‘Counting On’: Duggar Family Followers Can’t Understand Jessa Duggar’s Obsession with Home Births

Jessa Duggar decided to take to YouTube to share her birth stories. The mother of three went through each of her three deliveries and was honest about the fact that she enjoys the concept of giving birth at home. Followers, however, noticed a few discrepancies in the story about her third delivery, and many believe she is fibbing. Whether she’s lying or not, one question remains; Why, exactly, does Jessa seem obsessed with home births, even after she’s experienced complications?

Followers believe she never intended to head to a hospital for her third birth

Jessa has insisted that she planned to head to the hospital for the delivery of her third child. Instead, she ended up giving birth to her first daughter, Ivy Jane Seewald, at her family’s home in Springdale, Arkansas. According to Jessa, Ivy’s arrival was a bit of surprise, and her midwife was out of town, forcing her to have another home birth. Followers are calling nonsense on those statements.

View this post on Instagram

Birth stories. Now up on my YouTube! Click the link in my bio to watch! . I’ve given birth naturally three times now. Natural birth doesn’t make me any more of a woman, nor do I think it’s the only way birth should be done. I have nothing against hospitals or epidurals— and in fact, I may give both a try if God were to bless us with another baby in the future. . . I thought it would be fun to share my birth stories with other mamas— including raw footage from all three births! Giving birth isn’t easy. It’s hard work. To be honest, I moan like a cow through nearly every contraction (I will spare you the audio). But every mother knows that feeling when the baby is delivered and laid on your chest for the first time. It’s a magical moment, and one that makes it all worth it. . There were fears to be worked through, but also humorous things to be laughed at (later— not in the moment). When I was in labor with Spurgeon, I told Ben we weren’t having any more kids. And I meant it. But it didn’t take long to change my mind. As the months went by, the memory of the intensity and pain faded. Our baby boy was just so cute and sweet, and pretty soon I started envisioning him as a big brother interacting with a little sibling. Before I knew it, that previous resolution was thrown out the window, and God graciously gave us another gift— Henry! Then a little over two years later, our baby girl Ivy was born.

A post shared by Jessa Seewald (@jessaseewald) on

Several Reddit users insist that Jessa may have manipulated the situation to ensure she had a home birth instead of a hospital one, regardless of her husband’s wishes. Many note that a midwife would have likely offered Jessa an alternative plan when they headed out on vacation, and none of those alternative plans would have involved laboring, unassisted in her home.

The midwife, who has not been identified, has never spoken out about the situation, and likely never will. Regardless of how the birth happened, Jessa did end up needing emergency care after she began to hemorrhage. It was not the first time that a homebirth attempt ended in an ambulance ride for Jessa. During her first labor, Jessa needed assistance when she began to bleed heavily. Her second birth, with her youngest son, Henry Seewald, did not have the same complication.

Why is Jessa obsessed with having homebirths?

Home births are common among the Duggar women. While Michelle Duggar had the majority of her children in a hospital setting, she did attempt home births on more than one occasion. The family has never directly discussed why they choose this method of bringing children into the world. Those who have left the Institute of Basic Life Principles, the controversial ministry that the Duggar family is associated with, believe the family’s religion plays a part. They suggest the ministry’s former leader, Bill Gothard, promoted the practice.

Duggar family followers mainly believe that the IBLP is the reason behind Jessa’s interest in homebirth, too, although several of her family members have chosen to labor in hospitals. Jinger Duggar, for example, picked a hospital birth when she was pregnant with her daughter, Felicity Vuolo. Kendra Caldwell, Lauren Swanson, and Abbie Burnett all decided to deliver their children in a hospital setting, too.

Jill Duggar and Joy-Anna Duggar have both attempted home births, though. Jill tried two home births. Both ended in emergency c-sections in a hospital setting. Joy-Anna also required an emergency c-section after a long labor with her son, Gideon Forsyth.

How common are homebirths?

Jessa may be committed to the practice, but home births are not particularly common, although the method is on the rise after falling out of favor with expectant mothers for decades. According to The New York Times, 98% of all children born in the United States are born at hospitals or in birthing centers.

In 2004, less than one percent of all babies born were born inside the home. Twelve years later, nearly two percent of babies in the United States were delivered at home. While the jump may seem insignificant, it is a pretty massive jump, all things considered. Several medical journals advise against the practice, citing that home births carry double the risk of neonatal death.