Fans of TLC's mega-popular reality show 19 Kids and Counting will recognize Erin Bates Paine. She is the third of Kelly and Gil Bates's brood of 19, and her 2013 wedding to hubby Chad Paine was even featured on 19 Kids. Now, she and her ever-growing family are starring in the brand-new UP series Bringing Up Bates. We have an exclusive sneak peek at tonight's episode, as well as a revealing interview with Erin.
Since her wedding, the 23-year-old accomplished pianist has sadly suffered a number of miscarriages, but after being treated for a blood-clotting disorder is now happily 23 weeks pregnant. She speaks candidly with ET about her miscarriages and pregnancy nerves, to lighter topics like the possibility of a Bates-Duggar wedding, and fellow mom-to-be Jill Duggar's pregnancy advice.
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ETonline: After you spoke about your [miscarriage] struggles on the show, did you get a lot of support from women who had been through something similar?
Erin Bates Paine: I think that was one of the main things that helped me and Chad get through it. Hearing stories from ladies and families who have been through hard situations that were even worse than ours in some cases, really made us take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on the people who were hurting around us. I honestly had no idea how many people face the problem that we were going through, and it really opened our eyes. And it was so encouraging to hear different stories and different words of encouragement that people shared. It just made it a lot easier for both of us, I think.
ETonline: It's something that people don't really talk about, did you consider not sharing it on the show?
Erin: I'm not going to lie, it's very difficult to talk about, just because it's something that hurts when you do share it. Me and Chad prayed about it. We felt like, if it can encourage someone else that's been through something similar that's facing a hard time, then I'd be willing to open up our lives. Even though I didn't know how people would take that, or if it would be too personal, but everybody was so supportive and so helpful during that time. I'm so grateful that we did decide to share.
ETonline: Now that you're getting further along in your pregnancy, do you feel like you're able to relax a little bit at this point?
Erin: The first three months, I hate to say this, but I almost lived in fear. Chad was constantly comforting me, saying, ‘Erin, you just gotta trust the Lord. This is something that is not in your hands. We're doing everything we can to make sure that the baby is healthy and we're following everything the doctor [tells us] but, at the same time, you don't have control over this.' So that was really, really hard for me, looking back and thinking, ‘What if it happens again? I'm gonna be absolutely crushed.' … It was such a relief every time I could hear the baby's heartbeat. And now that I'm 23 weeks, feeling the baby kick is the highlight of my day. I get so excited because it's like a confirmation – the baby's okay!
ETonline: I know that you're a very accomplished musician, and you give music lessons. Can you tell what kind of music your baby likes?
Erin: For some reason when I play really upbeat, fast music, I always feel the baby kicking.
ETonline: Jill Duggar is also expecting, has she given you any advice?
Erin: Yes, Jill Duggar has been such an encouragement throughout the pregnancy. I text her every once in a while asking a question, and she's so sweet. She always gives advice. Last week she was sharing to try to portion my food and eat this many vegetables and drink this much water. So she's a big help, just knowing that she's been through the midwife classes. She's a good friend.
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ETonline: Do you think it's possible that one of your siblings would grow up and marry one of the Duggars?
Erin: I personally think, hey you have 19 kids on each side, I think it's almost inevitable somewhere down the line. As much as we see each other, I think there's going to be an attraction somewhere. I don't know where yet, but I think it's gonna happen.
Watch the clip above to see Erin and Chad meeting their brand-new nephew Bradley for the first time, and wondering how that will affect them given their losses. Tune in to Bringing Up Bates tonight on UP at 9 p.m. ET to see the joyful way that Erin and Chad reveal her pregnancy to her parents.
Watch below for the moment Erin heard her baby's heartbeat for the first time:
Follow Lisa Lozano on Twitter @LisaLozanoLA.