Whether or not Counting On is renewed or canceled, the Duggars will certainly continue to reach out to their fans when they have happy to news to share. But they’ll also have more somber updates.
Yesterday, the Duggars honored their miscarried daughter, Jubilee.
Fans were quick to point out that, inexplicably, the Duggars appeared to have forgotten one of their children altogether.
In 2011, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar suffered a loss. Michelle experienced a stillbirth.
They gave Jubilee Shalom Duggar a grave marker (we know that this sort of thing is not for everyone; Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner planted a memorial tree, for example — but everybody grieves in their own way).
In addition, the Duggars honor the life that would have been Jubilee’s every year on what they consider to be her birthday — on December the 11th.
“It’s hard to believe Jubilee would have been 6 years old today.”
Anniversaries like that can hit hard.
“Jubilee is our 20th child who was stillborn.”
We get that this is an emotional subject, but that’s a bad sentence. (We all write bad sentences sometimes; to be clear, they’re not saying that Jubilee was their 20th stillbirth, even though that is technically what that sentence states)
“We so look forward to seeing Jubilee in heaven.”
And on that note, they finish their post in a characteristically religious way.
“In the Bible, King David’s baby died and he stated, ‘I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.’ This is our hope of eternal life, if each one of us repents of our sins and put our faith and trust in Jesus.”
Many people take comfort from their faith, but their religious message is not the issue that fans are taking with this particular post by the Duggars.
No, fans are taking issue with how the Duggars seemed to, well, forget something pretty important.
Or someone. The sort of someone whom you would think that the Duggars would have remembered and valued.
Because, well, anyone else remember the story of Caleb Duggar?
Caleb was Michelle’s second pregnancy.
Back in 1989, when Jim Bob and Michelle had only had Josh Duggar and were less extreme in at least some of their views, Michelle had a pregnancy that miscarried.
The couple took the miscarriage as a sign that they should discontinue using birth control.
They’ve said that losing Caleb was what started them down the road that led them to have as many children as they could.
And they say that Jubilee would have been their 20th child, not their 21st.
That doesn’t add up. (Literally)
And people noticed. Hardcore fans noticed.
Sure, a lot of the top comments were from people who have also suffered from miscarriages (it’s sad that so many people share that same painful story).
But plenty of Duggar fans had comments about, well, the Duggars’ math:
“Wouldn’t she have been your 21st child? I thought you all lost one between Josh & John/Jana.”
“Agreed, I mean I’m a fan but they had a child name Caleb between the twins.”
And the Duggars believe that life begins at conception, so … this is puzzling.
Though there’s a chance that the Duggars are no longer counting Caleb because they didn’t actually know what that child’s sex would have been, we have another theory:
Maybe they were trying to keep things simple.
An emotional loss like a miscarriage isn’t going to make them forget a previous one, but maybe they wanted to avoid having to explain why they might call Jubilee their 21st child.
The last thing that you want when talking about one loss is a bunch of questions asking about another.
That’s our guess, anyway. Because as an oversight, not counting Caleb doesn’t make any sense.