The past few years have no doubt been pretty difficult for 19 Kids and Counting's Anna Duggar: after her husband, Josh, admitted publicly in 2015 that he had molested five underaged girls when he was 14 years old, according to Us Weekly, he then confessed only a few months later that he had an also been unfaithful in his marriage. Anna has kept a low profile since then, though the mom-of-five does occasionally post photos of her family on Instagram, much to the enjoyment of her fans and followers. In her latest post, Anna Duggar mentioned her previous miscarriage in a caption in which she discussed her love for her children, and though the loss occurred years ago, it's a testament to the lingering effect that pregnancy loss often has on parents, regardless of how many children they are able to go on to have.
On Friday, Anna shared a cute video of her kids chowing down on sliced cucumbers, and quipped, "You know you're a #DuggarMom when your kids eat cucumbers faster than you can prepare them!" She also shared a Duggar-themed fun fact under the #FunFact Friday hashtag, and pointed out that of the 10 grandchildren (!) that Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar already have, she is actually the mother of half of them. But judging by the nearly 400 comments that were left, it seems it was the discussion of her miscarriage that really struck a chord.
In the post caption, Anna wrote, "I'm so thankful for the 5 beautiful children God has given us (+1 in heaven!)," and while it's clear that the comment itself was likely meant to be uplifting, the mention of her pregnancy loss seemed pretty significant. For one, it's not something that Anna has seemed to discuss often. While Jim Bob and Michelle have been open about their two miscarriages — the first of which occurred after Josh was born while the couple claims Michelle was on the birth control pill, and the second when Michelle was pregnant in 2011 with what would have been the couple's 20th child, a baby girl they'd named Jubilee — a number of Anna's followers commented that they didn't even know she'd ever suffered a miscarriage.
But it turns out that Anna has actually discussed her loss before: in 2010, while she was pregnant with her now-6-year-old son Michael, Anna visited the TODAY show, and told Meredith Viera that being pregnant again after a miscarriage felt bittersweet. She said,
It was very hard to go through the excitement of finding out we were expecting a little one and then losing it. One thing that really helped was thanking God, thanking him in the good times and thanking him when things don’t go the way we expected them to … If you thank God it really, really releases you and helps you to be able to go on with life.
Anna also discussed the loss in an interview with People while sharing the news of her pregnancy with Michael, and said realizing that miscarriage is actually very common, and that it wasn't her fault, was really valuable. She said,
I was very sad. Josh was a big encouragement to me. It helped us go through the heartbreak to learn that 30 or 40 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That was comforting in some ways.
Whether they'd known about Anna's miscarriage previously or not, many of the commenters chimed in to share their own experience with pregnancy loss. One user wrote, "I too had a miscarriage, and it touches your soul. Thank you for sharing," while another shared, "I didn't know you lost a baby. I personally know how devastating it is." And though it has to be pretty difficult for someone with five children to individually respond to hundreds of Instagram comments, Anna did make a point to offer her condolences to one user, who shared that "[her] baby went to heaven last month."
Of course, even if pregnancy loss is common — roughly 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, according to the Huffington Post — it doesn't take away from the sadness of knowing that it happened to you. Anna's post, and the comments it inspired, is a reminder that, for many parents, pregnancy loss is something that never leaves them. And that no matter how much they love the other children they may have, or how happy they can still be in their daily lives, the memory of the babies they weren't able to have will always be something they carry in their hearts.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.