It seems that the Duggar family in Arkansas
has taken the old adage that bigger is better to heart -- truly. The oversized family is growing again. Michelle Duggar, 42, is pregnant and due in March 2010. That means that the youngest Duggar
sibling will be several months younger than his or her niece, the baby of oldest Duggar son Josh and his wife Anna, who are due in October with their first child.
What a family dynamic!
With 18 children, you'd think that Michelle would be pretty much done with having babies. She's spent the vast majority of the last two decades pregnant and/or nursing. That's a lot of stress on a
woman's body. But Michelle and Jim Bob made a commitment early in their marriage to give their fertility to God. In other words, they use absolutely no birth control. So, that's why they are now
expecting #19 when their youngest is just eight months old.
The family, who reportedly spend upwards of $1,500 on groceries each month, pride themselves on their commitment to God and their ability to raise their super-sized family debt-free. By shopping
second-hand whenever possible and buying in bulk (they even have a soda fountain machine in their house!).
A new path
Since Michelle and Jim Bob will become grandparents next month, they are entering a new realm in their experience as parents. Not only will they be entering grandparenthood, but they also will have
a child younger than their eldest grandchild.
The situation, although unusual, isn't unheard of. This is prone to happen in families where the oldest child is born when the parent is young. We asked families who've experienced this family
dynamic to offer advice to the Duggars. Here's the top three tips:
Treat the grandchildren as grandchildren - Since Josh and Anna's baby will be in the same age bracket as some of the youngest Duggar siblings, it might be tempting to treat the
baby as another Duggar sibling. Don't. This child has her own two parents and needs grandparents -- not an extra mom and dad. "My parents had, and still have, a much different relationship with
my oldest son than they do with all of their younger grandchildren. Grandparents should also remember not to undermine their child's role as a parent and take over parenting their grandchild,"
says Elizabeth Parise, whose brother is six months younger than her oldest son.
Don't worry about labels - Technically, your dad's sister is your aunt. But in cases where the kids are close together, it is sometimes easier to just ignore these labels or let
the kids self-dictate. "When we were younger we would tell people we were cousins, it was just easier. Since we are so close in age we spent a lot of time together as kids. I guess we did not
understand the dynamic until we were older," says Andrea Dion Jacobs, whose aunt is a year younger than her.
Encourage Josh to be brotherly - It's going to be a challenge with a new baby to care for and a sibling who is just an infant as well. However, in order for Josh to have a
sibling relationship with his newest sibling, he will have to place his dad instincts aside. "The real oddity for me was that I never had a traditional relationship with either of my brothers.
We've never lived in the same place as adults so our adult relationship doesn't have that history of growing up together," says Patsy Terrell, who is more than 20 years younger than her brothers.
Finding the perfect name
By now, pretty much everyone knows that the Duggars have a penchant for names that begin with J. Their children are named Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger,
Joseph, Josiah, Joy, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, and Jordyn-Grace. After 18 kids, it's a safe certainty that they will continue
the tradition with baby #19.
Picking from our list of thousands of "J" baby names, here are SheKnows picks for the top 10 boys and girls names for baby Duggar-to-be.
Tell us: What do you think the Duggar's should name their 19th child? Comment below!