Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

The health benefits of being Quiverfull


I’m having an angry day.

I strongly advocate not only for women but also for men who stand against the P/QF mentality for whatever reason. I do not in any way diminish the pain and hurt caused in men by this movement, but I feel like I need to talk about something that mainly effects the single women within the movement and puts additional pressure on their souls: The health benefits of being Quiverfull.

Talking about health in combination with the Quiverfull movement is a relatively new way to argue pro movement. I didn’t grow up on it simply because there wasn’t much of a research going on in my childhood but over the last 5-10 years a whole variety of scientifical articles was published on the topic of early pregnancy and having more than average kids.

You can google “health benefits cancer early pregnancy” or something along those lines and you’ll find a wide variety of articles on different topics, for the sake of laziness, here is a link to one of the articles.

Now, while I’m not arguing that research is wrong or that considering breastfeeding or having another baby because you also want to benefit from this is a bad thing, I do dislike the way it’s used as (almost) a weapon against girls and young women who question the teachings of the QF-movement.

Parts of these researches are regularly brought up at conference, home school conventions, camps etc to prove to young women that the QF movement is the right way of doing things, that the teachings and ideas of the movement leaders are – in fact – God’s only true way. Listening to the leaders of the movement talk about this almost has a “I told you all along” feel to it. They feel like modern science has not only confirmed their teachings but also the infallibility of the Bible.

“God’s ways are perfect, so if you follow God’s ways, you won’t get breast cancer.”

This behaviour sickens me deeply. I want to bring to your attention, dear reader, that the movement abuses modern scientific research to support their ideas and to shove them down the throats of doubting young women – and they abuse these researches not through the promotion of the idea of having many kids is biblical, but mainly because they use modern research to prove the bible right – while other research is ignored as it questions the correctness of the bible (see evolution theories).

It’s nothing new that the leaders and followers of the QF movement have a kind of “pick and chose” mentality when it comes to ideas, biblical or scientific alike.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them

is the best example for the pick and chose/interpret what you like idea. I don’t see where it says “Thou shalt accept every child the Lord hath sent you” here. All I can read is that a man who has many kids is blessed and should consider himself a lucky man. It means don’t cry and whine about the tough times, or tell them you should never have had them. It means, if you can afford many kids, it’s a great way to spend your money and it will make you happy. But, as I said, taking the bible literally might not always be that literal after all.

And what about the young women and even older women who suffer from this practice of being told about all the great health benefits when it just doesn’t work out for them? I know of plenty young women, 25 and older, who have been “called to singleness”. And those poor sheep have to ramble and preach about how amazing motherhood is, how important it is to have kids, and many! How beneficial for your health, your soul, your life they are! I don’t think they are very happy when they go home and sit alone. There will be plenty of people asking them why they aren’t married yet, asking this painful question: “Do you think you’re called to singleness?”. And I have read all the poetic, witty answers the women come up with – “Today I am.”. Wonderful, but that won’t change the fact that, according to Billy-Boy and the rest of the ATI/Vision Forum crew, you are going to get breast cancer and possibly die a slow and lonely death. I know it sounds hard, but I know that these women wonder why God would do that to them.

In a way, it seems to me that a breast cancer patient would feel very insulted by these teachings as well. After all it puts the blame on the patient for not having any/not enough kids. “You could have avoid it, after all, if you followed the Bible.”

I think that, at the end of the day, this is just another way of the QF-boss-crew to get their way, to disable women from speaking up against them. Now they even have doctors on their side. A young woman, still developing in her faith and personality, can easily be manipulated by these teachings. Women who might not have followed through with the QF idea might do so for a whole new dimension of fears. The fear to lose your soul to the enemy and to go to hell is something very abstract and surreal feeling and one might question if the QF way is the only way to be saved, but when it comes to physical health in this life, fears can be put into a very real possibility. After all you never see a person suffering in hell, but you do see, meet and talk to women suffering from breast cancer.

Yes, this was a very angry rant but I needed to get it out. It simply disgusts me that the blame for getting cancer is so subtly put on the women who suffer from it and that it’s used to drive women deeper and deeper of the abyss of following teachings they might not follow otherwise.

12 thoughts on “The health benefits of being Quiverfull

  1. then there are those of us for whom getting pregnant can be deadly…

    • …and the saddest part is that these women will be told to fully trust in God’s wisdom. That God will not let them get pregnant if it would kill them and if he does, he has a good reason to do it. I know of MANY women who have been told by their doctors not to have a 8th, 12th, 14th child because it would risk their health, and instead of actually worrying about the xx amount of kids they already have being left without a mother, they think blind trust will save them.
      You can’t win with the fundamentalists.

  2. I imagine they never bother to mention that pregnancy and childbirth are EXTREMELY dangerous to a woman’s health. More women die every year from pregnancy-related or birth-related complications than from breast cancer. And the non-fatal complications of pregnancy/birth are also more common and more debilitating than those of breast cancer.

    This is one reason why it is so important that a woman be well-informed and in control of her own reproductive choices. These choices carry dire risks.

    • Just like with Jen’s comment, these concerns are covered by “Fully trust the Lord and surrender everything to him.” They believe God never gives you more than you can take and if you die because of pregnancy-related issues, he had a good reason to bring you back home. There’s no winning this discussion with the fundamentalists.

  3. Well… the research also shows that waiting at least a year between pregnancies is better for mom’s health, and prolonged breastfeeding is a huge safeguard against breast cancer, a safeguard which also helps to prevent pregnancy. One of the hugest health benefits for women, as far as I have read, is regular exercise. It is a safeguard against SO many problems, female and otherwise. I ask you, how many women with 8 or more children have time to exercise regularly, or even to sit down and have a healthy meal that doesn’t consist of the leftover crusts from her little ones’ PB&J sandwiches? I only have four wonderful kiddos myself, and I laugh out loud at the idea of finding time to “take care of myself.” (Might be different if my kids were my slaves, though, and not the other way around, LOL). I respect women who love children and want to have many of them, but I do believe that health is inevitably sacrificed on the alter of motherhood, no matter how “the research” tries to dress it up or what the hormonal benefits of pregnancy might be. Just my opinion.

    • I agree with you! Health benefits aside, a woman with kids just doesn’t have the time to follow every health recommendation. There might be days where you don’t eat any fruit at all because you just forget about it (unless, of course, you get the leftover apples and vegetables….). And that’s just one example. Mothering in every form is stretching a person’s physical and emotional strength. Not to mention the constant high stress hormone level with a bunch of lively little ones…
      They’re just using random research to make themselves feel right about their livestyle, ignoring every other negative factor. I love kids and I definately want some myself, but saying that motherhood is nothing but healthy is a flat out lie.

  4. My whole problem with the quiverfull thing (aside from what has already been mentioned) is the emotional/mental aspect of it–how can a woman suffer the miscarriages she does (and some have many–and name those children) and not go completely nuts. I know those babies are in heaven but this is none-the-less a dead child. I never suffered a miscarriage but I’ve had friends who have and to me the whole “it was the will of God and I will see him/her/them again someday” is to deny the whole concept of death as a reality. Do they even mourn? Do they care that a child has died? And do they even realize that that child died due to their own (misguided) blind faith in the twisting of scriptures by man.

    (You don’t need to answer, Lisa. I know the mindset but I just had to vent. Were I not on my way to work, this could have been 1,000 words long.)

    • I do want to answer, though. I didn’t mention this is my post, but miscarriages are such a big issue among the QF families. I think it’s somewhat natural or at least likely to happen that you end up with multiple miscarriages when you’re having 10+ plus kids and there’s really no time to mourn. Actually I feel like sometimes the women aren’t even allowed to be sad. They’re so bombed with comments like “be thankful for everything” and the “you will see him/her again” mentality… And I also think that sometimes the children of the QF families are too included in this dead baby brother/sister mentality. I mean, they are kids, they don’t have this rather abstract understanding that there was actually a baby, though they haven’t ever seen any proof. I know of families where the kids talk of multiple dead baby siblings and have included them in the family like some sort of imaginary friend. I just think sometimes it’s too much for the kids to understand and the issue shouldn’t be pressed as strongly as it sometimes is.

      • I hadn’t thought of the children who had lost siblings. I don’t know why. I suppose I figured the parents would keep the dead sibling to themselves to avoid some of the shame of “the baby died because….” that they would get from other quiverfull families.

        I was on a message board for mothers of many children and I was just overwhelmed by the whole lists of living and dead children they kept on their signature lines. I don’t have a problem with God taking a child home nor do I have a problem with the mother naming that child but it almost was like she had an imaginary friend–many of them. It was surreal. I didn’t stay long because, mentally, I couldn’t take it. I can’t describe the feeling except to say it almost felt like walking into a funeral home filled with dead babies every time I went there and all the mothers sitting around having a party and talking about how excited they would be to get pregnant again. The last straw (or one of them) was when a woman asked if it would be wrong to NOT use birth control while her husband was on unemployment and without health insurance and they all said she would be wrong TO use it.

        Their whole outlook almost felt like the outlook of the Nazi’s to the Jews and others–they were here (sort of) and now they’re not–oh, well.

        As I said, I could go on for pages and pages. But I won’t.

  5. Apparently, they don’t realize the biggest factor in getting breast cancer is AGE. Now, having children, exercising, eating healthy all reduce the risk of getting breast cancer but risk does not mean a certainty. My one grandmother had breast cancer at 67 or 68 (I’m not sure) and lived to the ripe old age of 90. So if I was to get breast cancer, I would see that I would survive it and I would live for over twenty years after it at least. So twisting science to support their agenda is stupid.

    It seems as though health in fundamentalist and even in traditionalist (that’s Catholic fundamentalist) is seen as something to be left to God and not to involve the medical community at all. Even basic things like vaccinations and antiboitics. And it seems that a woman taking care of herself is an unforgivable sin. I don’t get that. Granted, I learned that taking care of myself was selfish (I wasn’t putting others above myself and taking care of their needs at the expense of my health) and that is a hard belief to break out of especially now that I am really starting to deal with my depression.

    I grew up with the fact that being sick was not allowed. I learned that at about age six. My mother could be, so could my sisters but I couldn’t because I was ruining my mother’s life. So learned not to get sick or to acknowledge that I was sick in anyway because I was being weak and ruining my mother’s life (gotta love the guilt). I didn’t learn that being sick was okay until I was in my late 20s and even then I still hate being sick since I still unfortunately see it as a weakness.

    Okay, I think I’ve rambled enough.

    • “It seems as though health in fundamentalist and even in traditionalist (that’s Catholic fundamentalist) is seen as something to be left to God and not to involve the medical community at all.”
      That’s just what they want it to look like. In fact they follow quite a double standard here. I know for a fact that women in QF marriage who have not had the “socially acceptable” (for QF standards) amount of children getting hormonal treatment. It isn’t uncommon that couples get checked out for what could be wrong physically when they’re not having kids. They also use NFP to increase their chances of getting pregnant. There’s many other things people actually do in the medical section that they publically speak against but practice under the covers.
      Everybody wants to be blessed with many healthy kids and they go to lengths to achieve just that. But don’t say that out loud! Can’t have people know that at the end of the day, they’re just a depressed psychopath.

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