Michelle Duggar is known for being ready for disaster. She has shelves upon shelves of canned goods, a fire escape plan poster on almost every wall and has her phone ready to dial 911 at a moment’s notice.
So it was no surprise when the star of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” announced she had birthed a set of backup children.
“Family is the most important thing,” she said. “I don’t know what I would do without my 19 angels. So Jim and I decided to give ourselves some insurance.”
The idea came about after Jinger, their sixth child, fell off a swing in the backyard and received a concussion. Michelle was overcome by the anxiety of losing a child and Jim offered the idea of birthing an extra set.
“She seemed so sad,” he said. “I hate when she’s sad. Her food isn’t as good. I thought we should have more kids ready in case our first kids die somehow. Her food has been better since.”
The Duggars decided to give the new kids different names from their original set, as to avoid being “creepy.”
“That would be spooky,” Michelle said. “Imagine having a person that could replace you in nearly every way if you die. Now imagine a person that could do that that has the same name as you. We’re a little weird around here, but we’re not that weird.”
And a second problem was discovered when it came to naming the new set. All 19 original Duggar children have names that start with the letter ‘J,’ and the couple didn’t want to break tradition.
“I’ll admit we didn’t try as hard with these ones,” Jim said. “There are only so many names that start with J. We got it done, though.”
Names include “Jax,” “Jahber,” “Juicy-Fruit,” and “Jdfg,” among others.
The extra set has been living in a small wooden coop Jim and his oldest son Joshua built in the backyard. As part of their chores, the original set of children take turns feeding the new set. They’re careful not to get too close, however.
“One of them said that they would be me real soon,” said Joy-Anna, the ninth child. “Mom said not to look them in the eyes.”