Gather all 193 members of your immediate family, make sure no unmarried couple is touching elbows and whip Jim Bob up a Fundie-slop casserole… it’s time for another episode of Counting On!
As per usual, Season 11 is already giving us plenty of pregnancies, a weird amount of Michelle and her whisper voice, too many opportunities to laugh at Ben and far more Jim Bob screen time than anyone asked for (besides Jim Bob himself).
So…basically, all is normal in the Duggar World…
Since practically every woman on this show has a uterus full ‘o’ Duggar spawn, we kick things off at a birthing class. Today’s participants are John-David and Abbie, and Josiah and Lauren.
Collectively this group has close to a few dozen siblings, nearly all of which were birthed on their respective family’s living furniture, atop trusty blessing tarps. How are they not the ones teaching this thing? (I’m half-expecting them to wheel out Michelle so she can tell horrifying stories about mucus plugs and whatnot in a whisper voice. Shuuuuuder.)
Nevertheless, the crew allows birthing teacher Theresa her few minutes in the spotlight to talk about exercises…and corrupt their innocent Fundie minds with a demonstration of pelvic rocking…aka what happens to Jim Bob when he catches a glimpse of Michelle’s unclothed knee.
Theresa instructs the gang to get into various birthing positions, which gives us a look at what the Duggars would look like if they were allowed to get their bump n’ grind on at the club…
As Lauren drapes herself over a birthing ball and Josiah rocks her back and forth, Lauren tells him, “Just imagine doing it for four or eight hours!”
Josiah smirks at the thought. (I mean….not even his dad, Jimmy B, could accomplish that feat!)
Lauren tells us that she will be skipping out on the fun that comes with a typical Duggar birthing experience. Instead of giving birth on a dirty mattress on the floor (a la Joy) or on the toilet (a la Anna), Lauren is instead opting for a hospital birth. Abbie, too, reveals that she’s nixing the Duggar Family Birthing Tarp in favor of a hospital birth. Abbie says she may even— gasp!— get an epidural during labor.
(Someone please pass Michelle her smelling salts!)
John gets Abbie over the ball and she’s moaning in the delight and telling him how good it feels. It’s giving me that same feeling I had when I had to watch Jim Bob hump Michelle on the mini golf course way back when…
Just when we think the birthing class fun is coming to an end, Theresa delivers some more surprises, beginning with the guys strapping pumpkins to themselves and busting out some pelvic rocking of their own.
Each guy ties a pumpkin to their stomachs so they can understand what it’s like to lug a Duggar Spawn around.
The guys then disturbing flex their butts up and down in attempts to do “pelvic rocks.” There are Dockers flexing all over the ding-dang place!
BRB— gotta upchuck my tater tot casserole.
Josiah admits that his pumpkin strap-on has made him more empathetic toward his pregnant wife, and he vows to help her more.
And, of course, they have to wheel out Jimmy B and Michelle to tell us the story about how they took a birthing class once. Michelle beams as Jim Bob explains that the class made him appreciate all the hard work she has to do in order to bring another blessing into the world.
Next, Abbie and Lauren get a small amount of revenge when Theresa lets them hook up John and Josiah to labor simulators. She instructs the guys to place the cramp machines between their belly buttons and their pubic bone. (Luckily the guys all refrained from screaming “NIKE!” at the mention of anything ‘pubic.’)
The wives start the machines, giving the guys more and more pain. Soon there’s more electric energy running through the Duggar boys’ pelvi than ever before.
To the surprise of no one, neither Duggar boy excels at the challenge. They each fail miserably and demand their wives turn off the labor simulators.
The producers joke to Abbie and John that they’ll be old pros by the time Abbie pops out Blessing #19, but she immediately shoots that idea down.
“NOT doing that one!” she says.
Because most of her siblings are occupied with birthing classes, Jana gets the hell out of dodge and flies to Los Angeles to visit Jinger and Jeremy.
During the trip, Jana and Jinger indulge in some shopping, opting for the stores on Rodeo Drive instead of their usual thrift store finds.
“What better place to shop than Beverly Hills?” Jinger asks.
Jana looks like she’s biting her tongue to refrain from screaming, “Uncle Hoss’ Thrift Emporium!”
Once again, they wheel out Jim Bob (WTF, TLC?) so he can remind us that the Duggars like to buy their crap used. (As we all know, poor Michelle has been sporting the same pair of black pilgrim shoes since Reagan was in office.)
Even Jana admits that the fashions worn by her and the other Dugs in the past are “quite embarrassing.” (I don’t think the girls will be fighting for those pilgrim shoes, Michelle, once you finally peel them off your hooves!)
While Jinger dives right into everything the salesperson puts in front of her, Jana reaches for a solid-black ensemble with long sleeves and a full-length skirt. (Is she preparing to mourn Jinger’s thriftiness or…?)
When the salesperson tries to convince her to try on a “low-cut” camisole, Jana nearly faints into a pile of overpriced (non-used) scarves.
They emerge from the dressing rooms, with Jinger wearing some sort of Annie Oakley get-up that looks like she bought it in the “Gift Shoppe” of a New Mexico gas station.
While Jana talks herself down from a pattern-induced panic attack Jinger falls in love with a plaid blazer that costs her $300, much to her family’s shock.
The producers then ask the Dugs & Dugs-in-Law to describe their personal styles in one word. Jim Bob’s is the real pip, as he describes his clothing as “urban.”
Jana bails out on buying any of the expensive items. (I guess ol’ Jimmy B didn’t give her a big enough allowance this month?) Jinger, however, decides to purchase the $300 plaid jacket, telling the sales clerk that it is going to “make Jeremy so happy!”
Hopefully Jana–who’s staying in the guest room– brought some ear plugs because something tells me that master bedroom’s gonna be rockin’ tonight once Jerm gets a gander at that jacket!
Back in Arkansas, the Duggar men (and Ben, who is wearing his super-cool transitional lenses) decide to throw a “moms’ day in” surprise for their wives, complete with randomly placed decorations and homemade facial masks – the latter of which they whip up by free-styling recipes, more or less.
Josiah explains that it’s important to give the ladies in their lives time to rub random crap on their faces and compare stretch marks and whatnot. Although the guys are pretty lost without having Jana there to run everything, they manage to make the “day spa” room look like the scene of a poorly decorated quinceañera.
Somehow, Ben has gotten his mitts on some candles. UMMMM…who in the hell OK’d this? Ben should never be trusted around an open flame.
Joe struggles to figure out the recipe for cucumber water…which is, of course, cucumbers and water.
Soon the girls arrive. There’s Abbie, Lauren, Anna, Jessa, Kendra and her mom, Joy and (of course) Michelle. (Four of the girls— Lauren, Abbie, Kendra and Anna— have full blessing-makers.)
Michelle quickly grabs up Baby Ivy and uses her as a shield so that she doesn’t have to put any of the guys’ homemade face masks all over her face. (Jimmy B gives her all the natural glow she needs!)
The other girls— except Lauren, who pleads pregnancy nausea– grab the questionable bowls of mystery masks and head to the bathroom to slather the goop onto their faces, still unaware of exactly what is in these concoctions.
Joe is informed that his face mask has burned his mother-in-law’s mug, but he doesn’t seem too worried. Kendra starts feeling contractions (but I’m pretty sure it’s just her baby trying to get itself away from the horrific cinnamon face mask).
While the girls are busy causing permanent damage to their faces with the toxic masks, Joe, Ben and Austin get together for some “guy time” with their toddler boys, whom they claim are a handful and nearly impossible to keep an eye on. (Of course, that’s not going to deter them from reproducing time and time again.)
Kendra tells us that Joe is “usually pretty good” at keeping track of their son Garrett; however she sounds about as sure about her husband’s childcare skills as his facial mask-making talent.
So long, Garrett! It’s been nice knowin’ ya!
Ben even lets the little boys play with some of his toys, and Austin talks about how hard it is to keep the kids from hurting themselves while they’re playing. He also says that his son Gideon will eat anything he finds on the ground, even if it’s alive.
(The same could probably be said about Ben, honestly…)
“It’s amazing how they watch the kids every day!” Austin says of the womenfolk.
We then head back to the Womenfolk Spa Day. Because the Duggars are pretty much one trick ponies and that trick is being able to have/talk about/be around/think about babies all the live-long day, the girls decide to entertain themselves during with a bowl full of questions about, you guessed it: pregnancy and motherhood.
When a question is asked about keeping cool when your kid is losing it, we learn why Michelle has been talking in that creepy whisper voice of hers for over three decades.
“My mom has said that she’s found that when she lowers her voice and whispers, she actually helps to calm the child and calm herself at the same time,” Jessa explains.
OK, but like, calm or comatose?
That’s all for this week!
On the next episode of ‘Counting On,’ Jessa and Ben take a road trip and misplace Henry along the way, Jinger and Jeremy traumatize Felicity during her first swimming lesson, John and Abbie fly to the Bahamas to help with Hurricane Dorian disaster relief and the rest of The Duggars race through a corn maze in an effort to ditch Jim Bob and Michelle from this show once and for all (probably).
To read The Ashley’s other ‘Counting On’ recaps, click here!