While appearing on a November episode of the “Ask Dr. Julie Hanks” podcast, Jill, 32, opened up about her fertility issues after she detailed the topic in her September memoir, Counting the Cost.
“In the book, I talk about the shift of going from feeling that pressure, being OK with having a lot of children, in that belief system that I grew up in,” the Counting On alum said. “To then having the shift of being like, do I trust in God with the number of children that I’m supposed to have, could also mean trusting Him if he doesn’t give us 20 kids.”
Jill continued, “Am I being punished for my lack of desire of having 20 kids? All those mind games that you play.”
Her husband, Derick Dillard, added that Jill’s concerns about having children was one of the many “toxic” aspects of the culture she was raised in. “There’s also a sense of hierarchy that you’re less than if you have less kids,” Derick, 34, stated.
The attorney then noted that Jill’s parents, Jim Bob, 58, and Michelle Duggar, previously told her, “Whoever has the most kids gets the house.” However, Jill said that her parents were “half-joking” when they made the comment.
Jill then explained that she grew concerned about her ability to have more children after her second son, Samuel, faced several health problems following his birth in 2015. In light of his health struggles and her difficult birth experience, Jill said she sought a fertility specialist.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to have any more kids,” she recalled. “My Dad pipes up, ‘We don’t really know do we know?‘ He’s trying to control the situation.”
Derick admitted that Jim Bob’s reaction was “frustrating,” adding, “This idea still that he was a gatekeeper for our information. We don’t know that yet. Let’s be careful what we say to other people.”
While Derick argued that he and Jill were the only people who got a say in how many children they have, the mother of three added, “Think there was this boundary line that we didn’t have in place.”
Jill and Derick – who tied the knot in 2014 – became parents when they welcomed son Israel in 2015. After she gave birth to Samuel, the couple welcomed baby No. 3, son Freddy, in 2022.
The 19 Kids and Counting alum recounted Samuel’s birth experience in her memoir. Shortly after his birth, doctors discovered there were signs of bleeding in his brain and Samuel remained in the NICU for nine days. While Jill admitted she feared that Samuel would die, he made a full recovery and was able to go home with his parents.
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Jill also detailed her decision to start taking birth control. After she welcomed Samuel via C-section, doctors recommended that she start taking birth control because women should not become pregnant for at least 18 months after the surgery. While both she and Derick agreed that it was the best decision, the former reality star said that they initially “kept it a secret from nearly everyone.”
“I was devastated at the thought of not being able to have more kids, and I felt like my fertility had been robbed from me,” she wrote. “But also, dare I say it, I was somewhat relieved. The devastation far outweighed the relief, but there was a small part of me that appreciated the excuse not to have to go through a zillion pregnancies and deliveries.”
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