Duggar fans (and critics) have speculated for a while now about where Jessa Duggar Seewald stands.
Last year, we saw hints that she might be more at odds with Jim Bob and Michelle — especially in the wake of Josh’s trial.
That makes sense, right?
A new photo is shedding light on the complex and sprawling family dynamic. And where Jessa fits into all of it.
Last year, fans began to suspect that Jessa was not only distancing herself from the “main” Duggars, but becoming open about it.
She attended Jill’s baby shower. That act alone could be seen as a soft rebellion in the eyes of Jim Bob and Michelle.
Remember, they banned Jill from visiting their house to see her own siblings. She can only do that with Jim Bob’s supervision. So yeah, that’s an awkward family dynamic.
Conspicuously, Jessa did not actually appear in any of the photos from the shower.
At least, not in the pics that Amy Dillon King, the “infamous” Duggar cousin, uploaded to Instagram.
Fans instantly speculated that Jessa was already on thin ice by attending, and did not want to face a cold shoulder — or harsh words — from her parents.
Jessa did confirm, on social media, that she attended Jill’s baby shower.
She also expressed frustration with how people assume that her absence from photos implied some sort of drama.
It is certainly possible that she simply did not feel like appearing on social media that day. Not everyone is photo-ready at every moment of every day. So … maybe that was it.
For years, Jill and her husband, Derick Dillard, have been at odds with Jim Bob and Michelle over matters of belief and matters of money.
Jill has a tremendous amount of trauma to process from growing up in an abusive, toxic cult. She, like everyone, deserved better parents than Jim Bob and Michelle.
And Derick has accused Jim Bob of pocketing all of the money from the family’s erstwhile reality TV career. He allegedly made the rest of them feel like appearing on the show was a form of religious service, as if they were ministering through the camera. Meanwhile, he profited.
So for Jessa to spend time with Jill (and Amy) like that … it’s not a declaration of war, but it raised questions.
We all know that Josh Duggar’s crimes — specifically, the ones that led to his arrest and conviction — caused tensions in the family.
Jim Bob covered up Josh’s crimes as a teen, had his daughters, who were Josh’s victims, try to sugarcoat things. And then this happened. So … is Jessa totally on the outs with Jim Bob and Michelle? No one could reasonably blame her.
Early this week, James Duggar shared a boomerang on his Instagram Story.
The short video revealed that Jessa, her husband, Ben Seewald, and two of their children were sitting at the table.
This was not just any dining room table. We all recognize the Duggar house, even without family members like Jana present for what seems to be a family dinner.
James even detailed that this was a “family night.”
This is how he captioned the post. He also revealed that Josie and Jennifer were also present for the meal. As one would hope.
It seems that things are more or less okay with Jessa and her toxic parents. Unfortunate. But at least she gets to spend time around her siblings without a chaperone. Can Jill say the same?