‘Counting On’: Abbie Duggar Considers Breaking a Major Duggar Family Tradition During Pandemic

The Duggar family is getting used to life during a pandemic. During the self-shot season premiere of Counting On, which airs July 7, the members of the extra-large family share how they adjusted to stay-at-home orders and other challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. But one member of the family found herself facing a particularly difficult decision during the health crisis. 

Abbie Duggar used to work as a nurse

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In the conservative Duggar family, women generally do not work outside the home, especially after they get married. John David Duggar’s wife Abbie is an exception to that rule. The 28-year-old once had a job as a nurse. But she gave it up before she got married.  

“I just love taking care of people. But I left my job a couple of months ago so that I could plan for the wedding,” Burnett said in a 2019 episode of Counting On. “I do hope to go back to nursing one day, especially so I can keep up my license and my skills.”

Since then, Abbie has revealed she’s planning on keeping her nursing license active so that she can return to work one day if she chooses. 

“I’ve got my license transferred over to Arkansas so that I have that availability if I want it,” she told Us Weekly. “I know I’m planning to keep up my license by doing the continuing education hours.” 

Abbie added that she and her husband — who welcomed their first child in January 2020 — had discussed the possibility of her getting a job at some point. “[W]e’ll just keep it as an option and see what happens. … We may wait until our little girl is grown. We’ll just have it as an option if we want or need it,” she said. 

Abbie Duggar considered going back to work during the pandemic 

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A few months ago, it sounded like Abbie wasn’t intending to go back to work anytime soon. But in the new episode of Counting On, she revealed that the pandemic had caused her to reconsider those plans. She explained that given her background, she had a lot of respect for the people who were putting themselves on the line to care for others during this time. 

“As a nurse, I have a lot of appreciation and admiration for all of the healthcare workers who are out there on the front lines. I really feel for them,” she said. 

Before getting married, Abbie worked at a nursing home, which means she has experience working with patients who are at a higher risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus. 

“It does pull at my heartstrings and make me want to help,” she said. “At the same time, I’ve got a little baby at home to take care of.” Abbie said she had to “weigh the pros and cons,” balancing her desire to help with her responsibility to her family.  

“It’s something [John and I have] talked about, actually,” she said.  As of now, it seems like Abbie is still staying home with her family. But it sounds like she might eventually break with Duggar family tradition and return to work someday. 

Counting On Season 5 premieres Tuesday, July 7 at 8/7c. 

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