As exciting as it may be to be pregnant for the first time, it definitely isn't always easy. Everything feels new and uncertain, and there's a lot you just can't possibly know until you've experienced it yourself. But pregnancy is likely at least a little bit easier when your mom has happened to have had 19 children — and when a number of your siblings also happen to be pregnant at the same time as you. They may have already learned a ton about parenthood growing up in such a large family, but the Duggar women say this is the best pregnancy advice they received, and honestly, it's pretty useful wisdom for anyone with a baby on the way.
The Duggars, of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting fame, were, of course, already a super-sized brood to begin with. But now that the older Duggar siblings are getting married and having children of their own, the family is getting even bigger: Duggar parents Jim Bob and Michelle already have 11 grandchildren, and by the end of this year they'll have added at least two more. In the latest issue of Us Weekly, Joy-Anna, Jinger, and their sister-in-law Kendra, opened up about what it's like to be pregnant for the first time, and how their family has helped prepare them for what's to come.
Joy-Anna, who gave birth to her first son, Gideon, in February, Jinger, who is currently 22 weeks along with her first child, and Kendra, who is thought to be around the 27-week mark (at least, if the due date on her Amazon baby registry is accurate), spoke to the magazine about their pregnancy journeys, and some of the advice they've found most helpful. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of it had to do with sleep.
Joy-Anna told Us Weekly that it was helpful to be told to "rest before the baby gets here, because once the baby is here you’re not going to get rest for a while" (so true). Jinger agreed, saying that she's all about embracing taking naps while pregnant, and in a video pregnancy announcement filmed for TLC back in January, Jinger's husband Jeremy echoed that sentiment, saying that the best pregnancy advice they'd received so far was to "have as many sleep-in mornings as [they] can" before the baby comes (very wise!)
As for Kendra, she said that simply having the experience of being pregnant at the same time as two of her sisters-in-law has been helpful. She and husband Joseph Duggar announced their pregnancy in December only a few months after their wedding, and the 19-year-old mom-to-be (who is also next in line to give birth) told the magazine,
[Being pregnant at the same time has] been a really unique experience in that we’re getting to share all of the different changes that our bodies are going through and can talk about them and encourage each other. It’s definitely been nice.
If any of the Duggar women are looking for more support though, they definitely don't have to look very far. Back in 2015, Duggar matriarch Michelle opened up on Facebook about some of the advice she thought would be most helpful for new moms, according to Parents, and it was pretty clear the veteran mom knows a thing or two about surviving the early days. For one, she recommended that new parents try their best to enjoy the "special time" of the newborn period as much as possible, even though it can be overwhelming, and certainly exhausting, and that they "take lots of pictures and make a lot of sweet memories" (it does pass pretty quickly, after all). She also recommended that parents make sure they still prioritize their relationship and go on date nights, even bringing the baby along if you have to, because the stronger your bond with your partner, the better it will be for everyone.
Another of Michelle's valuable pearls of new-parenting wisdom? Don't forget to take care of yourself. The demands of motherhood are often such a challenge that it's easy to forget your own needs, but as Michelle aptly noted, you can't give what you don't have. So whether that's calling on others for babysitting duty, or letting the laundry or dishes pile up without feeling guilty, new parents should definitely make sure their own needs are being taken care of. Michelle said,
You can see everything that needs to be done around the house. You need to catch up on laundry; you need to do some cleaning; you want to do some ironing — whatever. But just take that break and sleep, even if it's just an hour while the baby is sleeping. Afterwards you'll feel so much better and be ready to tackle the world.
Of course, even when you're a Duggar, pregnancy and the newborn period can still feel seriously daunting, and it's totally understandable that sometimes, all new parents will feel clueless no matter what. But if and when that happens, the Duggar women will also be able to draw on another invaluable resource — a close-knit support network — that will no doubt help get them through that difficult time as best as they can. And though most of us may not have the opportunity to call one of our 19 siblings for a little extra help, that's an important thing to remember. Although there may be a lot about the Duggar family that isn't exactly super relatable, their pregnancy wisdom is pretty solid and time-tested advice.
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.