You’ve probably never heard of quiverfull. I hadn’t, either, until about a year ago. Last October, a woman at my church was teaching a 4-week class on motherhood. She had 10 kids of her own; that was all I knew going in. Sadly, I expected her to be fat and tired-looking. I also thought her kids would range in age from very young to completely grown.
I was wrong on all counts. She was young, maybe mid-30s, and thin and attractive. She clearly spent time dressing nicely and putting on makeup (how, with 10 kids, I don’t know!). Her kids also ranged in age from 4 months – 12 years. There were no twins. So she had a baby every 12 – 15 months!
Learning More About Quiverfull
After the class was over, I spent some time talking to her. I was curious how she managed 10, and why she had chosen to have so many. Ben and I had talked before we had gotten married about how many kids we wanted. I’d said 4, he’d said 5, and I’d said done. In reality there was a lot more conversation, but that was the gist. Our families thought we were crazy and said “Wait till you have one, you won’t want so many.” But after Bekah was born, we loved it so much that Ben said “Let’s have 10!” He was sort of kidding…at first. But now he’s not. We really want 10 kids. So, that’s why I was so curious.
She gave me information about “Quiverfull,” which is a Biblical ideal about having children. This movement believes that all children are a gift from God, and that you should take as many as you are given. “Quiverfull” families (including us) do not practice any form of birth control, not even the rhythm method or natural family planning. The Duggars are the most famous example of a family who practices Quiverfull.
I, like a lot of families who end up subscribing to this philosophy, did take birth control at one point. I now believe this to be harmful (even if you don’t subscribe to this philosophy. I will post on that another time). In February 2007, I decided I was done with birth control. I got pregnant in May, and Bekah was born in January 2008. We had talked and prayed during this pregnancy, and had decided we would not use anymore birth control, and we would just see what happened. As it worked out, I got pregnant again in November 2008, and we were both ready and actively trying for another baby at that point. Daniel was born in July 2009.
At this point, Daniel is almost three months old. I haven’t gotten my period back (I got it back two weeks after Bekah started solids, so I’m not anticipating getting it back for awhile yet this time), so I don’t think I could get pregnant yet. But if I do…I’m not worrying about it. I’m praying that God is watching out for me, so that I can continue to provide for my current babies as best I can, and that whenever He does choose to give me another, that we will all be ready for it.
Quiverfull Is Special
Quiverfull is not for everyone. It requires an entire lifestyle that is completely family-centered, much more heavily than is typical for our culture. In mainstream society, it is common to multi-task as much as possible, and women who stay home with their children are often looked down upon. Many women have only a few children, and work full time outside the home. This is what society says is the “right” way to be. I believe this places far too much pressure on women to be “super moms” and that it devalues the most important work, raising the next generation. Quiverfull families put their children at the center, no matter what, and reject society’s views.
Ben chooses to work 6:30 – 3:30 everyday so that he is home by 4 and can spend a good part of the afternoon and evening with the children before they go to bed. This time also allows me to get things done around the house that I can’t do during the day, when they need me. I choose not to work (except for teaching a couple of private music lessons, in the evenings when Ben is with the kids) so that I am here with them all the time. I believe they need ME, not just a care taker. We spend our weekends together, working to help the children and take care of the home. We accept the knowledge that we may have to make sacrifices that others won’t understand (lifestyle, financial, etc.) to raise our kids well.
However, we find this lifestyle incredibly satisfying. Being able to give oneself over completely to other people, to serve others, to take frustrations in stride, really helps to make us happy and bring us in line with God’s plan for us. We really believe this is what we’re meant to do, because everything we need to make it happen (easy pregnancies and births, healthy children, flexible work schedules, etc.) has fallen in line so easily for us. God wouldn’t make it so easy if it wasn’t meant to be.
If you are interested in learning more, please look at this website: http://www.quiverfull.com/. Or, post your questions below! We’ll keep you informed as our quiver grows.