting.”
Jessa explains that the release of the information came at “the most joyful time in my life.” She had recently married Ben Seewald in a very public, televised wedding ceremony, and the couple announced that they were expecting their first child a short time later.
“We were devastated, like we couldn’t believe it. Like you have to wonder, how does this happen.”
Both Duggar daughters expressed anger that the reports about the incestual molestations were released, and they both downplayed the fact that the abuse occurred. In an interview on The Kelly File on the Fox News network on June 5, Jessa made a statement which shocked audiences.
“I was one of the victims, so I can speak out and I can say this and set the record straight here. Like in Josh’s case he was a boy, young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls and that got him into some trouble. And he made some bad choices.”
Jessa Duggar’s comments were severely condemned by many as excusing the deviant behavior of her brother and dismissing the significance of child molestation. The Duggar family could not understand why the world was so outraged at Josh Duggar’s behavior and at parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Audiences were angry at the parents for their failure to prevent the abuse of their daughters and another child, which went on for more than a year. They were also angry that the family was depicted in a reality series at the time the Duggars were under investigation by the Arkansas Department of Services in 2006 for child endangerment.
The public reaction to the revelations of what really went on inside the Duggar family home caused a PR problem for the TLC network, even after the family’s reality TV series was canceled. In response, TLC aired a documentary in August which included Jessa, Jill, and their mother, Michelle, sitting in on a lecture about the severity of child sexual abuse. That show aired just days after it was further revealed that Josh Duggar had committed adultery with a bisexual porn star, having unprotected sex with her while his wife, Anna, was pregnant with the couple’s fourth child.
Ironically, the preview clip for the December special was filmed in the home of Jessa and Ben, which was previously the home of brother Josh and his wife Anna for several years. (The house is owned by Jessa’s grandmother, Mary Duggar.) The clip shows Jessa making a quick transition from the effects of Josh’s behavior on the Duggar family to a more positive note.
“Definitely, even with all the difficulties that my family has walked through, there’s still a lot of exciting milestones ahead and Ben and I are really excited to welcome our first little one into the world very soon.”
Jill is filmed monitoring Jessa’s pregnancy by checking the baby’s heartbeat. Jill recently announced her completion of controversial midwife training. Jill’s infant son, Israel David, is also present in the preview clip and is shown playing with his uncle Ben Seewald.
This is the first news about the Duggars from TLC since it announced production of the specials in September. It is not known if any other Duggar family members will appear in the special, but fans are anticipating the birth of Jessa’s baby. Jessa has planned a home birth and, in this family, that usually involves the presence of many siblings and mother Michelle.
Scroll down to leave your comments and opinions.
[Image via TLC]