If you’ve ever watched TLC you may be familiar with the Duggar family -- Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are the parents of 19 children. They are famous for their choice not to use any form of birth control and allow God to determine the number of children they have. Originally, the couple had chosen to wait to have children and used birth control for that purpose, but after the birth of their first son, Michelle resumed taking birth control pills. Shortly after, she found out she was pregnant again, despite taking the contraceptive pills, but the pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage.
Her miscarriage is what influenced the couple to eliminate using birth control completely. However, Michelle experienced another miscarriage with her 20th child after the difficult birth of her 19th child and 9th daughter, Josie. The Duggar women, biological daughters and daughter-in-laws, are no strangers to miscarriages. The daughters often look to Michelle for comfort and advice on how to deal with the devastating revelation that they have lost their baby.
In May of 2019, Jim Bob and Michelle’s 5th daughter Joy-Anna Forsyth (nee. Duggar) announced she was pregnant with her second child. At their 20 week ultrasound, when they were supposed to be finding out the gender of their baby, doctors told the couple that their baby’s heartbeat could not be detected.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Joy and husband Austin, revealed their baby was a girl, who they had named their baby Annabell Elise. Annabell meaning, “God has favored me,” and Elise meaning, “God satisfies.”
The couple said they had experienced a lot of hurt and cried many tears, but had experienced, “Unexplainable peace and comfort during this very difficult time.” At the end of the post, the couple asked for prayers for continued healing -- physically and in their hearts.
One year later, a memorial post was made to their baby girl. The couple wrote that they experienced pain, heartbreak, fear of delivering the baby, and uncertainty surrounding how they would be able to move forward from the devastation.
However, when the memorial post was made, fans of the reality stars knew that three months prior, the couple officially announced they were expecting again. In the pregnancy reveal post, the couple stated that their journey had been a crazy one, but they were thankful that both mom and baby were healthy.
Later, in a YouTube video, Joy-Anna opens up about how she thought she would be scared and nervous finding out she was expecting again following a miscarriage, but to her surprise she was excited. The couple found out that they were again expecting a baby girl.
This marks a rainbow baby for the couple -- a healthy baby born after losing a baby due to miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death. Much like the pain and turbulent feelings that come after experiencing a loss of this type, the notion of a rainbow baby comes from the presence of a rainbow appearing in the sky after a severe storm.
Joy-Anna’s mother Michelle revealed that after her first miscarriage, she gave that part of herself to God and was soon pregnant with her first set of twins. She took that as a sign of God’s work.
Similar to her mother, Joy-Anna, wrote in an instagram post, “When I do look back I am so thankful for how far we’ve come... how God has given us more joy, peace, & healing than I ever thought we would have again.”
Both women have explained that they experienced tremendous amounts of pain and heartbreak following their miscarriages, but seem to have a positive outlook on the whole. The women have looked to God for guidance and the idea that something good will come from such a hard loss.
Joy-Anna’s baby girl is due August 19th, 2020. She posted an instagram photo on the 4th of July -- appearing happy, healthy, and very pregnant. The birth of their new daughter will be a sibling for older brother, Gideon, 2.
Previously, mom, Michelle, had stated that while she couldn’t fully understand the emotions of her daughter-in-law suffering after a miscarriage, she could empathize completely. While these situations are different for every mother and couple, you can look to family members and other women who have gone through the loss of a child for support and guidance.
Even though every woman’s experience is different, it is possible to try and conceive after a miscarriage and birth a healthy baby. Joy-Anna and her husband Austin are examples of how one can take a negative situation and turn it into something optimistic.
In her YouTube video, Joy-Anna explained that the doctors told her early on she may be experiencing a molar pregnancy. This is a rare complication that occurs when a non-viable egg cell implants in the uterus.
While she was aware of the possibility of another miscarriage and having to go through that difficult time again, she continued with the pregnancy. After 10 weeks, doctors performed genetic testing and the couple was told their pregnancy was progressing normally.
After suffering a miscarriage, there are risks associated with becoming pregnant again, but as with any pregnancy, risks are possible. If you have suffered a miscarriage, it is important to remember to go at your own pace. You can decide whether you want to try again or not and at what speed.
Joy-Anna’s journey shows us that it is possible to conceive after a miscarriage and have a healthy baby -- so that means you can too. We wish Joy-Anna and Austin the best for their future with their new baby girl!
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