Why Michelle Duggar can’t say, “We’re done!”
“We’ll just wait and see what God has in store.” ~ Michelle Duggar, People, Feb. 8, 2010
As a former Quiverfull mom of seven, I’ve had such a variety of birth experiences ~ emergency c-sections, scheduled repeat c-sections, failed homebirth attempt, successful homebirth (after four cesareans!), hospital VBAC, and with my last birth ~ which I had planned to have unassisted at home, I ended up with a 5th c-section due to partial uterine rupture.
My complicated birthing history made living out the Quiverfull ideal of “leaving my fertility in the Lord’s hands” all the more challenging ~ and one of the toughest things for me to handle was all the well-meaning friends, family, and complete strangers who looked at what I’d already been through physically and asked the obvious question:
“Aren’t you done yet?!!!!”
This is the question everyone’s asking Mama Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” – TLC fame. And Michelle’s response in the current issue of People Magazine ~ “We’ll just wait and see what God has in store” ~ is exactly how I used to answer the concerned questioners too.
At one point, my own mother stood at the foot of my hospital bed and, with tears rolling down her cheeks, begged me not to get pregnant again. “This is too hard on you, Vyckie. What about the children you already have? You need to be alive and healthy to take care of them!!”
Despite the pain and misery I suffered ~ not to mention the very real danger to myself and my children ~ I had three more babies.
After the partial uterine rupture, it seemed so obvious to everyone that I ought to be done for sure. How many times did I hear: Surely God will let you off the hook now ~ He would want you to protect your health to ensure that you’ll be around to care for the seven already-born children He has blessed you with?
“Seems to me that God’s made it very clear what He wants,” quipped the baby doctor the morning after I’d nearly left Warren a widowed father of six children here on earth and one with me in heaven.
Well ~ it certainly was not clear to me. I still had a uterus, after all. If God didn’t want me to use it, why didn’t He guide the hands of the surgeon to give me a hysterectomy?
You see, once a woman’s mind grasps the concept of “trusting the Lord” with her reproductive life ~ absolutely nothing is ever simple or obvious again. The Quiverfull philosophy is an alluring and powerful spell ~ and the woman so enchanted feels the euphoria of the “Big Happy Family,” she is seduced by a vision of chivalrous men and genteel ladies, tempted by the promise of God’s protection and provision, and she knows the sheer ecstasy of inhaling deeply the ambrosial smell of yet another newborn.
So it’s no surprise that despite preeclampsia, gallstones, and a micro-preemie baby, Michelle’s still determined to leave it up to God whether there’ll be a twentieth Duggar baby or not. That she ought to stop now is glaringly obvious to everyone but Michelle and the Quiverfullers who are similarly beguiled. Having been there and done that (got pregnant twice again after the partial uterine rupture), I’m inclined to go easy on the lady. I think Michelle is doing her best to live consistently according to the worldview of her firmly held Christian beliefs.
But I’m not backing off on my efforts here at NLQ to expose the delusion which has Michelle so captivated that she’s continuing to take unneccesary and irresponsible risks. Bill Gothard, whose “biblical family values” have strongly influenced the Duggars, has never been married and has no children. This man, along with other Quiverfull leaders such as Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, Voddie Baucham, etc. need to be held accountable for the teachings they are calling “biblical” ~ teachings that trap women in a mental headspace in which common sense and gut feelings are to be distrusted and ignored.
That’s what we’re doing here at No Longer Quivering ~ exposing the teachings and calling the teachers to account for the devastation the Quiverfull philosophy has wreaked upon countless faithful, godly families. Through our Take Heart Project, we are here for disenchanted women for whom the overwhelmingly harsh, demanding, and soul-destroying reality of “trusting God” with their family planning finally breaks the spell and rouses them from the Quiverfull dreamland.