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.
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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
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