Since the announcement they’ll be expecting their 20th child next April, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have been faced with many criticism. Now, they’ve decided to defend their decision to bring another child into the world.
“Every child deserves to be excited they are a part of life,” Michelle tells PEOPLE after just revealing that she is pregnant with her 20th child. “Even when we were having our 5th and 6th [kid] … we would celebrate each pregnancy.”
“That whole mind set that you stop after a problem pregnancy isn’t realistic,” she continues. “You may encounter struggles along the way. You may not have a perfect pregnancy, but each child is a precious gift.”
“If we felt that way, we would have stopped back with our second birth,” insists Michelle, 45, who experienced preeclampsia during her second pregnancy with twins John David and Jana, now 21. “There are many women who have experienced preeclampsia and have gone on to have more children.”
On criticism that the older children are forced to take care of their younger siblings and the Duggars are unable to pay enough attention to each child, Jim Bob says,
“We homeschool, so we are around our children day in and day out. Because I am in real estate, I am home and can be with the children a lot. When we go to the store or run errands, we take the kids one on one and we get to spend more time individually than a lot of parents do.”
What do the Duggars think of their critics?
“There are a lot of good things we can learn from our critics,” she says. “We really believe we are following our faith and there are sometimes going to be people who don’t agree and we aren’t going to worry about the negative things stated.”
“We are thankful for those out there who are happy,” says Michelle, “and we are grateful for each and every gift of a child.”
The Season 5 finale of 19 Kids and Counting aired just last night, Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 9 p.m. ET on TLC but that’s not it for the large family. They’ll be back with a TLC special Duggars World Tour: Scotland & Ireland, which premieres Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.