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Counting On stars Joseph Duggar and Kendra Caldwell announced last month that they were already expecting baby number two before their firstborn – a baby boy they named Garrett – had celebrated his first birthday. While the Duggars are known for their love of procreating, Joseph and Kendra’s news shocked many fans because they have moved at such a breakneck pace over the past two years – and Kendra will be a wife and mom of two at the age of 21.

Joseph Duggar and Kendra Caldwell with their son Garrett.
Joseph and Kendra Duggar with their son | TLC via YouTube

What a difference two years makes

Kendra Caldwell doesn’t turn 21 until August 11th, but she has already made a bunch of life-changing choices that have sealed her fate as a long-term Duggar baby maker. She went fast even by Duggar standards.

After being friends with Joe for five years, Kendra started courting the seventh-oldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar in March 2017. By May, the couple was engaged, and in September of that year, they became husband and wife.

Three months later, Joseph Duggar and Kendra Caldwell announced they were expecting their first child, and the baby math tells us that Kendra got pregnant just days after her wedding. She gave birth to baby Garrett on June 8, 2018, when she was just 19 years old.

Is Kendra Caldwell a baby machine?

Earlier this year, Joseph and Kendra finally joined the world of social media and started their joint Instagram account @LittleDuggarFamily. According to The Hollywood Gossip, Kendra is obviously the one who does most of the posting, and some fans believe her latest posts are proof that she needs to slow down, and others appear to be worried about her wellbeing.

One fan simply wrote “baby machines,” after the couple announced their second pregnancy, while another added, “Kendra is still very much a child herself. The idea of her being a mother to two young children so close in age has me worried for physical and mental health.”

The only life she knows

Kendra Caldwell comes from a large family – her mom just gave birth to baby number eight – who is just as religious and conservative as the Duggars. However, some fans still believe Kendra had no idea what she was signing up for when she became part of the Duggar family.

Outsiders who aren’t familiar with fundamentalist Christianity have a hard time understanding their way of life, which usually consists of marrying young, having lots of babies, and a family structure that puts the husband as the head of the household.

The traditional gender roles and the desire to leave the number of children you have in God’s hands is baffling to many people who have more progressive views. They look for explanations, claiming Jim Bob and Michelle must be in control or Joseph is forcing his worldview onto his wife. But, the simple explanation is that this lifestyle is consistent with Kendra Duggar’s belief system, and this is the life she has chosen even though she has never really gotten out of Arkansas or had the chance to question her upbringing.

Garrett Duggar is “such a boy”

Even though secular society has turned the idea of traditional gender roles on its head over the past few decades, it is still very much the way of life in fundamentalist Christianity – as well as other religions. This doesn’t make it right or wrong, it just creates a disconnect between people who live a conservative, traditional lifestyle and those who have rejected what they view as outdated thinking.

This was extremely evident when Kendra Duggar posted a pic of baby Garrett and wrote that he was “such a boy” because he loves to play outside, and he enjoyed playing with a twig more than his toys. Fans immediately started calling her out, saying enjoying the outdoors is not just a boy thing.

One follower commented that forcing kids into restrictive boxes was damaging, while another said that girls can love sticks and bugs just as much as boys.

Other fans came to Kendra Duggar’s defense, explaining that she came from a strict home, and she is so young that she hasn’t even had the chance to consider other ways of life. But, for Kendra’s critics, that’s the problem.