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All the kids together

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. :)

Do you subscribe to quiverfull, or to allowing God to decide your family size?


This is the writings of:

Kate is wife to Ben and mommy to Bekah (6.5), Daniel (5), Jacob (3), and Nathan (1.5). She is passionate about God, health, and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and a popular book entitled A Practical Guide to Children's Health. She also recently released Healing With God's Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies, which teaches people to use natural remedies to keep their families healthy. When she's not blogging, she's in the kitchen, sewing, or homeschooling her children.

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4 Comments

  1. The issue that I have with Quiverfull is that it's taking a few Bible verses out of context and not looking at all of the issues involved. It's true that Adam and Eve, and then Noah and his family, were both told to "go forth and multiply", to have children an fill the earth. Also, the Bible makes it clear that children are a blessing and that the life of even an unborn child is precious to God, so that he does not approve of abortion in any form.

    However, the balance to me is that the Christian congregation was NOT ever commanded to have children. Instead, in Matt. 28:18, 19, Jesus told his followers to "go and make disciples", and to teach them about Jesus and God's Kingdom. The letters of the Apostle Paul also talk about marriage but also the gift of singleness, because in choosing singleness a person would have more time to focus on doing God's will to their utmost. In short, Christians were told to teach others and make disciples of Jesus, not through childbearing, but through a ministry of education, following the example of Jesus and his apostles. This is equally important to me because it is apparent through the signs that Jesus gave his apostles that this system and it's governments cannot last much longer, and I would like to spend as much time as possible helping people to learn God's will and repent.

    I have a daughter who is a year old, and I hope to have another in the next few years. I cannot subscribe to the Quiverfull movement because there is no way that I'd have time to be in the ministry, talking to others about Jesus and his Father if I had 10 children, and I think that it is an oversimplification of the Biblical principle that children are a gift from God.

    Reply

  2. My comment is in response to the above commentor who may or may not ever see this. The church may have never been commanded to "go forth and multiply" as you say but neither was it commanded to use birth control (in any form) to prevent having more children. If you as a Christian trust God in EVERY aspect of your life and believe that He alone controls your life and situation, from money to relationships everything. Then why not have faith that He is in control of how many children you have? I view taking birth control as saying "Well God, I understand that you have a plan for my life, but I'm not sure you can really handle planning it all so I'm just going to take back control of this area of my life." If we are to fully trust in Him then we must surrender to Him in ALL areas of life- childbearing included. I am 24 with 3 children. My husband and I trust God to give us as many children as He sees fit. Ps. Just a random thought- If God knows us before we are born if He forms us in our Mother's womb don't you think He can be trusted with how many children we are to have?

    Reply

  3. Your children ARE your ministry. Whether you have 2 or 10. Children should not be looked at as an obstacle to ministry. Ministering to those in the church should not come before ministering to your children. Our children are our future generation.

    Reply

  4. My husband and I want many children; but we don’t believe in quiver full.. I don’t oppose anyone that does it; i just find it a personal conviction. It is my personal conviction not to do anything un-natural. The only thing we do is natural family planning. If I know i’m ovulating and do no feel God yet wants us to have another child, we abstain for that time… We also feel led to be foster parents and adopt which we believe is something God is calling us to do. I am 24 and pregnant with my third, which was a big surprise lol (ultimately God can do whatever he wants), but after this one we may just take orphans into our home. I think children and the number are a personal conviction. I do agree with the fact that my children are my ministry. I am making disciples of them. THey will follow me as I follow Christ. If every mom was intentional about discipling her children to follow Christ and in the Gospel, think about the outcome we would have .

    Reply

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