Babies, nursing and farming…Oh My….

by Laura


Dale and I looked for a place to raise our kids in the midwest. Land was affordable there and since we felt that going into debt was sinful, we could only buy what we could afford. We found what we thought was our “promised land” in Nebraska. We named our farm Canaan Farms after the land of Canaan mentioned in the Old Testament. God had given this land to his children during the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. We believed that God was giving us our farm and so hence the name. We left all our friends, family and all things familiar and headed out to Nebraska with our 3 young children. We knew absolutely no one in our new home except the realtor named Mac. We had no job, hardly any savings and no support system. But we had God.

I had no idea that I would be so home sick.

I was desperately alone and friendless. While Dale worked on the farm and improving this and that, I cared for our three little ones and tried to make do with next to nothing. And I conceived. I was young and healthy and had no trouble conceiving. During our almost 25 year marriage, I would conceive 15 times.

As I think about it now, those early years in Nebraska become somewhat of a blur. Working on the farm, bearing a child every other year, nursing and homeschooling. Growing our own wheat, grinding it and then baking it into bread. Playing midwife to our herd of sheep, I would be helping them deliver when I was 8 months pregnant my self. I remember blocking off the dining room with the living room couch and telling my oldest daughter, then about 8, to keep the little ones quiet for a while so I could try to teach her older brother to read. The 8 year old would be caring for 4 younger siblings ranging in age from 6 to a tiny baby. I felt horrible having her do this but there was no other way to get the job done.

There was always too much to do. I was always nursing, recovering from birth or preparing for a new baby. I had 3 babies in 4 years and things kept moving faster. We had a gigantic garden. Dale would plant 56 tomato plants and the children and I would can everything we could. We’d pride ourselves on the hundreds and hundreds of jars of vegetables, fruits and jams that we’d stored up for winter. And winter was a doozy… We only had a woodstove to heat our house. One bathroom for us all and one bedroom for the children. As time went by our house fell into disrepair but we never did much to fix it up. The wood of our dining room floor was so splintery that it seemed I was continually taking splinters out of the children’s feet and knees. I remember when one of my babies was crawling around the house. I went to put her to bed for her nap and she protested loudly with screams. Out of character for her. I always put my babies to sleep on their tummies (not kosher these days, I know) and every time I lay her down she would scream and cry. It took me a little while to discover that she had a splinter about a quarter of an inch long stuck straight into her fat little baby knee. Poor thing. For years I asked my husband to put something down on that floor but he never would. I didn’t know how to do it but being a carpenter by trade, Dale certainly did. But it wasn’t important to him…so it never happened. It seemed it was always like that. If it needed to be fixed or built out in the shop or on the farm, Dale would do it but if it needed it to be fixed or built in the house, forget it. Dale built 3 very nice barns on the farm. One he even made with post and beam construction and held some of it together with pegs…just for fun. But he wouldn’t add a bathroom on or fix the rotting one we had. He made a very nice comfy shop for himself to work in but he wouldn’t add a bedroom or two onto our home. We had kids sleeping in the livingroom on the couch because we had long ago outgrown our home.

Then came Brazil…and the next chapter of my story…the beginning of the end…

Laura’s Story:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Susanne

    Congratulations!! Where do you live now Laura? Post a bit on why Dale got physical custody, and what the Judge would like to see you to do to reverse the current custody order.

  • bcameron

    Oh that's real nice. L & V, I think you should edit out this veiled threat. It's your blog, just as it's your life, not anyone else's. I wish you well.

  • bcameron

    Real nice comment. Laura or Vickie, I think you should feel free to edit out this veiled threat. Your lives, your blog, not “susanne’s”.

  • uzza

    As a carpenter myself, I could barely stand to read this. What a sorry excuse for a man. I’m so glad to know that you got away from it all. and I hope things just keep getting better.

  • Jamie Fritz

    I look forward to reading the rest of your story. Thank you for posting it.

  • tiro

    I’m ever so sorry that you had to go through all this Laura. I wish your new husband and you the very best. I sincerely hope that you are able to show your children how much you love them and are able to counter effectively any religious legalism they have been filled with and any lies they have been told about you.My heart and prayers go out to you.blessings,tiro

  • Persephone

    I notice that Proverbs 31 is mentioned regularly by Vyckie. What seems to be forgotten is that the wife in that chapter is managing a household with servants and slaves. She is NOT doing it all on her own with her children as slave labor. She also purchases property and runs a business. I suppose all that gets edited out by the leaders and mindless slaves of this cult.

  • madame

    Laura,That is one impressive amount of canned vegetables! And all from your garden. I’m sitting here with my mouth gaping open. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

  • tiro

    one of the anonymous’s said: “Please especially go to http://www.equalitycentral.comShe is correct that there are a lot of really great men and women who can help you sort through some of this stuff and will gladly support you in prayers.but the url is am praying for the best of everything for you and your family and all things to work out for good.

  • Abby Spice

    I don’t see an email address for you guys (although maybe I’m just dumb), but I see that a comment was deleted. While I’m sure that it was cruel and offensive, I would argue that it’s important to leave those up, so that people can see just how disgusting the pro-Quiverfull people (I assume it was one of them) are.You guys are amazing!

  • gsilver

    What a story! I am fascinated and inspired by what you went through – and I am sure I am not the only one! Write that book!

  • Nan

    Just found your blog. I hope you do get that book written — the two of you have an amazing story to tell.

  • Anonymous

    Laura and Vykie,My heart goes out to you. I know women caught in the vortex of despair. I also know couples who have together lovingly raised healthy large families. It is devistating to realize that not only have we submitted, but we have subjected our children, to disrespect, control and abuse. Breaking free is hugely difficult and disorienting. I commend you on your extraordinary progress.Having read many of the authors mentioned here and lived the homeschool community for almost 20 years, I can imagine the disillusionment of having trusted another who led us wrong. I have done this too. Recognize though, that the evil here is man, not God. The responsibility of us all is to weigh and discern what we read and what we believe. When I broke away from our church I read prolifically from many sources. My hunger for understanding was insatiable. Having read all these authors, listened to the speakers, sat in the teaching we must discard the obvious error, separate the chaff from the wheat and pray to God for wisdom, discernment and direction. Please stay open to the existence of God. You and your children need the stability of truth not the chaos of rounds. Angel’s poem is so succinct. Her fear is tangible. It takes time to regroup and I hope you continue to write. Writing has helped me to process, understand and begin again. Love to you both.

  • Charis

    ((((((((Laura)))))))),made me cry to read it…in part, because it sounds way WAY too “familiar”, and Susanne, I would have lost custody of our 8 children to my abuser too too because I was so hurt and angry over the years of abuse and neglect… He was an “emotion free zone” while I looked like raging maniac. I hit bottom with the heat deprivation- when my 18 month old had to have 6 rounds of antibiotics in a row and “failure to thrive”… The selfish bedroom behavior, the various manifestations of abusiveness toward the children…I’m still with the same husband, he is a much better man nowadays. (Seeing Progress)

  • denelian

    i just found your blog (via feministe)i can’t have kids at all. everyone thinks that i suffer from sour grapes because i also don’t WANT kids. i am very physically disabled – and being a mom is HARD HARD HARD (i raised my youngest sister, so i do know whereof i speak :)you both went through what i would consider Hell. if you need another friend (and don’t mind a friend who calls God “Her” – God being all powerful, God can be female if She wants) please look me up. i don’t know that i can be a lot of help, but i have shoulders, and they are good for leaning on.Gods bless you both.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t let veiled threats or anything else keep you from telling your stories… it’s funny but these stories are familiar to me, not from being a Christian, but from being a Muslim. I know so many women in the same position, in voluntary poverty thanks to their husbands, in houses in disrepair, with children they can’t cope with, alienating their families, etc.

  • Christy

    I doubt my comments will get posted since you have comment moderation on and are likely too cowardly to post anything against your agenda. However I may be wrong and there is more to you than two winy immature people bad mouthing what sounds to me as not all that bad of a life, if you chose it for yourself. Remember that you married your first Husband (Dale?). No one forced you into it. Some of us want to have a quiet hard working country life filled with babies. Some of us don’t. Don’t rag on them like you say they rag on you. You two are just as judgmental as the Fundamentalist Christians! Thinking,Christy Bretsh

  • Anonymous

    Christy – please keep thinking, you obviously need to do a lot more of it. The “quiet hard working country life filled with babies” isn’t really the point, and whatever path someone chooses, it does not mean their human rights deserve to be violated in the process.

  • sandradodd

    Has anyone hit on Susanne’s profile? She calls herself a perfectionist, seems she missed the mark today.

  • Anonymous

    Why are you so down on Susanns? She asked a very good question, one I have been wondering about myself.