Over the weekend, Joy-Anna Duggar, one of the stars of 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, welcomed her first child with her husband, Austin Forsyth. The news could not be any more exciting, and right away, fans were dying to know all of the details about her birth story with her son, Gideon Martyn. But before she could give birth, her mother Michelle Duggar had to give birth to her 20 years ago. Although Joy-Anna's birth experience with her son might become a bit clearer in the next few weeks, the details of Michelle Duggar's birth story with Joy-Anna might be just a bit more unclear, but here's what's known.
Michelle's life as a mom is a bit different than her daughters who have gone on to have kids of their own. In case you didn't know, Michelle is a mom to 19 kids, including Joy-Anna, and her hard work as a mother was all captured on camera on the TLC shows, 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On. When 19 Kids and Counting was still on air, people were able to get an inside look at what it took Michelle and her husband, Jim-Bob Duggar to be parents to so many children, and along the way got to see some births, too. When audiences were first introduced to Michelle and her family in 2007 through various TLC specials, according to Entertainment Weekly, Michelle had just 14 kids.
Joy-Anna was the ninth child out of 19 and was born on Oct. 28, 1997, according to the Duggar Family Blog, years before cameras entered their lives. Indeed, this was a time long before the Duggar family was nationally famous and because of this, unfortunately, there were no cameras to capture Joy-Anna's birth or statements from Michelle and Jim-Bob about her birth at the time. But, fans can piece together the details that they do know about Michelle's previous births to have some picture of what Joy-Anna's birth story might have been like.
In a video congratulating Joy-Anna and Austin on the birth of their son, both Jim-Bob and Michelle praised Joy-Anna for her hard work when it came to birthing a 10-pound baby. Unfortunately, neither Jim-Bob nor Michelle gave any details about when they welcomed Joy-Anna. Instead, they offered words of encouragement to her. "You are an amazing woman," Michelle said. "And you and Austin are an awesome team. Y'all did a great job and we are so excited."
But based on what Michelle has said about her previous pregnancies and births, you can get a good idea of what her own experience giving birth to Joy-Anna might have been like. Michelle wrote on the Duggar family's blog that with every birth experience came a little bit of "fear of the unknown." Michelle wrote that each pregnancy had "been different but having had the experience over and over does help some."
While her daughters might prefer delivering (or attempting to deliver) their babies at home, Michelle reportedly has chosen both delivering at home and in the hospital in the past. Michelle's children, Jinger and Joseph, babies six and seven, were both delivered at home, according to the Duggar Family Blog. But when it came time to giving birth to baby number eight, Josiah, and beyond, Michelle reportedly decided to go back to giving birth in a hospital. In 2014, Michelle revealed to HuffPost that she had 13 vaginal births in a row before having four C-sections, according to Radar Online — so it can pretty much be deduced that Joy-Anna was one a vaginal birth.
Although some of Michelle's later births have been documented, like her one with youngest daughter, Josie, Michelle has stated in the past that every single birth is different — so it's hard to assume exactly what Joy-Anna's birth might have been like. In 2014, Michelle told Christian website Crossmpa, according to the Daily Mail: "Each labor is different and you just have to prepare yourself health wise and in every other way to work toward the goal of having the healthiest delivery as is possible your part."
While Michelle hasn't come forward with the details of Joy-Anna's birth story from 20 years ago, a few things are somewhat clear — it's very likely that she was born in a hospital, vaginally, and the delivery was unique from her previous experiences. But let's be real, when you have 19 kids, every experience is bound to be different.
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.