Jessa Duggar was raised in a household with 19 siblings, and she got used to the Duggar childcare method—older Duggar daughters took care of their younger brothers and sisters, making life easier for mom Michelle. Because child-rearing duties were spread out among numerous girls, Jessa probably grew up believing that taking care of a baby is a breeze. If Michelle Duggar wanted to go out on a date with her husband, all she had to do was hand off her baby to a “sister mom” like Jana, Jill, or Jessa and head out on her merry way.
However, Jessa Duggar is only on her first baby, which means that the 23-year-old doesn’t have any live-in nannies to help her take care of little Spurgeon Elliot Seewald. In a promo for the Duggars’ new TLC show, Jill & Jessa: Counting On, Jessa Duggar seems a bit overwhelmed and surprised by how much work goes into raising a baby without aid from her sisters.
“Having the full 24-hour care of an infant – every diaper change, every feeding, it’s all on you,” Jessa says, according to People.
Jessa Duggar previously admitted to getting a little help from her family members. Last November, she told People that her husband, Ben Seewald, was still changing all of Spurgeon’s diapers a week after she gave birth. Jana Duggar and Grandma Duggar also started staying nights at Jessa and Ben’s house so that the new parents could get plenty of beauty rest.
“You never realize the responsibility of being a parent until you have a baby yourself,” Jessa Duggar said of becoming a new mom. Radar Online labeled this comment “an uncaring dig at her unmarried and childless sister [Jana Duggar], who is giving up her own life to be at the beck and call of her sister.”
Jana Duggar is the oldest Duggar daughter, so the 26-year-old stay-at-home daughter has taken care of more babies than Jessa and her other adult sisters. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the older Duggar daughters are expected to help homeschool their younger siblings, make sure that they do their household chores, and babysit them whenever their parents want to go out. The girls are leaders of “buddy teams” comprised of younger Duggars who work together to do laundry, clean the house, and cook meals.
During a CNN interview, Michelle Duggar admitted that she wouldn’t be able to take care of all of her children without the older kids’ help.
“This house would not work if we didn’t have the buddy system. The older children mentor the younger ones. They help them with their little phonics lessons and games during the day, help them practice their music lessons. They will play with them or help them pick out the color of their outfit that they want to wear that day, and just all of those types of things.”
Jessa Duggar was a leader of a “buddy team,” but it doesn’t look like she’s being allowed to borrow any of her buddies now that she needs help taking care of her own household.
Even though it’s been many years since Michelle Duggar took care of a baby without help, Jessa Duggar says that she turns to her mother for parenting advice.
“She has raised just about every personality type, so I really enjoy learning from her,” Jessa told People. “But my baby is really still young, so most of my questions these days are about breastfeeding and when to change diaper sizes.”
Josh Duggar was one of the few Duggar children that Michelle raised without help from her daughters, and she and husband Jim Bob had a difficult time dealing with his “personality type” — Josh grew up believing that he could get away with doing some pretty horrible things as long as he confessed and asked for forgiveness. As In Touch Weekly reports, Josh Duggar sexually molested Jessa Duggar, Jill Duggar, two other unnamed sisters, and a babysitter when he was a teenager. He told his parents what he was doing on multiple different occasions, but they didn’t remove him from the household until he fondled his then-5-year-old sister. Legal experts told In Touch that “Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar could have faced up to six years in prison for their actions and been charged with Permitting Abuse of a Minor (Arkansas Code 5-27-221)” if their cover-up of Josh’s behavior had been investigated before the statute of limitations ran out.
Jessa Duggar has not said whether she would ever allow her brother to babysit her children, but Josh’s behavior hasn’t scared her and Ben away from wanting to have lots of sons—in fact, Ben has said that he would love to have 15 boys. However, this would leave Jessa with no female offspring to help her with the child-rearing duties.
You can watch Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald talk about being parents in the Jill & Jessa: Counting On promo below.
[Image via Ben Seewald/Facebook]