Quoting Quiverfull: Why Have Babies?

Quoting Quiverfull: Why Have Babies? July 6, 2013

by Candice Watters from the Boundless blog and Ladies Against Feminism

We live in a world where people take great pains and lots of pills to prevent babies when they don’t want them, and spare no expense to get them when they do. According to our culture, babies before you want them are an accident, mistake or crisis — a result of a birth control failure. And if you can’t have them naturally when you decide you’re ready, they’re treated like a commodity you have a right to buy, as long as you can afford the price tag. Birth control is no longer a noun, something we use to prevent pregnancy; it’s an adjective describing our whole culture. We live in a birth control culture, the key word being control.

Good Reasons to Ask the Question

Mary’s question, “What makes you think you’ll still be fertile when you decide you’re ready to have babies?” jolted me because it offended my sense of control. I figured I knew best when I’d be ready to be a mom. Even though I wasn’t on the pill, I was very much in the birth-control mindset. I thought this decision was up to Steve and me. We believed we were in control. Her question hit me like a bucket of ice water.

What if we’re not in control? What if by saying no to children now, we miss our window of opportunity? What then? These questions raced through my mind, and later that day, they raced around our family room as we hashed them out with the Morkens. God used them to challenge our assumptions. Steve saved his best counter for last: “But, Dr. Morken, we can’t afford them.” Dr. Morken didn’t waste time looking at our balance sheet or examining our checkbook. He knew we weren’t paupers, but even that wasn’t the issue. (He and Mary had a fraction of what we did when they got married and started their family, as have most human beings for all of recorded history). The point is that it’s not about money. He went to the deeper issue: “Babies are wealth,” he said. “Budget for everything but babies.”

You can’t measure the worth of a baby — a human being made in the image of God — with a spreadsheet or calculator the way you would material things, entertainment, travel or education. People have intrinsic value and worth that is unlike anything else in creation.

The truth is we weren’t living on much of a budget, and we weren’t really being intentional about getting out of debt. We just knew we liked our current life, our freedom to spend our double incomes the way we wanted to, to have maximum control over our schedules and time. Having a baby would certainly spin us out of control. But not like a car wreck. More like a Peter-walking-on-the-water-and-needing-to-keep-looking-at-Jesus-so-he-wouldn’t-drown wreck. This would be bigger than us. And we knew it. We didn’t want to lose control.

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

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


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  • chromesthesia

    These people give terrible advice.

  • persephone

    I’m glad its worked out for you.

  • persephone

    I think a lot of people just like to share the misery. Have you ever noticed that the people most likely to hand out advice are the ones who shouldn’t?

    If you want kids, great, accept the responsibility. If you don’t, accept the responsibility. Personally I was quite happy as a DINK.

  • Jayn

    “He went to the deeper issue: “Babies are wealth,” he said. “Budget for everything but babies.””

    The whole idea of this post is just bonkers, but this particular quote highlights why it’s so bad. Consider babies to be wealth if you want to, but the people selling the baby food, cribs, clothing, and everything else you need, not to mention the doctors/midwives who will bring your baby into the world and help you make sure ze’s healthy won’t, or at least won’t accept that as payment for services, and being a parent won’t make up for the money that you will have to spend on your child. A baby may be a form of ‘wealth’ to some people, but what it’s certainly not is money, and when you’re talking about your budget money is the key issue.

  • Theo Darling


  • Saraquill

    “Babies are wealth” also makes it sound like they’re a form of currency, or a cash crop.

    Excuse me as I wash my hands for typing that.

  • Saraquill

    Doctor’s fees for pregnancy, birth and a new person is nothing to sneeze at. Similarly, day care is hardly cheap. For these and other reasons, I prefer to wait.

  • Antigone10

    This family might have been able to afford children. Maybe, maybe not. But there are actual families that are barely making it through the week as it is, and children aren’t cheap.

    There are no guarantees when it comes to sex and children. I’ve known people who were in their forties who had kids, and others who struggled to have children in their 20s. I know people who were convinced that they would have an abortion and changed their minds when they got pregnant AND people who thought abortion was terrible…right up to the moment when they had an unexpected pregnancy. I tend to think that people are going to make the best decisions for themselves based on the best information that they have. But I will say this- as an older sibling, and as a daycare assistant: children are not something that you should be TALKED into having. They are too much labor, on too many levels, to do with hesitation.

    Here’s the best response to “What makes you think you’ll still be fertile when you decide you’re ready to have babies?” is “I’m not sure- but better to miss children than to have them when we aren’t ready.”

  • Antigone10

    Though, all cards on the table- I don’t have children, and I don’t want them. Ever. If I could do it safely, I would have a hysterectomy tomorrow.

  • Ruth Anastacia Adamcik

    There are so many reasons why one would want to have children and would not want to have children. As for me, I did want a family, but I was diagnosed with major depression when I was 30. I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life. My doctors and I thought it best for me to not have children. In the 1990s, it wasn’t clear if depression medications would cause birth defects. The greater risk of post-partum depression when the mother already has clinical depression was not yet widely known. Now we know that both scenarios are real and serious. Some have asked me, “What about adoption?” My diagnosis would have disqualified me for that instantly. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be anything less than my best for my children. What would happen if I had a major depressive episode while being responsible for a child or children? No – the most responsible and loving thing for me to do was to *not* have a family. Since my depression diagnosis, I have also developed fibromyalgia and can no longer work let alone raise children. I am now 49 years old and recently had a partial hysterectomy because of persistent fibroids. Those in the Quiverfull movement would say that that would be a punishment from God for daring to control my life and to be so selfish as to protect my health by not having a family. *I* have no regrets. I know I did the right thing. And when my health permits, I am an honorary Auntie to the children of my friends. I was also available to help my parents when they become ill and passed away within the past two years. That was an honor, too. Any sadness about all this is normal and natural, not a punishment for some kind of “sin” that I have committed. I am otherwise content and grateful.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I don’t mean to discount this woman’s confusion and pain, but I’m not sure I follow her questions.

    If she (or her husband) did not have fertility issues, then the only way they could “miss the opportunity” is age. Taking birth control doesn’t damage fertility, it pauses it.

    So the issue becomes “Can we afford to raise children properly?” This should NEVER be discounted simply because you’re afraid you might not achieve stability in time. If you don’t, seek medical help or adopt/foster. Don’t just have kids you can’t afford to give a good life to.

  • Baby_Raptor

    “As far as money…..we all manage to afford that which we really want.”]

    This…simply isn’t reality. There’s only so much money. I really want several things; a better car at the top of the list. But there’s simply no room in the budget unless my rommate and I started skipping bills or cutting his at work food budget. (I work from home.)

    There’s no such thing as a money tree. Responsibility and basic needs call the lie on your statement.

  • NeaDods

    They’re certainly a way of counting coup in the quiverfull community.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Young people often do not see their own aging till it hits them in the face that some things are no longer possible.

    Well, I am a young person, specifically a young woman. And if there is a young or young-ish woman in this society who is not aware of her own aging, despite the constant admonitions to us to get ourselves husbands (presumably from the Husband Tree, which is right next to the Money Tree) before we get old and undesirable, the constant hawking of beauty and anti-aging products to younger and younger women, the fertility alarmism being shouted from every magazine cover, I really, really want to meet her. You are sorely mistaken if you think we young women are ever allowed to forget that one day we will no longer be young for one second! But guess what? Everyone scolding us for wanting to do such things as marry who we feel is right for us when they come along (as opposed to whomever is there because BABIES!!!), achieve some semblance of career stability–no easy task for my generation–before we procreate, or, you know, just be sure that we want to have children before we start trying to have them is not going to make us not want to do those things.

    And if the culture does successfully bully some women into having children young, before they are ready, able to support them, or with the right person, I feel sorry for those women and their children.

  • lodrelhai

    Actually, I’ve heard from more than one “good Christian” source that birth control can cause infertility. And breast cancer. I think they took it as an extension of the myth that abortions cause these things. Neither is true, but I would not in the least be surprised if that argument had been part of the discussion at some point.