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What the Future Holds for Quiverfull Moms

The  choices women make to bear many children in the context of  fundamentalist communities will cost them, sometimes dearly.   Nobody talks much about these costs, certainly not women who are still in these communities, where to talk about such things indicates fearfulness  (viewed as sin) or a lack of faith (viewed as spiritual weakness or immaturity).    To be honest and open about parenting struggles (besides the struggle to subdue and manage one’s children)  is to be openly or discreetly shunned as someone who must have had some “hidden sin,” some defect in her Christian walk or as someone who is somehow paying for some transgression, her own or her ancestors’.   So, women don’t talk about this.  They believe the best, they hope for the best, they try to live by the kind of love they believe will never fail, so they aren’t afraid.  They are heartbreakingly sincere.

The likelhood is, statistically, that the future will hold in store at least one or more of the following eventualities for Quiverfull mothers over the course of their lives.

The more children a woman has, the more likely that some of her children will experience some of these things, with deep implications for her.   Among Quiverfull mothers there is a lot of talk about birthing, breastfeeding, homeschooling, family bed, a lot of joking about large family life.   In the overall scheme of things, though, these are really a very small part of what it means, over the span of a lifetime, to have given birth to a large number of children.  Your kids don’t stop being your kids once they’re adults (unless there is an intentional severing of the relationship, another painful possibility).   For better or worse, they will be part of your life always; you will feel their struggles and challenges and will be affected and impacted by everything that comes into their lives and all the decisions they make.   Those of us who have left the movement can find some support in times of difficulty, limited though it may be (because mainstream culture does often blame mothers for their children’s struggles.)  For women who are still in the movement, there is not much support when their children’s lives go sideways in some way or when their children fail to live up to community standards.  They will be judged or shunned, held out as a bad example, enjoined to “give it all to God” or to “trust God” or to “count it all joy” and to deny how deeply their lives are affected.

It pains me when this community is idealized (as it often is, even by the mainstream).   It’s hard enough when a woman has one struggling child; five or 10 or 15 children’s struggles and sufferings over a lifetime?  This is a cost to be reckoned with.

Heart

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Discussion

19 thoughts on “What the Future Holds for Quiverfull Moms

  1. A great post Heart.

    Sometimes it is the deep pain of children going through these very real struggles that moves a family out of that specific fundamentalism. When your child is in terrible distress and the community says you have failed as a mother (and there are always things people remember and can point back to with self-righteous hindsight). When your child lives a life of “sin” and your husband is suddenly disqualified in the eyes of the community to lead and your whole family ends up displaced in the community hierarchy. When you find your family is now seen as one of those failed families with dark warning clouds hanging over all of you because of a child’s problems or choices. When this stuff happens there is often a choice to be made, your beloved child or your rigid belief system.

    I have QF friends who have the top half of their children grown now and they spend enormous amounts of energy agonizing and praying over what they did wrong. They are just torn up over it, often viewing normal choices or struggles as tragedy with eternal consequences. What a burden. Because if you believe all the formulaic prescriptive verses and books and teachings you know that YOU are responsible for these problems. These statistics are irrelevant because you followed the plan.

    And in order to get help for real problems or to understand different choices you have to step outside of the community. Because everyone in the community is too damn scared to touch you now that it didn’t work for you. People are scared your family’s failure will rub off on them.

    This is painful stuff.

    Posted by Arietty | April 22, 2009, 12:55 pm
  2. A woman who has devoted seventeen years of her life to working a desk job at corporate headquarters and suddenly loses her job because of “downsizing” can reasonably expect random strangers on the internet to click on the “hug” smilie.

    A woman who has devoted seventeen years of her life to homeschooling her children and has to put them in public school so that she can work a low status minimum wage job because of divorce or other reasons can expect random strangers on the internet to call her “judgemental” (because somebody who made an educated and well-thought out decision to send their child to public school might take offense and we can’t have that)(and nobody really cares that public school parents don’t have to worry about their husbands, the courts, or their life circumstances forcing them to homeschool), report her posts to a moderator to try to get her banned, publicly ridicule and humiliate herr, and tell her to STFU and never post on that forum again.

    I only have four children, only two of whom were ever homeschooledm but this has been my experience. I taught myself how to read Latin, among other things, but my daughter and I apply for the same minimum wage jobs. She gets the callbacks and I don’t. I’m lucky to have part time work emptying bedpans and washing dishes.

    I’d be okay with this if I were allowed to be sad sometimes and didn’t have to pretend that I’d spent my entire adult life doing……um…..nothing.

    Posted by noordinaryspider (formerly known as anonymom) | April 25, 2009, 7:07 am
  3. Noordinaryspider, I just wanted to click the “hug” smiley for you. ; ) I only have four children, too, but I still look back and feel that the years I spent with them are counted as “nothing” in the eyes of many people. I even feel that way sometimes. I think, “how come everybody else spent all that time getting ahead in their field, saving money, going places, and I just wasted my life?” It really hurts sometimes. I feel stuck! When I was back in my religious way of life, I never had enough kids or was submissive enough to rate as a success in their eyes, but once I left, I was too invested in my family and too self-deprecating to be respected by the outside world.

    I had to get a job right after my third was born–after 10 years in a religious commune–because my husband ran into conflicts at work and just quit one day to go back to school. He came home and said “I just quit my job,” and I said “Oh . . . well, I guess I should look for work, then, should I?” I was fortunate to get a job sort of in my field–editing and proofreading–but it was a minimum wage, non-union job with no benefits. I always thought white collar jobs were safe from worker abuse, but that turned out not to be the case. Anyway, I well remember how the other “professional” women at my workplace looked down on me and made sure to let me know it would be “unprofessional” for me ever to talk about my children at work. I had to rush into the bathroom at intervals and squash my breasts to try to keep them from leaking milk, because I was still breast-feeding my youngest at night when I got home. This was before the days when pumping milk was acceptable at work!

    I felt as if every choice I made was unacceptable by someone’s standards. It was quite a revelation to me when I finally figured out that was because women are supposed to feel that way! It’s a set-up! Everything you do WILL always be wrong! That’s how we are kept in our places, and how women are stopped from making revolution. Because we’re taught always to think first about what’s wrong with us, not what’s wrong with the situation we’re in.

    Anyway, I embrace you with deep sympathy. You have every right to feel sad for the way you’ve been treated, and your life is not “nothing” nor should you ever have to pretend that it is! I imagine that you gained so much wisdom and so many skills from the life you chose to lead, that you must have a great deal to offer, and if other people don’t see that, it is just a pity for them.

    I discovered a book that I love called “Imagine a Woman In Love with Herself,” by Patricia Lynn Reilly. This is a link to her essay, “Exorcising the Question ‘What’s Wrong with Me?'” I found it very helpful when confronting other people’s opinions that there is something wrong with me.

    http://www.net-workingwomen.com/editorial.php?editorialid=25

    Posted by anuna | May 1, 2009, 1:55 pm
  4. I felt as if every choice I made was unacceptable by someone’s standards. It was quite a revelation to me when I finally figured out that was because women are supposed to feel that way! It’s a set-up! Everything you do WILL always be wrong! That’s how we are kept in our places, and how women are stopped from making revolution. Because we’re taught always to think first about what’s wrong with us, not what’s wrong with the situation we’re in.

    anuna: always with the inspiring, brilliant comments.

    You are so right: whatever we do as women, it will be wrong, and we are always telling ourselves the problem is with us — no matter what the situation is — and we get plenty of encouragement from all sorts of people (sadly, feminists too) to blame ourselves for situations which are the result of systemic inequalities and injustices.

    Central to the Second Wave was this understanding and insight: that as women, we are not the only ones struggling in this way, that our struggles are common to all women. We’re damned if we do or don’t or no matter what we do because we are women, and damning us is central to our subordination. Once we recognize the problems are not our individual, personal problems, but are political issues for all women, we have some basis for resistance and making change.

    Sadly, this important and basic insight gets forgotten every moment of every day, including by feminists, who keep themselves occupied blaming women and pointing the fingers, and even more sadly, there is always plenty of demand for this kind of spectacle.

    Posted by womensspace | May 1, 2009, 6:26 pm
  5. What I guess that I don’t understand in this article is, how are those numbers different than the mainstream general public.

    I do know that the rape number is the same. Or at least it is the same as it was when I was in college in the big city. 1 in 4 women raped was pretty common knowledge in our area.

    Part of being a mother is the consequences of our actions. Convicted or no, we will all make catastrophic mistakes in our children…be it not enough attention, too much attention, not enough direction or dilligence, not enough freedom in their minds. There isn’t a mother among us that won’t watch our kids grow and find a time that we regret something. It seems to be the lot of mothers.

    I don’t see how THIS thing is so much worse than the normal every day things that most mothers do. It’s different to be sure…but I just don’t think it’s WORSE…if that makes sense.

    Well written article. Thank you for your thoughts.

    Posted by Stack | May 3, 2009, 10:54 am
  6. Hi, Stack. My point is just what you commented, that the numbers for Quiverfull families will not be different from the mainstream. The difference is that because Quiverfull families in general have so many more children, they will likely encounter many more of these situations. If you have only one or two children, there is much less likelihood, for example, that one of them will suffer a serious mental illness (because the statistics say this happens to 1 in 17). If you have 17 children, the odds are greater one will suffer in this way (and that some will experience all of the other situations I listed). The other point I was making was that in the mainstream, parents are not subjected to the same judgments and coercions as in the Quiverfull community, where having a child who simply violates community standards (by being gay, for instance) is viewed as a failure of parenting and sin in the child, so the child must be disciplined or excommunicated by the community and parents are treated as bad examples, pariahs, not fit for leadership, other parents won’t allow their children to go to their house and won’t go themselves, etc.

    Posted by womensspace | May 3, 2009, 12:05 pm
  7. For one, your statistics are misleading, because they imply that all the unfortunate “eventualities” — trials — are a result of random fate, rather than individual choice. Alcoholism, sexual perversion, eating disorders, divorce, and apostasy are all choices people make. Is it possible that by following the Bible, people (in QF families or otherwise) will learn wisdom and choose not do to these things?

    Second, as members of a family and a church, QF people ought to share their griefs and struggles with each other, and bear one another’s burdens. And as to my own faults, how can I be shunned for harboring a secret sin, when I have confessed it openly? In my family and my church, those who are more respected are those who are open about their struggles and allow others to see how God’s grace is making them whole. My mom, who has eight herself, is one of them.

    Third, I know firsthand that “problems” happen even in “good” families. Down Syndrome, dyslexia, anorexia, bullying, gender identity disorder, misuse of the internet… If your god cannot surmount problems like these, your god is a false one. If you cannot see the blessings that come with children, over and through these problems, you don’t deserve to enjoy them.

    Posted by Phil | May 22, 2009, 7:28 pm
  8. Phil, alcoholism, sexual “perversion,” eating disorders, divorce and apostasy cannot be reduced to “choices people make.” To frame things that way makes it easy though, No? That way, anyone who departs from the narrow path can similarly and summarily be reduced to a bad example and dispensed with handily with those doing the dispensing-with feeling righteous about what they have done, even if, in fact, they’ve destroyed many lives.

    The scriptures do teach that Christians ought to bear one another’s burdens and it would be wonderful if Christians did. But only certain burdens are sympathetically born. Others, like those in your list, are fodder for church discipline and excommunication. If you are open about them, it’s true, some will seem to be compassionate and will seem to want to help. For a moment. Then they will tell you how to solve your problem, they will urge you to pray, read scripture, get Christian counseling. If you do not show progress in short order, you will be disciplined. If you still do not show progress, you will be excommunicated. So the theory is great but the practice is something else again. It is sadistic to expect that those struggling with, for example, eating disorders (which can and do kill young people every day and which are NOT a matter of “choice”) should share this as a “struggle,” only to be given advice that does not and cannot help them.

    I am not sure what point you wanted to make so far as your third paragraph (other than to preach a bit perhaps?). The point of my post was that being the mother of many children is difficult, and the difficulties do not end, no matter how much a mother loves her children and counts them a blessing. Having lots of littles can be a lot of fun in the context of community. That’s a very small part of the Quiverfull experience. You are a man, though, and you will not have this experience I’m describing, so really, it’s not something you ought to weigh in on and certainly not here, on a blog for exited Quiverfull people.

    My best to your mother. I really do hope that you and your siblings are a blessing to her in the years to come. Help her, especially as she ages. Support her in all the ways you can. Honor her. Never forget all that she has done for you and given for you and given up in order to be faithful as a mother. Resist the temptation to blame her. My experience is, Quiverfull mothers do the best they can to love their children well, often in contexts of abuse and judgment and heartbreaking physical difficulty, and they deserve to be honored by their children for that.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 27, 2009, 5:24 pm
  9. Heart, i love this post…
    but there’s the other half, too – moms like me 🙂 who have chosen to live in a marriage where we are joyful about children, and have no big hangups about sex :)… also get more than our share of joy, hugs, “i love you”s, bedtime kisses, handmade birthday cards – many more years of being someone’s favourite person in the whole world. many more very deep relationships, best friendships, memories.

    I’m willing to hurt for being a mother, but i know i’m also getting a lot of the good stuff that moms with only two or one children miss out on.

    As for the church stuff – you know, i’m struggling with that. we are not in a fundamentalist church 🙂 (maybe that’s my problem!) – we don’t fit there – but we sure dont’ fit anywhere else, either. Children are a blight in most churches, and i’m not ready to just throw them to the sexual predators who feel like using sunday school as a way to get at little ones…or let them be treated as second hand citizens in the kingdom of God (of which Jesus said it was made up “of these”)…

    so we don’t go all the time. and we’ve just not gone at all. there isn’t a ton of support there – but there are a few good people in every church – and a few good people in the community who aren’t Christian, too.

    I find our definition of our group can tend to isolate us just as much as our “wacky” life choices…

    Anyway, i def. do hurt with my friends (of large families and non) whose husbands have been unfaithful, or left them, or struggled with internet porn, or who have been frustrated with their children, or had runaways, or gay kids, or children who just make one bad choice after another. That’s what friends do – i think the church sometimes make us think that we have to “hate the sin” just as much as we “love the sinner”. i just see that Jesus calls us to love God, and then to love others – He says that “love covers a multitude of sin” – and i think if i err on that side, i’m safe 🙂 because God is love…

    Posted by stephanie | May 27, 2009, 10:39 pm
  10. Heart,

    Most people are fine with taking credit for the good choices they were positioned to make. But who wants to take the blame for something bad? It’s easier (but not empowering) to make excuses. And of course, from the tone of your response, the rightness or wrongness or need to change destructive behaviors is also an issue we disagree on. That would determine whether advice for change is kind or cruel.

    As to the church discipline issue, Matthew 18 says if a brother or sister refuses to listen to repeated warnings from the church and continues in a sin, then to treat him or her as you would a pagan. How does the average Christian treat the average pagan? Treats him or her civilly in the community, and presents him or her with the gospel as the solution for their sin. If we actually followed this, would it be so bad?

    Sorry, that last paragraph was kind of preachy. I neglected to tell you that each of the things in that paragraph have occurred in my family. Half of them were my fault, and I’m the first born of eight (which says something about the unpredictability of statistics). Here’s my point: Without these problems, we would not have seen our need to rely on God’s grace, as much. God has used them to make us stronger. This contradicts what I thought to be your entire premise… that statistical tragedies are a compelling reason to avoid having more kids.

    We should be forewarned, yes. But fearful? No.

    Tell me what it means to be “exited Quiverfull people.” Is it folks who have lost their children, or lost their initial reason for having children? When I first read it, I thought you said “excited Quiverfull people”. 😀

    Thanks for your sincere advice on how to treat my mom; I’ll try to follow it. And regardless of our opposing perspectives, you have my respect.

    Phil

    Posted by Phil | May 28, 2009, 2:44 am
  11. This is scary bullshit. Being attracted to the same sex should not be on that list. That is not in the same category as the other things. Being attracted to the same sex is how you are born. Period. You can’t change it, you can’t pray it away and it’s not perversion. Get real.

    Posted by HolyCrap | June 4, 2009, 1:03 pm
  12. Calm down, HolyCrap. I don’t think we can say why people are attracted to the same sex. Nobody knows that for sure, but we can’t say it’s “how we were born.” Who people are attracted to often changes over the course of their lives, for one thing.

    That list up there is a list of things that are likely to be part of a Quiverfull mother’s life if she has many children. Because she is part of this community (not because the things listed are “wrong”), she will suffer grief.

    Posted by womensspace | June 4, 2009, 3:46 pm
  13. I found Phil’s comments so disturbing that I hope you’ll pardon me if I deconstruct them a little bit in an effort to find out what it is that I so don’t like about them. If I’m taking too much on myself, feel free to delete! I think you said all this already, Heart, so maybe it’s redundant. But I needed to work it out for myself!

    they imply that all the unfortunate “eventualities”–trials–are a result of random fate, rather than individual choice

    A trial is sent by God to make you a better person, isn’t it? So, are trials your own fault because of your choices, or are they caused by divine Providence? It can’t be both. Implying two mutually exclusive things is a very typical ploy by religious leaders to make people feel simultaneously responsible and guilty, and yet helpless to seize that responsibility and make changes. After all, if God wants you to undergo this trial, who are you to take action to avoid it? Also, religious leaders often talk about personal responsibility, while setting up prohibitions against taking effective action. For instance, they hold women responsible for their fertility, but forbid them to act responsibly by doing things like using birth control or informing their husbands they don’t want to get pregnant right now. Responsibility without authority is a trap!

    Alcoholism, sexual perversion, eating disorders, divorce, and apostasy are all choices people make.

    No, they’re not. But that’s not the only thing wrong with this list. There are yards of unexamined assumptions stuffed into one short sentence. Alcoholism and eating disorders are destructive and addictive. Most people need professional and medical help to understand and deal with the causes. Your assumption that all people need to do is repent has caused infinite trouble for Christians as they struggle and fail because they are ashamed to seek out the help they need.

    The other three items may be choices, but they don’t belong in a list of sins. I reject the blanket term “sexual perversion.” I don’t consider homosexuality to be wrong. And if you’re including things like pedophilia and rape under “perversion,” which I would agree with, you are wrong again in implying that mere repentance is enough to reliably transform someone who does those things into a safe companion. People who commit sexual violence need to be turned over to the authorities, confined and given treatment, not prayed over.

    Apostasy and divorce aren’t sins or life-wrecking errors. They are often life-saving actions, especially for women. So, if you’re blaming women for their own suffering because they left the church or their marriage, you are barking up the wrong tree. That’s like saying a woman was burned because she took her hand OFF the stove. Post hoc does not equal propter hoc.

    In my family and my church, those who are more respected are those who are open about their struggles and allow others to see how God’s grace is making them whole.

    This statement is just full of fail. I’ve never been in an authoritarian religious group where confessing your problems was not the first step to having them used against you by unscrupulous leaders. Pressuring women to reveal their inmost thoughts in public is not at all safe for them and exposes them to all kinds of mind control. And then there is also pressure to say that the problem is going away even if it isn’t, because if you come right out and say that you’re still gay, or your husband still drinks and is abusive, or that you’re still sick, or your child is still mentally ill, people will look upon you as a failure and assume you must have some sin in your life such that God isn’t healing you.

    If your god cannot surmount problems like these, your god is a false one.

    You see–here comes the bullying and judgmental tone I was speaking about in that last paragraph. What if you can’t surmount the problem? What if you need professional help? What if the problem is something no one woman can cope with? Well, then, I guess your god is false, so you must not be a real Christian. That’s not what I’d call supportive.

    If you cannot see the blessings that come with children, over and through these problems, you don’t deserve to enjoy them.

    Really? And who elected you Pope and gave you authority to pronounce on what we mothers deserve? Can you reflect at all on the tone of that remark, and see how very condescending and self-satisfied it sounds? Not to mention that you are imputing to Heart a lack of belief in the blessings of children, when she didn’t say that at all. She pointed out the very real problems that go along with the blessings, and you chose to twist her words to create a straw woman of an ungrateful, unloving mother. If what you want is a respectful exchange, you need to choose your words more carefully, and take care not to jam them into the mouths of others. LISTEN to what we say rather than telling us what we think.

    It’s not my intention to be unfair to you, Phil, if you are a person of goodwill. But it seems to me that there’s an unconscious assumption on your part that you are in a position to instruct the women here and set them straight, and I just don’t think that’s the case. If anything, you might stand to learn a great deal, particularly if you don’t have any children of your own. There’s a wealth of experience here that a young man is lucky to have the opportunity to listen to.

    Posted by anuna | June 8, 2009, 12:39 am
  14. The statistics cited are irrelevant in the extreme. All you have done is cited the statistics of occurrences of various events in the population at large (e.g., the percentages of the population with mental illness or who are addicted to drugs or who are homosexual). For any given child, there is no greater risk of these events than for any other, at least as far as you have shown. Further, is child to be denied life because he might have a mental illness or become addicted to drugs or have same-sex attractions? Are some potential problems in life so grave that it is better never to have existed? And how would you or anyone else know which child might have these problems even if they were so great that it would have been better never to have been conceived? Might it be the first two children born who would have the problems which you apparently believe would justify denying them existence, with all others later conceived having normal, happy lives?

    I know a couple in their 70s who had two daughters. One died of cancer at a young age and the other committed adultery, left her husband, has a much lower standard of living than she formerly had, is estranged from her own children, and has very strained relations with her parents. Had they had more children, then, statistically speaking, some of those children would have likely outlived them and had normal, happy lives. They lost the statistical lottery game you promote. It was their two only children who had the problems. They had no others to increase the odds that some would not have these problems. They stopped at two, taking their chances, and lost (according to your analysis). They would have improved their odds of having a happy, normal child had they had more.

    My wife and I do not use contraceptives, but do practice periodic continence. We have four children and plan to have no more. We are, therefore, not a quiverfull couple, even though we reject the use of contraceptives. One of our children has developmental disabilities. I wish she did not, but my wife and I love her as much as we do all our other children and certainly do not wish she had never been born. She brings great joy to our family and is a very loving child.

    Every human has joys and sorrows. Disease and death come to all. Fear of the worst can condemn us to never having the best. Fear of the future can condemn us to not enjoying the blessings of today. I pity you for the way you approach this issue. Your post reflects fear, not hope. A life lived in fear is a life ill-lived. I commend to you a life lived in hope, a life in which children are viewed as blessings from God and not curses.

    Posted by GL | June 9, 2009, 4:33 pm
  15. Let me add that I am in no way trying to support the full system of beliefs and practices which often are a part of the Quiverfull movement. I find some of the apologies made by it adherents very off-base. I am sorry if some of you have suffered as a result. My remarks were directed specifically to the sorrows suffered by mothers of many children as being a justification for not being open to life in our marital intimacy.

    While a Protestant, I believe the teaching of the Catholic Church reflects what was the teaching of all orthodox Christians until the 20th century. The traditional Christian teaching does not require a couple to attempt to maximize the number of children they have; it does require that neither artificial means nor sterilization be used to limit family size and that natural means of doing so only be used when strong justification exist. It avoids the extremes of both the Quiverfull Movement and the Contraceptive Culture. It does not see children as foot soldiers in a culture war nor as curses, but as blessings from God. It neither condones irresponsible parenting more children than can be supported nor illicit sexual intercourse designed strictly for selfish pleasure which is deliberately made sterile. The Quiverfull Movement appears to me to be an overreaction to the Contraceptive Culture. Both lack balance and neither has support in Scripture nor in Church tradition.

    Posted by GL | June 9, 2009, 5:14 pm
  16. Aw hell, I know I don’t “deserve” my children. Having babies, being a mother, it’s not based on merit! That’s what the Quiverfull crowd would have you believe, that God blesses the deserving with many children and the undeserving with miscarriages and sterility. Are you good enough? Do you deserve these BLESSINGS?

    I said to my daughter the other day, “The really cool thing about having kids is you get to *make* people who are just so cool and with whom you share your life!” She laughed because it sounded silly, and I was being a little silly, but I meant it, too. I think my kids are the coolest people I know and I truly am blessed to know them, but I didn’t do anything to deserve them, nor have I done anything NOT to deserve them because it’s just not about that.

    There have been many times I have not liked being a mother of (LOL — only — LOL) four children. Being a stay at home fulltime homeschooling mother was, at times, overbearingly difficult for me. There were times I could not see past the problems to the “blessings.” But you know, that’s ok. I don’t deserve my kids anyway, and that’s perfectly fine with me.

    BTW, Heart….this is an awesome, incredible blog. I smiled BIG smiles coming here. You rock. Always have.

    Ginny

    Posted by Sophia | June 11, 2009, 1:10 am
  17. SOPHIA!

    A sight for sore eyes.

    Thanks for commenting.

    xo

    Cher

    Posted by womensspace | June 18, 2009, 11:25 pm
  18. I’m a fundamentalist, quiverfull mom to four children with a fifth of the way and I have found your blog ever so interesting! Of course, I disagree with you on so many levels but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading an opposing viewpoint and ruminating on it a bit. I began to wonder if, at the end of life’s journey when I have mothered countless children and have grandchildren and children who are the same age as one another, will I be paralyzed with regret?
    Will I wish I had dropped my children into public school to pursue some career? Will I be sorry I put myself last and served these individuals, even when I didn’t feel well? My wholehearted answer is “no way”. I am truly, deeply, genuinely happy rearing children, caring for the family and supporting my husband. Maybe that’s the intrinsic difference between you and I. I am doing a job I love. You were freed from a job you resented. You make blanket statements about quiverfull families and fundamentalists but, is it possible you are projecting your own experience with just a few “bad apples” onto the bunch? It appears to me you are shadowboxing. You have created an enemy in your blog and now you are at war with it. In the homeschooling, quiverfull, fundamentalist circles I run in, I don’t know but one or two families such as you describe.
    You are at war with caricatures. Might I suggest you do some soul searching and introspection? You might discover that you have a lot of pent up anger at one or two individuals causing you to castigate an entire ideology?
    Just a thought!
    Angie Pardo
    wacky, quiverfull, homeschooling mommy
    wife to a wonderful leader
    very happy woman

    Posted by Angie | July 12, 2009, 7:25 pm
  19. Wow … I just found your blogs tonight and I’ve been reading for hours. It’s after 2:30 a.m., and I must get to bed.

    I don’t even know where to start, but I truly hear and understand so much of what you are saying.

    The crazy thing is that people automatically put me in the “quiverfull box” … but I have never fit there. I am the mother of 13 children. (But, I do believe in birth control, and have used it many times.) I am a homeschooling mother. (But, many of my kids have also been involved in the “evil” public school system.) I try to dress modestly, and expect that of my girls. (But, we do NOT wear denim jumpers and we LOVE our jeans, shorts, swimsuits, etc…) I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom. (But, I recently spent 5 years working full-time for the “evil” public school system, creating and directing a program that worked with homeschool families.)

    I have a wonderful husband, whom I’ve been married to for 27 years. (But, I will admit that we had a couple of very difficult years in the middle.) He is not in any way domineering or controlling. We have a deep respect for each other, and we want to make each other happy.

    At the same time …

    I used to subscribe to your magazine … but I NEVER liked the Teaching Home Magazine. 🙂

    I always had issues with Mary Pride. In one book she said that we didn’t need birth control because “we don’t reproduce like rabbits”, and I thought, “Well, some of us do.” as I had just had 5 babies in 4 years.

    We have 13 children because we WANT to have 13 children. We are VERY concerned about the Quiverfull movement. You don’t mention Bill Gothard, but it is his ministry that we have seen MANY families harmed by. I know MANY women who have continued to have children, NOT because they wanted to, but because they were DIRECTED to and told that that was what God instructs.

    We homeschool our children because we WANT to. Yet, we know MANY families who are completely burdened by homeschooling, yet continue to do it because they have been directed to do it, and told that that was what God demands of every parent.

    The families that we know who have been Bill Gothard advocates, have had the most unhappy moms that I’ve ever seen. While they say they are Christians, I just haven’t seen the joy of the Lord in very many of them. They are broken by all of the demands that are placed on them.

    I read the link you gave for “unattibutable.com”. Wow!

    While people compare us to the Duggar family … we are NOT at all like them, we just happen to have a lot of kids. The Duggars are huge advocates of Bill Gothard. I have never watched their show, but have to wonder what life is like behind the closed doors (out of camera view) of their home. I have to wonder if their children will rebel.

    By the way … we have 6 young adult children already and we have amazingly wonderful relationships with them. Honest. Open. Non-controlling. They are all loving and serving the Lord because THEY have chosen to, not because we have demanded their servitude.

    Oh … I’m rambling. So sorry! I just feel such a connection to you, and know that I will be reading a lot more of your past blog posts.

    Blessings,

    Laurel
    mama of 13
    http://imghanaadopt.blogspot.com family blog
    http://ajourneyoffaith.net ministry website

    Posted by Laurel Diacogiannis | September 7, 2009, 9:50 am

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