Jill Duggar Dillard, who is a mother of three, detailed the pressure she faced as one of 19 children having grown up in the Institute of Basic Life Principles, a Christian fundamentalist group, to have many of her own children.
Dillard told Dr. Julie Hanks on her podcast recently that her fertility issues after her second son was born were made even more complicated by her upbringing.
“In the book [memoir ‘Counting the Cost’], I talk about the shift of going from feeling that pressure, of having to be OK with having a lot of children, and that belief system that I grew up in, 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 or whatever?” she explained.
She said she even wondered if she was being “punished” with infertility for her “lack of desire to have 20 kids. It’s like all of those mind games that you play.”
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Her husband Derick Dillard said the pressure to have more kids set up a “sense of hierarchy,” which he called “another toxic aspect of” the Institute of Basic Life Principles, “like you’re less than if you have less kids, which is harmful.”
Jill agreed with her husband’s statement, and they both claimed that her father, Jim Bob Duggar, had said in a “semi-joking” way that whichever of his 19 children had the most kids would get his house.
Jill said that she was telling a friend after her second child was born that she wasn’t sure she would “be able to have any more kids,” telling Hanks that her dad, who was there at the time, piped up saying, “‘Well, we really don’t know yet, do we now?’ And he’s just like kind of trying to control the situation.”
She explained that in the culture of the Institute of Basic Life Principles, “everybody has to kind of be in the same space and have the mindset of having all these kids and we can’t really talk about [fertility] challenges especially on this platform, this level that we’re on of public figures and everything.”
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Dillard said he felt frustrated that his wife’s father was acting as a “gatekeeper” of their information.
“To whatever extent we want to share with other people, we’re going to share with people,” he said.
Jill added with emphasis, “We get to make decisions for our family.”
Fox News Digital has reached out to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and the Institute of Basic Life Principles for comment.
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Jill, who was on “19 Kids and Counting” and “Counting On” from 2008 to 2017, detailed to Fox News Digital earlier this year how her faith has evolved since leaving her parents’ home.
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“I knew that I could trust the Bible and I knew that Jesus was my Lord and Savior, and from there just it was a matter of really disentangling my faith,” she explained. “I didn’t just want to, like, throw my faith away. I really wanted to sort things out. And I knew there was truth to some of what I had been taught as a child, but the viewpoint, the perspective, was different.”
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“19 Kids and Counting” was canceled in 2015 after it was revealed that Josh Duggar, the eldest Duggar child, molested four of his sisters, including Jill. “Counting On” was canceled in 2021 after Josh Duggar was arrested on federal child pornography charges. Josh Duggar is serving a 12-year prison sentence. Jill is the fourth-oldest child in the Duggar family.
Fox News Digital’s Christine Rousselle contributed to this report