Josie Bates Announces Her First Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know About the Bates Family

Josie Bates, one of the 19 Bates children, is expecting her first child, according to US Magazine. Josie married Kelton Balka in October 2018. This is the first child for Balka, 23 and Bates, 19. The announcement came via social media, with Balka and Bates holding pink, blue and yellow balloons. The mom-to-be is due in July.

The Bates family, much like the Duggar family, is a large family who prescribes to ultra-conservative religious beliefs. They have been featured on television and are currently working on their own television show that chronicles the goings-on of daily life in a supersized family, but there are a few things you probably don’t know about the Tennessee-based family.

The Bates family in a nutshell

The Bates family reside in East Tennessee. They are ultra-conservative Christians who believe in homeschooling. Their 19 children range in age from 30 to 7. The family’s eldest child, Zach, was rumored to be courting Jana Duggar early on in the Duggar’s show. However, the rumor never came to fruition. More recently, Lawson Bates, the family’s fourth child, has been rumored to be dating the eldest Duggar.

The family subscribes to the same ultra-conservative Christian religion as the Duggar family. They have long run in similar circles and have worked together in several capacities. The two families appeared, in many ways, to be racing each other to have the most children. As it stands, both the Bates and the Duggars have 19 children. The youngest child in the Bates family, Jeb, is 7, while the Duggars’ youngest daughter, Josie, is 9.

The family owns a construction and tree removal business in East Tennessee. Gil, the patriarch, works with several of his sons removing trees and performing basic construction. His wife, Kelly Bates, is a stay-at-home mother who also serves as the children’s teacher.

Bring Up Bates and internet fame

The Bates have been known in ultra-conservative circles for decades, but they first came to mainstream recognition when they began appearing as guests on 19 Kids and Counting, the now-defunct television show that chronicled the upbringing of the 19 Duggar children. They appeared in several episodes as guests of the Duggars.

Public interest in the Bates family led to their own show on Up TV. Bringing Up Bates premiered on January 1, 2015. In September 2018 the show was renewed for its eighth season. The show has been heavily compared to 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, both of which aired on TLC. The Bates family, however, are seen as laxer in their child-rearing and are considered more relatable by television viewers, according to In Touch. Essentially, they are the “cool” Duggars.

Rumors swirl around the Bates family and Duggars

Because the Bates family and the Duggars run in the same, small social circle, it comes as no surprise that its long been rumored that the families will eventually join forces. While the Bates family are no longer able to appear on the TLC network because of their own television contract, the families remain close.

In 2016  rumors swirled that Joseph Duggar was courting Carlin Bates, according to The International Business Times. The stories were sparked when Joseph appeared in several pictures with the family on social media. Joseph Duggar, however, was merely attending classes in the area and staying with the family. Joseph is said to be close friends with several of the Bates boys. Both Carlin and Joseph have gone on to marry other people.

More recently, rumors regarding a potential Duggar/Bates courtship surfaced. It is rumored that Lawson Bates, 26, is currently courting Jana Duggar, 28. Jana, the eldest Duggar daughter, has been at the center of several courtship rumors. Lawson, a musician, has denied the claims that the pair are seeing one another.