The news that Joy-Anna Duggar is pregnant with her first child drew a surprising reaction from fans of her famous family.
It seems not a month goes by without a Duggar pregnancy announcement, and usually the response from fans is universally congratulatory.
But the timing of Joy-Anna’s statement resulted in confusion from some Duggar obsessives and outright condemnation from others.
Here’s a recap:
Joy married Austin Forsyth in May.
Just three months later, she announced her pregnancy with an Instagram photo in which she appeared to be several months along.
The Duggars offered an official conception timeline to put to rest any rumors of premarital sex, which is strictly forbidden by their arch-conservative religious beliefs.
The family insisted that Joy got pregnant on one of the first nights of her honeymoon.
Fans were unconvinced, and rumors of Joy-Anna’s “shotgun wedding” began to circulate on social media.
The Duggars will likely never address the matter directly themselves, but a family friend spoke out about the rumors surrounding Joy-Anna during a recent “ask me anything” session on Reddit.
The friend chose to remain anonymous, but she appeared to be knowledgeable about a number of topics that the Duggars have not yet spoken about publicly.
Asked point blank if she believes Joy-Anna got pregnant before her wedding, the source responded simply that it’s “not likely.”
It’s important to note that elsewhere in the thread, the insider offered information and opinions that were not entirely favorable to the Duggars.
For instance, she confirmed that Jim Bob is a domineering force in his household and that women have few rights on the Duggar compound.
For the most part, however, she spoke about Counting On clan in glowing terms.
We supposed that’s not particularly surprising, considering she identified herself as a family friend.
So will these remarks put to rest the rumors that Joy-Anna conceived prior to saying “I do”?
Almost certainly not, particularly since fan theories regarding her date of conception are based on much more than Joy’s sizable baby bump and the timing of her announcement.
For one thing, Joy-Anna and Austin admitted to breaking her family’s courtship rules in an interview with Counting On producers.
Of course, given the draconian nature of those rules, that could mean many things.
The Duggars require chaperones on all dates involving non-married couples, and they even place time limits on hand-holding.
So while many consider Joy-Anna’s admission to be particularly damning, that’s not necessarily an indication of premarital sex.
There is one incriminating clue, however, that’s proven difficult for the Duggars to explain away.
Joy-Anna and Austin rescheduled their wedding from October of this year to May.
Many believe the date was pushed up five months to conceal the fact that Joy-Anna is expecting.
Thus far, her family has yet to offer a different explanation.
In all likelihood, the matter will never be settled to the satisfaction of the family’s most nosy fans.
But as long as Jim Bob and company openly engage in harsh moral judgement of others, fans will continue to look for signs of hypocrisy–and so far those signs have proven plentiful.
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.