The Duggar family is constantly growing and changing, but one member has been holding a particular fascination for fans of Counting On lately. 20-year-old Joy-Anna Duggar is expecting her first child with husband Austin Forsyth and it's making fans feel a little sentimental. Photos of Joy-Anna Duggar then and now show how much she changed while growing up in the public eye.
Joy-Anna may be preparing for the birth of her first child, but fans first encountered her when she was still a child herself. Her parents, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, captured public attention for their... commitment to popping out babies, and spun their ever-increasing brood into a reality show, 17 Kids And Counting. (The show later became 19 Kids And Counting, as the Duggars continued to add to their family.) Joy-Anna, their fifth daughter and ninth child, was only 10 years old when the show premiered back in 2008, and so the public watched her grow over her teenage years, from going through the controversial conservative Christian homeschooling her parents had all their children undergo, to deciding to "court," which is the way that the Duggars date. (Courting is "dating with a purpose," and that purpose is marriage. Some of the rules include no kissing before marriage, side-hugs only, and the constant presence of a chaperone.)
Now, when fans of Joy-Anna watch her on TLC's Counting On, she looks like this:
But back when she first came into the public eye, she looked much more like she did in this throwback photo that she posted on Instagram, of her and younger sister Johannah from 2007:
Editor’s Note: The Instagram post has since been deleted.
As you can see, she's already got some practice carrying around a baby, which is no surprise. Many of the Duggar children ended up helping out with their younger siblings as they grew up.
For anyone who really wants to do a deep dive, Joy-Anna also posted a throwback series of photos on Instagram, showing her and two of her younger brothers long before the film cameras began documenting their lives on a regular basis. Needless to say, she was freaking adorable:
Of course, there's still plenty of adorability to be had in photos of her now with Forsyth, whom she first met 15 years ago when his family moved to Arkansas. The two grew up together as friends after his family began going to the same church as the Duggars, and eventually Forsyth asked Jim Bob for his permission to court Joy-Anna, saying on an episode of Counting On:
You know, over the years, I have just been watching and I really admire her heart for the Lord and her character. She’s such a diligent worker. She gets all the younger siblings working. She’s a good delegator, and then, of course, her beauty.
Ah yes, "she's a good delegator." The magic words. The two were married after a three-month-long engagement. (They were originally scheduled to wed later, but they pushed the wedding up.)
And there will certainly be more adorable photos to come once Joy-Anna starts raising her own child, who is reportedly due in March.
Some fans are theorizing, however, that the world may be seeing a baby Forsyth even sooner than that. Given that the wedding was moved up at the last minute, and that Joy-Anna announced her pregnancy not long after the wedding, speculation is rampant that perhaps Joy-Anna and her husband didn't abide by the courting rules as strictly as the Duggar parents would have liked. Many fans point out that her baby bump seems larger than average for how far along she supposedly is, but of course that fails to take into account that every woman's body is different. The Duggar family hasn't responded to Romper's request for comment regarding these rumors.
For now, fans should just be happy for Joy-Anna. She's grown up in the public eye while on a reality TV show, which isn't easy, and she's managed to build a life in which she seems happy.