Do The Duggars Believe In Birth Control? Their Views Aren't Only About Religion

By
Share
Ad failed to load

When the Duggar family was first introduced to television viewers in a one-hour TLC special, they had 14 kids and a small home in Arkansas. That special turned into 10 seasons of their reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, and as the title implies, the already-large family continued to grow while the cameras rolled. But while Duggar parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, have been open about their decision to leave their family planning up to God, their relationship to contraception is actually more complicated than you might expect. Do the Duggars believe in birth control? Jim Bob and Michelle's personal experience, coupled with their extremely conservative religious beliefs, seem to have had a big influence on their children — a number of whom are now parents themselves. But it's possible that not all of them agree with what they've been taught.

With so many kids between them, it's not at all shocking to hear that Jim Bob and Michelle chose to avoid using birth control (I mean, how else could you get up getting pregnant so many times?), and it's also not uncommon for couples with strict religious beliefs to eschew contraception. But what is surprising is that, early on in their marriage, Jim Bob and Michelle had actually planned to only have a few children, and they'd chosen to use the birth control pill as a result.

Ad failed to load

The couple has spoken publicly in the past about their experience, including in a blog post on their website written by Jim Bob in honor of his 32nd wedding anniversary to Michelle in July 2016. In the post, he explained that, Michelle had gone on the pill early in their marriage, and that they'd waited three years before having their first son, Josh. In a separate interview about their birth control views, Michelle said she went back on the pill after his birth, but an unexpected pregnancy changed their views on contraception in a major way. She explained,

I went back on the pill, and I ended up getting pregnant while the on the pill. We ended up losing that baby, and that was very difficult for us, because, here we are as parents, holding this one baby in our arms, enjoying being a mama and a daddy. And then realizing that, with our own lack of knowledge, [we'd allowed] one of our own babies to be destroyed.
Caleb Kinchlow on YouTube
Ad failed to load

In the same interview, Jim Bob went on to explain that the couple spoke to their doctor, who said that "sometimes the pill will allow you to get pregnant, but then it can cause a miscarriage." That's not a view that's supported by medical literature — according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there is "no credible research [that] supports the false statement that birth control causes miscarriages," nor is there research to suggest it can cause an abortion. But the doctor's words, coupled with the couple's interpretation of biblical scripture, affected them enough to make the decision against using birth control, and since then, they've remained more than happy to view every pregnancy as a blessing.

Although Jim Bob and Michelle have been open about their views on birth control, it's not as clear where their children stand on the issue. In the past, a number of the Duggar siblings have spoken out against abortion on social media, and even though using birth control doesn't cause abortions, the fact that Michelle and Jim Bob consider their miscarriage to be an example of them letting their baby be "destroyed" suggests it wouldn't exactly be a stretch to think that their children share that view.

Ad failed to load

Yet while Jim Bob and Michelle's beliefs seem entirely sincere, they're also incorrect: according to The National Institute of Child Health and Development at the National Institutes of Health, the majority of early miscarriages occur as no fault of the parents, and are usually caused "by a chromosomal abnormality in the fetus." Miscarriage is also incredibly common, occurring in an estimated 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies. But that's just the women who already knew they were pregnant — the NIH has said that "as many as half of all fertilized eggs may spontaneously abort" before the pregnancies were even identified.

But beliefs about miscarriage and abortion aside, it's also reasonable to assume that the Duggar children will likely follow in their parents' footsteps and avoid birth control. For one, almost all of the adult Duggar children who are married have announced pregnancies within months of their wedding days: Jill Duggar and her husband, Derek Dillard, announced that they were expecting only two months after their wedding day, according to E! News, while Jessa Duggar and her husband, Ben Seewald, announced their first pregnancy five months after getting married, according to People. In August, Joy Duggar and her husband, Austin Forsyth, announced their pregnancy almost exactly three months after they tied the knot in May, according to People, while Joe and Kendra Duggar announced their pregnancy earlier this month — also three months after getting married.

Ad failed to load

The only outlier? Jinger Duggar, who has yet to announce a pregnancy despite celebrating her first wedding anniversary to husband Jeremy Vuolo in November 2016. While the couple hasn't spoken about their plans to have (or not have) babies, it wouldn't be entirely surprising to think that Jinger may hold different opinions about birth control than her parents and siblings — especially since she's already shown she's not afraid to abandon the Duggar family rule dictating that girls should only wear skirts. Of course, the fact that Jinger isn't pregnant doesn't necessarily mean she's pro-birth control (and really, the fact that she isn't pregnant doesn't necessarily mean anything at all), but it does suggest that it's possible that not all the Duggars plan on having large families beginning soon after marriage.

Ultimately, any couple's decision to use or not use birth control is a personal one, and should really come down to whatever they feel is best for them. It's also totally reasonable to think that the Duggar siblings who have chosen to get pregnant quickly after marriage, or to have large families, may have done so simply because they themselves enjoyed growing up in such a large family. Either way, for now, it seems like most of the Duggars seem to be avoiding birth control — so while the Duggar family might already be a big one, chances are there will be many more members still to come.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}