No Mamas Choice – Infertility

by Calulu

What happens when Quiverfull moms get that Baby Fever and discover for unknown reasons that their wombs will not get with the program?

It is one of the questions that pops up here from time to time -’What about women who are infertile, how does the doctrine of many ‘blessings’ preached by the Quiverfull Patriarch movement treat women who aren’t able to bear children?’

Past abortions are blamed frequently as a reason for infertility, the thinking being that you devalued life and the precious gift that the Lord gave you so He determined you are not worthy of the blessing. We know that some sources believe God punishes women who have had abortions by making them bear disabled children. So was suggested by a ‘Christian’ law maker.

Back to infertility, Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies has stated at her conferences that infertility was a punishment from God for sin in the hearts of  infertile women. Even if the cause of the infertility is due to something as devastating as a hysterectomy to remove uterine cancer she still considers it sin in the heart. Nancy also said many times in Above Rubies that adopting a child is a bad thing for the infertile to do because that child is not your biological child and could be ‘too damaged’ to be a Godly family member.

IVF and other medical treatments are forbidden because they are thought to be usurpation of God’s providence. Playing God with a petri dish instead of trusting He will fill your Quiver with arrows.

But it usually boils down to different denominations believing that it’s the fault of the woman due to something being spiritually ‘wrong’ instead of the reality that not every woman’s body is built for child birth. Some secret sin? Doesn’t explain why many non-believers are able to birth large families without any forgiveness of their sins.

Men are completely absolved of any responsibility or fertility issues. Their part in creating life is not mentioned in placing divine blame on the infertile woman.

Well meaning sisters in the church might say things like, “I’ll pray that God opens your womb” or “If you just have enough faith God will grant you a child.” or something like “There must be unconfessed sin in your life for God to punish you like this.”

Suffering from baby fever and having no way to have a baby while others blame it on sin is heartbreaking. You’re been judged as having sinned in some way, brought this upon yourself it is said by those blessed by biology and health. You start to feel like a lesser Christian, unworthy of anything.

We end up beating ourselves up over the perceptions of others instead of knowing that not every body can have babies through no fault of their own. Is this healthy? Of course not. It sure doesn’t help you recover from your infertility or help you deal with your feelings of loss.

Comments open below

Read everything by Calulu!

Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blog is Calulu – Roadkill on the Internet Superhighway

The Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

 

About Suzanne Calulu
  • thursey

    Hi Calulu,
    A few months ago I saw a Nancy Campbell seminar advertised in our local area and promoted by my local homeschool co-op. I’ve been researching the Quiverfull movement now for about a year and knew she was a little “out there”. I was exposed to Quiverfull back in the 90′s (Mary Pride books, etc. ) and almost drank the kool-aid ~ I really just sipped it for a while. Anyway, if you could send me the links where Nancy Campbell states theses crazy, abusive ideas, I’d appreciate it. I’ve been trying to alert some of the more open leaders in our group about the dangers of the patriarchy/quiverfull and assorted fundamentalist movements in the homeschool community. Thanks so much!

  • http://calulu.blogspot.com Calulu

    Some of it came from online discussion groups such as this one – http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/community/showthread.php?t=351210&page=2 There are attendees all over the net that have written about Campbell and others in the QF movement blaming infertility on the sin of the infertile.

  • Annie

    So, what about male factor infertility? Or does that just not exist in their world view?

  • Attackfish

    obviously it’s still the woman’s sin. Somehow.

  • Attackfish

    I’m not sure how I would have gotten through with being raised in this kind of environment. I’ve known that I’m infertile since I was ten, and it was still difficult for me to deal with that I would never give birth. How much harder must it be for the little girl whose doctor tells her she’s infertile, and whose church tells her it’s punishment from God, and that she needs to have more faith?

  • Saraquill

    So using birth control is “playing God.” Using fertility treatments is likewise “playing God.” However, limiting breastfeeding and having great quantities of sex in order to produce a mob that is to be thoroughly indoctrinated, controlled and treated as extensions of the father or church is not?

    I find the disconnect to be disingenuous.

  • LG61820

    I never really wanted to share this much info about myself, but am about 3 sheets to the wind so will admit something I’ve never before admitted. . . . If your husband isn’t interested in sex, it’s kinda difficult to get pregnant.

    At the age of 40 I determined to find out where the fertility problem was. I “forced” my husband to have sex with me at my fertile time and lo and behold I got pregnant! Of course, I had a miscarriage. I believe my marriage ended right there. Sometimes women are infertile because their husbands are averse to sex for whatever reason.

    I helped raise a step-child, three adopted children and a ward. I am now helping to raise three “grandchildren” from the ward.

    I have been separated from my husband for about 7 years. I believe we will be divorced this year. I care about my husband, but oh, how I prayed for a child of my own genetics . . . a child that didn’t come with so much baggage.

    I am now at an age that I will never get pregnant, nor bear a child of my own genetics.

    I can’t believe that I am the only “barren” woman who is barren because of a man with a low sex drive or because of a man who couldn’t be sexually interested in the woman he married.

    I certainly was of a mindset to be quiverfull, homeschooling, patriarchal. I don’t know whether to be sad or grateful that it never happened for me. LG

  • Blue Camas

    Indeed! I was born with PCOS, an endocrine condition that causes infertility (among other things). Since it is something i was BORN with I do not see how this cd be caused by ‘sin’ – especially since none of my siblings have it.
    Very mysterious this sin business!!

  • Silver

    I am really puzzled. If these people want to ban abortion and encourage mothers to instead give the resultant kids up for adoption, why on earth wouldn’t they want fellow Christians to adopt the kids they want these women to give birth to? What am I missing here?

  • Rae

    Exactly.

    I mean, there HAS to be cases where either the QF family is OK with going to a doctor to figure out if/how they’re infertile and the doctor says it’s low sperm count or something, or cases like testicular cancer or something that is most certainly happening with the man’s body.

  • SNP

    I know there are some people in the QF Movement who are wacko, but I don’t know that it’s fair to generalize. I know many families who simply believe God will give the perfect number of children for their family in perfect time ( maybe 0, maybe 10). There are many righteous women in the bible who were not fertile (until God eventually opened their wombs), so why is it relevant to even talk about what other people believe when they have little to no biblical support for their beliefs? Ignore people who aren’t using scripture (in context) to make their points and do not call them Christians. They are making their own creeds. Some people have children, others do not. Some people marry, others never do. Some people live to be 90, children die everyday. Who dare speak for God and say why things happen the way they do? I would be scared to put my words into God’s mouth. I fear for such people.

  • Jenny Islander

    Some possible causes:

    1. These are people who run away from logical thought and despise reason. Many of them believe in a kind of Lamarckianism in which if a baby is born to parents who aren’t good Quiverfullers, then that baby is forever tainted with the parents’ beliefs–even if he was adopted out before he could understand words.

    2. Adoption of non-infants has proven to be disappointing to fundamentalist U.S. Christians many, many times. See, you’re supposed to adopt this little foreign and/or brown kid and get a grateful, compliant, and eagerly believing proof of your wonderful generosity. What you generally get is a stranger in a strange land, missing the people she was close to and suspicious of strangers. The ones who are happy and grateful get a double whammy because, as non-punitive parents know, one of the first things a child does when she feels safe is . . . test the boundaries by acting out. And if she feels emotionally safe, she may react to a previous bad situation in which she was forced to bottle up her anger for fear of a beating by letting it out all over you. If you’re a non-punitive parent, you recognize this and use firm but gentle discipline and patience. If you’re a fundamentalist child trainer, then the best that kid can hope for is to be returned like an unwanted shelter pet. And of course it’s the adopted kid’s fault for failing to be what the adults want.

    3. Most fundamentalists believe that psychology and the study of human development are “unbiblical.” So if they get a really mentally disturbed kid, or somebody who is not neurotypical, the kid ends up beaten extra often because obviously he only has these problems because he’s a rebellious little sinner. And then the parents warn others not to adopt.

  • suzannecalulu

    SNP, I experienced all the things I wrote about during my ten plus infertile years as part of the QF landscape here in the Virginia Piedmont. Everything I listed was spoken to me; I was judged, put down, told off, rebuked for supposedly sinning. I found out after my hysterectomy that I had an undiagnosed malformation from birth that would have made it very difficult for me to have more than a couple of children… I would love to know how that is my sin?

    And I researched thoroughly what most of the big QF ministries had to say about infidelity. It’s true, they do consider it the sin of the mother. How sick is that.

  • SAO

    Most women are fertile. And if you see babies as blessings from God, this is an easy way to be blessed. Since non-fundamentalists use birth control, it’s an area where the Duggars of the world can clearly demonstrate God’s loves them more than the rest of us. In other arenas, good or stuff is distributed pretty randomly. So, calling babies blessings from God and thinking that more means more of God’s love fits very nicely with what people want to believe.

    In this world view, infertile women are just collateral damage. It’s easier to believe they’re somehow not devout enough than to accept that being hyperfertile is a matter of genes and rejection of birth control, not God’s favor. (I mean by this metric, God really loves cockroaches)

  • wanderer

    Also consider the idea that the Bible was written by people with a very different worldview than present-day. God is said to have caused a lot of things that probably were just biology, but people didn’t have knowledge of it at the time.

  • Lisa

    Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, and eggs. And spam.


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