The recent Amazon Prime documentary series Shiny Happy People has prompted renewed interest in the strange, dark saga of the Duggar family.
Most of the fascination has centered around the bizarre beliefs of Jim Bob Duggar and the culture of abuse and extreme secrecy that the father of 19 helped to create.
But as fans of Shiny embark on multiple viewings in the hope of better understanding this American tragedy, many of them are turning their attention to Duggars who were barely mentioned in the doc.
That means many newcomers to the Duggar discourse are just now becoming familiar with the sad story of Jana Duggar.
Unlike most of her siblings, Jana Duggar has chosen not to marry or have children.
She’s only 33, and she obviously has a lot of time to change her mind, but Duggar women are taught from a young age that procreation is their primary reason for being.
Most of Jana’s sisters married very young and started families shortly thereafter — so her decision not to do the same is considered by many a bold act of rebellion.
There’s been a good deal of conversation about why Jana has decided to remain single.
These days, the most common theory is that she decided to forgo having kids of her own so that she could stay at home and protect her younger siblings.
As you’re probably aware, Jana’s eldest brother, Josh Duggar, molested four of his sisters, and his parents helped him to avoid any legal consequences for his crimes.
Over the course of the past decade, Jill, Jessa and others who were victimized by Josh married and moved away from the house of horrors in which they were raised, prompting Jana to make a move of a different kind.
Jana now shares a room with her youngest sisters, and insiders say she’s happily taken on the role of a second mother.
The Duggars have always used a “buddy system,” in which elder siblings are responsible for their younger brothers and sisters, so this type of arrangement is nothing new to Jana.
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She’s been working as a sort of live-in nanny since she was a child herself, but the decision to devote her adult life to the care and protection of her sisters might be a testament to Jana’s commitment to ending the cycle of generational trauma.
Of course, caring for so many kids presents challenges of its own, and the events of recent years have indicated that Jana might be struggling under such demanding conditions.
In 2021 Jana was arrested for child endangerment after a child who was under her care wandered off.
She pled guilty and while she was able to avoid jail time, the incident was the latest in a long line of humiliations for the Duggars.
Earlier this week, police paid a visit to the Duggars’ home as part of a follow-up investigation.
The visit prompted a renewed interest in the original incident, which still remains somewhat mysterious.
“I prefer a more private life, but I know my last name means that everything we do is open to public criticism and interest, especially during this time,” Jana explained in a statement after she entered her guilty plea.
“The raw facts: I was babysitting a few months ago when one of the children wandered outside alone. A passerby who saw the child called the police,” she continued.
“This resulted in a written citation, as well as a follow-up with child welfare who concluded that it was an accident and the child was unharmed.
“They recognized it was a case of a child slipping out of the house when you turn your back for a moment.”
The incident prompted Jana to take a step back from Instagram, where she used to post rather frequently.
These days, she lives a quiet life away from the spotlight.
And while Jana is obviously dedicated to the support and protection of her younger siblings, many have expressed hope that her own needs are not being neglected.