Jill Duggar-Dillard from TLC's Counting On appears to be a midwife. She seems to practice midwifery, but whether or not she's actually licensed to do so is another question entirely. The mother of two clearly has a passion for being present when mothers are giving birth, but has Jill Dillard helped deliver any babies? According to a new photo she shared on Instagram, it seems pretty likely. Romper's request for comment from Jill Dillard was not immediately returned.
Jill Dillard is a mother of two sons herself with husband Derick Dillard; 3-year-old Israel and 9-month-old Samuel. But her interest in childbirth goes back a long way before she became a mother herself. According to a 2013 video from TLC's show 19 Kids & Counting, where fans first met the now-famous Duggar family, Jill Dillard had already been training for a full two years to be a midwife. According to People, she even had 3,000 hours of apprenticeship training underneath a midwife who was reportedly certified in Arkansas, where nearly all of the Duggars reside (other than sister Jinger Vuolo, who moved to Laredo, Texas with her husband Jeremy Vuolo).
But is Jill a certified professional midwife? And if she is, does this mean she's helping to deliver babies?
Jill has been interested in the practice of midwifery for some time, as she explained in a 2013 blog post for TLC:
Although I had attended two of my siblings' births, being able to work as an active part of my friend's birth made me interested in learning more. I became friends with a doula/labor coach who worked in the area, and started going to home and hospital births with her. Soon, I became her assistant, and through that, I came into contact with other local midwives. Over the course of the next several years, these midwives would call on me periodically for help at home births.
It does appear as though Jill was listed as a certified professional midwife at one point in time. She shared a picture of herself holding her certification on her Instagram page back in 2015.
But here is where things get tricky: there's a very real distinction between a certified professional midwife and a certified nurse midwife, which requires at least eight years worth of medical training. There's also the fact that the midwife Jill trained under is reportedly no longer legally allowed to deliver babies in Arkansas, as Redbook reported. The North American Registry of Midwives notes that certified professional midwives are meant to:
[W]ork with women to promote a healthy pregnancy, and provide education to help her make informed decisions about her own care. In partnership with their clients they carefully monitor the progress of the pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum period and recommend appropriate management if complications arise, collaborating with other healthcare providers when necessary.
Jill reportedly assisted her sister Joy-Anna when she recently gave birth to her first child, son Gideon Forsyth, but it's difficult to tell from the TLC video of the birth, as People reported, if she was there in her capacity as a supportive sister or a purported medical professional. I mean, she was seen checking Joy-Anna's heart rate and such, which usually falls under the medical professional umbrella. Jill also shared a picture on Instagram today where she is holding a newborn baby with the caption:
Got to help deliver this chunker the other day! 💙Sam helped me #laborsit then napped like a champ when the time came! ;-)
Which answers the question of whether or not Jill Dillard is helping to deliver babies, I suppose. But maybe that's not the most pressing question here. Maybe the real question is how exactly she is helping deliver babies and if she's certified to handle a potential medical emergency. Perhaps it'll be addressed on a future episode of Counting On or in another Instagram post.
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.