Any 19 Kids and Counting fan knows the story of how the Duggars ended up having such a big family with so many children. Jim Bob and Michelle never planned on having a ton of kids, and even used birth control when they first got married. But neither Jim Bob or Michelle was raised in a huge family with kids in the double digits, and it was only after they decided that using birth control didn't match their religious views that they found themselves with a rapidly increasing number of children. While neither Duggar parent was raised in a super-sized family like the one they've built together, they've combined different aspects from each of their upbringings to make their very unique family.
Jim Bob was raised in a very religious household, which likely inspired him to raise his family in the Independent Baptist church. Michelle is also committed to their faith, but she converted in her teens, while Jim Bob was raised with religion from a very young age, so it makes sense that they were attracted to a sect where he would be the family's spiritual leader. Grandma Duggar, Jim Bob's mother, pops up frequently on the show, and is always willing to chip in and help out with the kids. Any grandmother would be excited to spend time with her grandkids, but she does an impressive job considering she only raised two children of her own. Yep, Jim Bob only has an older sister. JB, general of a massive 21-member personal armada, grew up in a very average sized family.
But large numbers of kids run in the family over on Michelle's side. She is the youngest of seven, with five sisters and one brother, and while they aren't even close to as numerous as the Duggar kids, Michelle grew up in a house where hand-me-downs and a crowded dinner table were the norm. But Michelle's family isn't seen on 19 Kids and Counting as frequently as Jim Bob's, likely because most of them relocated to Ohio. Though the Duggars did make the trek to the Rurak family reunion on a 17 Kids and Counting special.
Though it was not shown on 19 Kids and Counting, a year ago, Josh Duggar brought up one of Michelle's sisters while he was campaigning politically. He claimed that his aunt, who is gay, "is not for all these measures that are being pushed when it comes to marriage and things. She believes that marriage is between one man and one woman." Whether or not Josh is accurately quoting what his aunt said, it's pretty awful that in addition to using her as evidence for his political beliefs, he doesn't believe she should have the same legal rights he enjoys as a married man. The Duggars may now live very differently than their families, but they still deserve each other's respect.