The untold truth of Jessa Duggar

Remember when your only worry in the world was having to keep up with the Kardashians? Then, the reality TV universe threw a curveball your way in the form of TLC's 17 Kids and Counting. Gone were the good ol' days of desperately trying to commit six "K" names to memory — you were about to see just how creative one could get with the letter "J." Soon, 17 grew to 18, 18 grew to 19 — and as some of those 19 started having babies of their own, America grew more and more fascinated with the Duggar family.

In a family the size of a small army, standing out is no easy task. However, thanks to her candid and forthright demeanor, Jessa Duggar has managed to accomplish just that. The young wife and mother seems to constantly be in the news, either for questionable parenting skills or rumored pregnancies — but there's more to this Duggar daughter than meets the eye. Here's the untold truth behind one of reality television's most famous faces. 

She almost died during childbirth

Perhaps a better name for the Duggars' TLC show would have been 19 Kids and No Plans to Stop. Famous for being one of America's largest families, the Duggar clan seems to grow by the second. You can rest assured in the fact that you'll likely never miss an announcement of the latest additions to the family, as a Duggar pregnancy is almost always headline news. In fact, Duggar pregnancies have become such a common event that People created a handy dandy guide to help any inquiring minds stay up-to-date on the expecting Duggars. 

As the Duggars have undoubtedly learned by now, being headline news comes with a price. The family often comes under fire for their conservative religious views and lifestyle, which are heavily scrutinized by the public. Jessa experienced the brunt of this in 2015 upon giving birth to Spurgeon. After a difficult delivery at home, the new mother was rushed to the hospital and required a blood transfusion and overnight stay. Luckily, she made a full recovery, and the traumatic experience made her that much more grateful for the "surprisingly fast" and easy birth of the second Seewald son.

$40,000 per episode, and asking fans for gifts?

These days, you get to admire your favorite celebrity's wedding from afar and appreciate all of the glitz and glam without the stress of buying a gift. That is, of course, if your favorite celebrity isn't Jessa Duggar. Jessa and her now-husband Ben Seewald came under fire in 2015 when they appeared to solicit wedding gifts from fans of 19 Kids and Counting. 

In a post on the family's blog which has since been edited, the Duggars wrote, "For readers who have asked about ending gift cards to the Seewalds, Jessa told us that her favorite stores are Target and Walmart." According to Ashley's Reality Roundup, the Duggars even listed an address for fans who wished to send the newlyweds cash. Of course, for those who prefer to give a more personal gift, the bride-to-be was nice enough to provide an Amazon wish list

Consider this: The Duggars are reported to have made up to $40,000 per episode of 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On. The original show ran for 15 seasons, and had a total of 227 episodes — even divided up between the whole clan, that's a lot of mulah. It's even more eye-roll-inducing now that Jessa has her own show, Jill and Jessa: Counting On, which, at the time of publishing, has already aired nearly 50 episodes. You can understand why the newlyweds' not-so-subtle hint for gifts didn't exactly sit well with the general public. 

Her wedding officiant made some hilarious and surprising sexual innuendo

Thanks to our favorite Drew Barrymore rom-com, a first kiss comes with great expectations. The first time two people lock lips could make or break a relationship, so it's quite a risky move to save it until your wedding day. However, this method seems to have worked in Jessa and Ben's favor.

It was no secret to fans, friends and family of the 19 Kids and Counting clan that Jessa and her beau were waiting until their wedding day to experience their very first smooch. So when the wedding officiant presented "Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Michael Seewald" without prompting the new groom to kiss his bride, the crowd of adoring loved ones were understandably confused. 

"Did y'all happen to notice anything missing?" joked the wedding officiant to the guests as the newlyweds quickly exited the church. He went on to explain that it was the couple's desire to share their first kiss together alone — not in front of a crowd, cameras, or their parents. "The longer I talk, the longer they can smooch in private," said the officiant, as the crowd of guests burst out laughing. "So if I could just have your attention for about three hours… The first kiss is a long one, you know what I'm sayin'?" Um… okay!

She's been called the Regina George of her family

Listen, no one can be everyone's cup of tea. Unless you're Oprah, it's inevitable that some people simply don't, or won't, like you all that much. If you're a reality television star, you can multiply that inevitability by about a thousand — just ask Jessa Duggar.

According to InTouch Weekly, 19 Kids and Counting fans call Jessa the "fundie Regina George" — "fundie" indicating a person of the Christian fundamentalist belief system, and "Regina George" refers to the meanest girl in school. Of course, growing up Duggar means your school is also your home — an unfortunate catch-22 for Jessa's siblings if the fundie Regina George rumors are true. 

According to a Jinger Duggar fansite, many fans of both 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On believe Jessa to be bitter, attention-seeking, and smug. "Jessa is young, smug, and pregnant," wrote one user before accusing Jessa of trying to steal the spotlight from her recently wed cousin by releasing photos from her own wedding to Ben. However, another user disagreed, commenting, "I refuse to believe she's that cunning and underhanded to consciously steal the spotlight. She's an idiot." Ouch

Judging by the way Jessa handles those Instagram parenting experts, she probably isn't shedding any tears over her rumored reputation. As her namesake, Regina George, would say, "Whatever. I'm getting cheese fries."

Jessa and her sisters give their hot take on what goes on between the sheets

Do you wish you could take a leaf from Jessa Duggar's book? If you answered yes, you'll be happy to hear that you're not alone. According to the Duggars themselves, the eldest girls receive hundreds of questions each week from inquiring minds who want a Duggar's hot take on dating, boys, fashion, and even sex. Sure, the Duggar children may not be allowed to date or even be alone with a person of the opposite sex, because that "can lead to some hanky panky;" however, a lack of experience certainly does not indicate a lack of opinion — at least, not for the Duggar ladies. 

Written by Jill, Jana, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar, Growing Up Duggar was published in 2014. Marketed as a book "all about relationships," the eldest Duggar girls told The Times Free Press they hoped their words would help young women not only in their romantic relationships, but in their relationships with both God and their parents, as well. Shortly after the release of their book, the girls did some promo for it by speaking with Cosmopolitan.com about some pretty salacious topics, providing even more insight into their decisions, and shocking us all by how they don't seem phased to use the word "sex" in casual conversation.

Her dad is the most intrusive wingman ever

For most people trying to survive and thrive in the modern era of dating, texting and social media are double-edged swords. However, the Duggar kids never have to worry about crushes liking someone else's photo on Instagram, or those never-ending iMessage ellipses that may or may not be the root of all anxiety. 

Why? Because the Duggars don't date. Instead, the Duggars participate in a strict, highly supervised form of dating known as "courting." During the courting process, the two potential lovebirds are not to be left to their own devices, nor are they to text each other unless Jim Bob and Michelle are CC'd. Judging by the Duggars' strict dating policy, you'd probably assume that the Duggar patriarch would be the last person to set his daughter up with her future husband. Well, you couldn't be more wrong!

According to a post on matriarch Michelle Duggar's blog titled "How Jessa Met Ben," she explained how Jim Bob actually gave Ben Seewald Jessa's phone number and suggested the two talk, not realizing that Ben already had a bit of a crush on his daughter. Jessa and Ben's courtship was announced soon after, and as they say — the rest is history. 

Jessa Duggar and Gwyneth Paltrow face off for most shocking baby name

Before Blue Ivy Carter, North West, and Dream Kardashian, newborn Apple Martin was making headlines for her unconventional name. Why did Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin name their daughter after a fruit? Would there ever be a name more bizarre than Apple? The answer, of course, is yes — though, we never thought it would come from a Duggar.

When Jessa and Ben announced their first pregnancy in 2015, fans immediately launched into speculating what the baby's name would be. Try as they might, no amount of speculation could have possibly predicted the name that was to come: Spurgeon Elliot Seewald. 

Unlike Paltrow and Martin, who chose the fruity moniker because it was "so unique and sounded cool," the Seewalds' inspiration for their firstborn's name came from an influential figure in their lives — 19th century British preacher, Charles Spurgeon. According to the couple, Spurgeon's sermons and texts deeply impacted the couple, and continue to "impact many, many people" to this day. When their second son was born in 2017, he was also given a name taken straight from the history books — Henry Wilberforce Seewald. His namesake, William Wilberforce, was an English philanthropist, politician, and leader within the movement which ended the slave trade.

Note to both haters and fans: You are not part of the Duggar village

You've likely heard the old adage that it "takes a village to raise a child." The Duggars know the truth of that statement better than most. Between 19 children, two parents, an adopted nephew, and ten grandchildren (thus far), the Duggars already have a village all their own. However, when your life's most pivotal experiences unfold in front of millions of people each week, said people begin to feel that they're as much a part of your village. And they're not afraid to tell you exactly what they think of your parenting — behind the safety of their keyboards, of course. 

Jessa Duggar is no stranger to this phenomenon, often finding herself as the subject of social media "mommy-shaming" for her particular parenting style. An example of this is a September 2017 Instagram post featuring a sharply-dressed Spurgeon Seewald sipping from a bottle. The photo looks innocuous enough, but nothing slides by the careful eyes of internet mommies — many of whom felt the tot was too old to be bottle fed. "You've got to watch and pray against speech impediments and crooked teeth," criticized one of Jessa's followers. Another cited the "scientific research" linking tooth decay to prolonged bottle feeding. 

However annoying it might have been, Jessa didn't let the haters get her down. "If you are experiencing anxiety over [the photo], please share all your wisdom and perfect parenting advice in the comments section below," she sardonically captioned the photo. 

Why would a family that prohibits watching TV decide to BE on TV?

Some people are simply destined for a life lived in front of the camera. These people include the Kardashians, the Teen Moms, and families that are bigger than NBA teams — or, as America knows them, the Duggar family. For the most part, the 19 Kids and Counting fam seem to be modest and kind people with traditional values and strong familial roots. Because of the family's unassuming demeanor, it's natural to wonder why they would even want to be on a reality TV show in the first place, especially since they reportedly have a strict television policy in their home, only allowing the Duggar children to watch select DVDs — under supervision, of course. 

So, why would a family notorious for steering clear of television programming then seek out opportunities to be television programming? According to Duggarfamilyblog.com (which is managed by close family friends of the Duggars), they do it for the fans. Their purpose, starting with their first show 14 Children and Pregnant Again and including every show they've done since, has always been to show the world how children are a blessing from God.

Is she pregnant again?

Looks like this apple didn't fall too far from the growing family tree. Jessa, who has given birth to two children since her 2014 wedding and dodged widespread pregnancy rumors, has plans for her little family's future — big, big plans. According to a People exclusive from February 2017, Jessa and her husband plan to welcome more children into their family; though it's possible fans won't be seeing a baby bump on Jessa for baby number three. "It will be a little while since we just had a baby, but adopting and fostering to adopt is very much in our hearts," the young mother of two confessed. 

We don't have to look to far to see where Jessa get's her desire for a large family. After the 2008 birth of baby number 18, Jessa's mother Michelle Duggar told Ann Curry that she could never have enough children. "Saying there's too many children would be like saying there's too many flowers," said the Duggar matriarch. "You just can't have too many." 

Between new Duggar babies, newly-wed Duggar couples, and those swirling pregnancy rumors, it's safe to say that the world will be seeing many more Duggars in the years to come. It's a Duggar world, and we're all just living in it.