Carlin Bates' Birthday Message To Joy-Anna Duggar Sparks Controversy

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Carlin Bates and Joy-Anna Duggar have been friends for a really long time, supporting one another through happy life events as well as devastating ones, including the Counting On star's recent miscarriage. But despite the pair's strong bond, some people think Carlin's birthday message to Joy-Anna Duggar had bad intentions. The reason? Bates used a photo of Duggar when she was pregnant with the baby girl she lost in June.

Like any good friend would, Bates took to Instagram Monday to wish Duggar a happy 22nd birthday. The post was as sweet as you might expect, with the pregnant newlywed gushing over their long history together. "From kids playing in the dirt, to walking down the aisle, to becoming mommies ... You have been my best friend through it all!" she said. "I don’t know where I’d be without you!"

The reality star continued, "You’ve been there to laugh with me and to cry with me. You’ve encouraged me and challenged me. You’ve been the best friend anyone could ever hope to have! Happy birthday, Joy! Love you big!"

Seems like an innocent post, right? But if you pay closer attention to the snap, you'll realize Duggar was five months pregnant in the pic. Just a month later, she'd lose her daughter who she named Annabell Elise.

After the pic was shared, some people complained it was an insensitive choice, with one Redditor writing, "I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and desperately HOPE that she at least asked Joy’s permission before possibly ripping open old wounds, but who knows."

They continued, "I mean obviously she didn’t forget that she was pregnant but come on. There wasn’t a single other photo she could have shared? Carlin looks good in every picture. It didn’t need to be one from her wedding."

Someone else said, "Oh wow. It’s truly amazing that anyone could be that insensitive. I’m sure she had other pics of her and Joy where Joy isn’t pregnant. Just because you just got married doesn’t mean every pic for everything has to be from your wedding."

Others defended Bates, however, with an Instagram fan arguing: "She wouldn’t have posted it if it were at all disrespectful towards Joy. Carlin is honoring the life of the baby. As someone who has experienced miscarriages myself, I can say that this photo is particularly beautiful and special."

"A precious memory from your big day and such a sweet way to remember and memorialize Annabell," a commenter penned.

As it turns out, Duggar confirmed Bates asked for her permission to use the pic before posting. And she seemed thrilled with the b-day message, responding, "THANK YOU, CARLIN!!!! I love you more than I can express!!"

Of course, each person is different when it comes to dealing with a miscarriage. And it's clear Duggar wants to cherish those fond memories of her pregnancy, even though it didn't end up the way she hoped. All in all, it's nice to know she has such an awesome friend by her side.