As Joy-Anna Duggar celebrated her 22nd birthday on Monday, October 28, the well wishes from family and friends came rolling in. One post, however, caught fans’ eyes. The Duggar daughter’s BFF, Carlin Bates, shared a photo of the two of them together along with some sweet words. Taken at Carlin’s wedding, the picture shows both women with their hands on Joy’s stomach, cradling her baby bump — and some are calling the choice of photo insensitive in the wake of the star’s tragic miscarriage.
“From kids playing in the dirt, to walking down the aisle, to becoming mommies … You have been my best friend through it all!” Carlin, 21, wrote in the post. “I don’t know where I’d be without you! 💛 You’ve been there to laugh with me and to cry with me. You’ve encouraged me and challenged me. You’ve been the best friend anyone could ever hope to have! Happy birthday, Joy! Love you big!”
The message itself was beautiful, but a few fans just couldn’t get past the picture. “Incredibly insensitive photo choice, Carlin,” one commented. Another chimed in, “Perhaps you could’ve left out the picture of Joy’s last pregnancy??? I’m sure it’s not easy for her to see. Just saying. 🙁” A third agreed, “I wouldn’t have used this picture since Joy lost her baby. I understand it was a happy moment for Carlin to share with her best friend, but [it] has to be difficult for Joy. I’m sure no harm was intended on Carlin’s part, though.”
On the other hand, some commenters thought it was the perfect choice of pic, praising both Carlin and Joy for including Annabell. Mothers who’d experienced similar losses chimed in to say they would be grateful to have a friend share a shot like this one. “I’ve had 3 miscarriages,” one commenter wrote. “I would have loved to have a picture of my bump with my babies.” Another added, “I had felt the same way when I had a stillborn. Your heart’s in the right place. It’s a wonderful moment!”
Besides, when it comes to Joy’s feelings about the photo, who would know better than the BFF who was by her side in the hospital? “As Joy’s longtime best friend who made a special trip from out of state to be with Joy when she lost her little girl, I’m sure Carlin knows what she’s doing by posting this photo,” one commenter countered. “Carlin wouldn’t post a picture like this if it wasn’t ok with Joy,” argued another.
And as it turns out, that fan was right. “THANK YOU, CARLIN!!!! I love you more than I can express!!💜😘” the Counting On star wrote in response to the post. She clearly didn’t mind the reminder that her little girl had been there to share that special day with them.