A wise man named Michael Scott once said, "I want to be married and have a hundred kids so I can have a hundred friends, and no one can say no to being my friend." Michelle Duggar seems to be of the same opinion. While she didn't actually have a hundred children, she did have a lot. But just how did it turn out for her in the friend department? Particularly, are the Duggar women close with their mom? After years of strict rules and über conservative parenting, one has to wonder if the bond between mother and daughter was strengthened or strained.
Michelle Duggar has 19 children, nine of whom are girls. Her daughters —Jana, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joy-Anna, Johanna, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, and Josie — have been thrust into the spotlight by the family's reality television presence. This public life has also exposed some of the family dynamics between parents and children. While the younger Duggar girls haven't been the subject of quite as much individualized attention, the elder sisters have developed unique followings of their own. Between them, they have made a few statements that suggest they have strong relationships with mom Michelle — especially those who have gone on to become mothers in their own right.
Jill was the first Duggar daughter to get married and have children. She and husband Derick Dillard tied the knot on June 21, 2014 and have two children together. In March of 2017, Dillard shared a photo to his Instagram of Jill with their child's two grandmothers, Michelle and Derick's mother. While the photo certainly isn't proof that Jill is close with her mom, the family is all smiles and the two certainly seem to be enjoying their time together.
Of all the girls, Jessa seems to be the closest with Michelle. Since becoming a mother, she has spoken out a few times about what an inspiration her own mom has been to her. She posted a photo to her Instagram with a caption thanking her mother for all that she has done:
Thank you, Mama, for laying down your life for me, not only on this day 25 years ago, but also every day of raising me thereafter. I know I was probably your most strong-willed and hard-headed child, and it took a lot of patience to deal with me and love me through all my craziness. Thank you for reading the Bible to us, memorizing scriptures with us, and for showing us Christ from a young age. You are my hero, and I thank God that I get to call you my Mama.
But just because she is grateful for her own upbringing doesn't mean that she plans to do things the exact same way. She told Us Weekly in an interview that she plans to parent a little bit differently. However, she still sees her mom as a "baby encyclopedia" and goes to her often for help and reassurance:
Every time I come to my mom for advice, she always reminds me that I've got this. There's no pressure to do things just exactly how she did them, but I'm so grateful for all her advice and help. Even when I feel overwhelmed, she’s always there to encourage me and tell me, "You’re doing a great job!"
Michelle was also there when Jessa struggled through a difficult delivery, and was actually the one to call the ambulance to come to her daughter's aide when she began to hemorrhage, according to Daily Mail UK. Talk about being there through thick and thin!
Jinger has often been referred to as the Duggar family's "rebel daughter," for bending some of the stricter rules and forging more of a unique path than some of her siblings. However, her wild streak (if you can call it that) doesn't seem to have weakened her bond with her mom. Jinger and her husband Jeremy Vuolo are expecting a baby girl this July and the mom-to-be has shared that she "definitely" wants Michelle there when it all goes down, according to E! News:
I want my mom definitely at the birth of our child and so I've invited her and Jana as well and Jill, she wants to make it. So they're invited, but I don't know how many will be able to make it. My mom, at this point, is the only one who's probably going to be able to make it for the birth.
Choosing who to bring with you into the delivery room is a complicated and important decision. It's unlikely that Jinger would bring someone with her who didn't hold a special place in her life.
Joy-Anna has also gone on to become a mother, after delivering a 10-pound baby boy that left fans and family members alike in shock. While she initially prepared to have a home birth, complications including a breech baby led to her being rushed to the hospital. For her birth, too, Michelle was on hand to assist, according to AOL. Following the birth of Joy-Anna's baby, her proud parents posted a video to the family's official YouTube page congratulating her. "You are an amazing woman," Michelle said in the video. "And you and Austin are an awesome team. Y'all did a great job and we are so excited."
Of course, the fact that the girls opted to have their mom in the delivery room with them isn't conclusive proof that they have a strong relationship. However, it does suggest that there is a bond there. As for the younger girls who still live at home with mom and dad, only time will tell if they choose to stay in their parents' lives once they have a choice.