As we reported earlier this week, Josh and Anna Duggar recently welcomed their fifth child, and the response from fans has been decidedly mixed.

Obviously, the birth of a healthy baby is always a joyous occasion, but it’s hard to overstate the seething rage with which some fans still regard Josh.

And since the eldest Duggar son’s long history of abusive behavior is the reason so many feel such antipathy toward him, it’s easy why to see why critics are conflicted about the news that he’s now a father of five.

Anna, Josh Duggar Pic

Surprisingly, however, there are many who feel that in welcoming a fifth child, Josh has taken a major step toward redemption.

News of the birth was shared on the Duggars’ official Facebook page, and the comments section was soon overwhelmed with fans offering their congratulations and expressing their hope that Josh will soon return to television.

“Will be a little bummed if we don’t get to see this birth,” wrote one follower.

“[Anna Duggar] is incredibly inspiring while giving birth.”

The fan of Anna’s birthing skills isn’t alone, as many fans stated their belief that Josh’s scandalous past shouldn’t stop producers from featuring Anna’s pregnancy and birth as a storyline on the show.

Of course, it would be nearly impossible for the show to focus on Anna while continuing to keep Josh off camera.

Anna and Josh Duggar: Bible Launch Event in D.C.

Bringing Josh on the show would result in PR nightmares for both the Duggars and TLC, but amazingly, it seems the possibility is being considered.

In fact, one insider claims Josh’s father, Jim Bob, has already been successful in his lobbying efforts.

“Jim Bob Duggar spent a month trying to convince TLC that Josh should be back on the show,” a source tells In Touch.

“They finally caved and agreed to let him film an upcoming Counting On webisode where he’ll talk about his joy at learning he’s going to be a father again. [If the episode is well-received] he’ll appear on the next season of Counting On.”

The “webisode” probably won’t be seen by most fans, but it’s a development with major implications for Josh’s future.

Joshua Duggar Pic

It’s yet another sign that the Duggars are inching ever closer to welcoming Josh onto their reality show, despite explicitly promising fans that the disgraced 29-year-old would never be seen on Counting On.

It would be a major gamble, but it looks as though Jim Bob and company are all in.

We suppose weathering a storm like the first Josh scandal might have led Jim Bob to the belief that he and his family are bulletproof in terms of bad PR.

Of course, the patriarch’s many detractors are likely eager to prove him wrong.

Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.