In recent months, Counting On fans have demonstrated an odd fixation with the lives of Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick Dillard.
Odd, even by the standards of Duggar fandom.
The intensity of the scrutiny is made all the more strange by the fact that Derick was fired from the show more than a year ago.
Jill resigned in solidarity, but rather than fading away into obscurity, fans are even more obsessed with the couple than ever.
Most of this curiosity has to do with the fact the many ways in which Jill and Derick are defying her parents’ expectations.
Jill was the first Duggar daughter to get married, and it was widely assumed she would follow in her mother’s footsteps by cranking out a baseball team’s worth of babies (complete with full pitching staff, designated hitter, manager, and bat boy).
Instead, the Dillards have blazed their own trail, and it’s taken them very far from the life that Jim Bob and Michelle imagined for them.
For quite some time now, Derick has been feuding with Jim Bob and accusing him of unscrupulous business practices.
But even before that, the Dillards made it clear that they had no intention of becoming Michelle and Jim Bob 2.0.
The most notable way in which they’ve broken from family tradition is by having a normal number of kids.
Instead of participating in some sort of insane breeding race, the Dillard family home resembles, well, most people’s.
Jill and Derick got married back in 2014 – the first Duggar marriage after Josh’s – and yet they only have two children.
Only two, in six years! Crazy! And it seems that some fans are as upset about Jill’s vacant uterus as her parents.
How else to explain the constant barrage of Jill pregnancy rumors?
The latest round of womb speculation was prompted by a photo that Jill posted on Instagram earlier in the week.
Nothing gets by the sleuths of Duggar Nation. Nothing.
"So happy to have our friends visiting! We’ve been catching up on life and loving being moms," Jill captioned the pic.
As you can see, Jill is wearing a somewhat baggy t-shirt.
And because it’s 2020, and many of us have been stuck at home bored out of our minds since March, that’s enough to spark widespread reports of a pregnancy.
"Are you expecting?" reads one of the first comments on the post.
"Is Jill pregnant again? One of those photos looks like a slight baby bump, might’ve just been the angle the photo was taken," another remarked.
"Do we have an announcement?" a third fan asked.
"You’re pregnant again…" a fourth chimed in.
Jill has yet to respond to the speculation, which is absolutely the right move.
Either she really is pregnant and she’s not ready to announce it just yet, or – like so many of us – she’s favoring looser fits these days, having packed on a few pounds in quarantine.
Either way it’s none of their business.
Although, the possibility of quarantine bulk brings us to our next controversy:
As we’ve discussed at length in recent months, Duggars have been ignoring coronavirus safety guidelines from the start, and some of Jill’s followers think she’s putting her kids at risk here.
"How is the playground open? Masks? Forget about covid?" one commenter asked.
All good questions!
Hey, we guess Jill has more in common with Jim Bob and Michelle than we thought!