Quoting Quiverfull: If You Get Sick From “Doing It All” Then God Has Other Plans?

Quoting Quiverfull: If You Get Sick From “Doing It All” Then God Has Other Plans? November 21, 2014

sickmommaby Jenny Erwin from United Christian Homeschoolers Upstate – Wednesdays Words of Encouragement: May ‘He’ Get All The Glory

Found this through Ladies Against Feminism and Be Not Weary websites. This sounds so very much like the stories of many of us Quiverfull walk-away moms that it’s frightening. The difference is that she’s still at that place where she cannot admit her own chosen religious lifestyle is causing her great physical harm. I hope she makes the connection soon and does what she needs to do to heal her body. Any life style that is destroying your body cannot be healthy for anyone, it sure doesn’t benefit  anyone in the family, it makes it nearly impossible to do the things necessary to raise your children.

I was going to do it all. Have a godly marriage, a large family, homeschool, bake and cook healthy meals. My children would wear matching clothing, they would be always obedient, and never have dirty faces. I would be the one with the fresh baked cookies and flowers arranged neatly in the vase, having been just plucked from my perfect garden. My house would be always a warm place of hospitality with order and cleanliness abounding. And did I mention I would homeschool? Yes, I had great plans. After all, I had been taught at home from 6th grade on. I had it all figured out. Piece of cake!!

Shortly after my firstborn turned four, I was raring to go! A full curriculum complete with teacher’s guide had me ready to tackle raising my little protegee. I would beam with pride as my young man could read at an 8th grade level by 6 years old. I was on my way!

But, as baby after baby came the pregnancies, morning sickness, breastfeeding, sleepless nights and caring for lots of littles was a challenging task. Now instead of a perfect orderly house, I had legos on the floor waiting to be stepped on in the dark. We did well to find matching socks, let alone all matching outfits. If we had cookies they were most likely store bought. And the only flowers on the table, might be the occasional bouquet my loving husband would bring home to me. My perfect homeschool world was beginning to crash down on me. Notice I said, MY perfect homeschool world. The Lord was showing me that my plans were not necessarily His plans.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, influential bloggers and cultural enforcers 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 and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Mel

    “Then slowly, my health began to decline. Just a few years after we were married, after the birth of our second child I lost a kidney. A couple years later the fatigue began to hit me. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Fast Forward many years. Adrenal fatigue, possible chronic fatigue and/or fibromyalgia, hormone imbalances, depression, and ocd have had me barely able to get out of bed many days. Simple decisions and minor tasks many times are overwhelming. Many morning I feel like I am coming out of a coma, many evenings find me unable to wind down. The couch often is my friend, and I have to carefully plan the ways in which I should spend my limited energy.”

    *Shudders*

    I’ve had the experience of having students re-enter the public school system after situations like this – well-meaning homeschooling mom becomes chronically ill and pretty much stops most education for years at a time.

    Also, allow me to point out that most of her solutions – “Put kids on computers! Watch educational videos! Learning hobbies is really learning!” have been leveled as accusations held AGAINST public schools by home schooling parents before. Because, clearly, a ill, over-worked, exhausted Mom has WAY more experience and time to review and build curriculum around Netflix than I did as a public school teacher…

  • Anonyme

    …my young man could read at an 8th grade level by 6 years old.”
    I call BS. I searched ‘eighth grade books’ and came up with such titles as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Animal Farm’, ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, Harry Potter…aka a number of books that wouldn’t pass the Fundie censorship so there’s no real measure of reading ability.

    Yes, that’s the first thing I took out of this stack of crazy.

  • brbr2424

    That’s not just a homeschooling mom delusion. Most moms have visions of their perfect ground breaking children before they are born and before they go off to school. Then reality hits. On average, parents will have average kids.

  • Astrin Ymris

    No, it was her PLAN that her 6-year-old would be able to read at the 8th grade level– that’s not what happened, because Real Life intervened!

    BTW, all that “reads at the 8th grade level” means is “scores as well on a reading test as an average 8th grader would if he took that same test”. It doesn’t mean “Able to grapple with the intellectual and moral complexities present in any book labeled as being on the 8th grade level”.

    How well-normed the reading tests are in fundgelical homeschool curriculums is another question. The questions on a secular test may include ideology they don’t want to expose their hothouse flowers to.

  • brbr2424

    No doubt multiple pregnancies exacerbated her condition. Someone who “looses a kidney” probably should not have others feeding off their tired body repeatedly.

    My son went to a reading tutoring place for his dyslexia. The woman he worked with had homeschooler clients, and she said they were way behind. It strikes me as incredibly arrogant for this woman to believe that she can offer her children a quality education in her condition. I also doubt that homeschooling moms can diagnose and address learning disabilities. According to Mary Pride, learning disabilities don’t exist. Problem solved.

  • Elise

    So I clicked through and read the full post Jenny wrote. Her list of maladies is extensive and includes OCD, depression and fibromyalgia, causing her so much fatigue she often can’t get out of bed. So, mental illness is part her baggage. The woman needs professional and pharmaceutical help. Her children’s education is clearly languishing. Anyone with intelligence can read this between the lines of her post. She may gush the cool aid induced drunken rhetoric of her false religion all she wants. The one I want to hear from is her 17 year old. If that child were given complete anonymity and a safe place to tell their story, what would it be?

  • JeanPing

    That’s correct. Plenty of 6 year olds can read at that level, though. My oldest did. It’s a hassle keeping them in age-appropriate books, but it’s completely doable if you go to the library enough. It helped a lot that I am a librarian. My kid is not super -bright or anything, she just likes to read.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I was reading books by Stephen King in 6th and 7th grade, though it wasn’t until I had gotten answers to some questions put to my dad while I was in 6th before I got to 7th grade and had more or less grasped the intellectual and moral complexities of what I was reading. My teachers were a bit concerned when I pulled out “It” and “The Stand” for our daily silent reading period, one even wrote a note to send home with me about it. I don’t know what the contents of the response from my dad were, but I imagine it had something to do with having determined that I was allowed to read whatever I wanted, that I would come to him with questions if I had any regarding any content involving adult themes, and the books I was reading weren’t going to turn me into a psychopath. In many respects I was very sheltered growing up, but in terms of being allowed to interact with quite a bit of secular and adult topics/themes through literature, by 7th grade I was the person who made decisions in that regard. Besides, it wasn’t as though I could be prevented from checking out whatever I wanted be it Tolstoy or King, and my parents felt that it was silly to waste the energy on battling me over what I wanted to read when the war to prevent me from breaking the agreement on curfew and dating was set to begin.

  • Astrin Ymris

    *shudders* And yet, the PARENTS were getting themselves sufficient food, just like the mother in that Followers of Christ cult let her son die for lack of medical care, while she secretly got medical care for an ingrown toenail.

    http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/04/25/for-sect-in-idaho-faith-healing-becomes-faith-killing/31811

    Parents who have kids they don’t really want because “God says to” can be chillingly indifferent to the resulting children’s suffering.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in the summer between 4th and 5th grade*, and I assure you huge portions of it flew right over my head! ;-D

    *Nobody suggested it to me… I was looking for something to read, and it was on my parents bookshelf next to ‘The Days Before Yesterday’ by Fern M. Crehan, which I’d previously enjoyed.

  • Catherine

    V.C. Andrews novels were super popular when I was in junior high. Looking back, I’m rather surprised my parents were okay with me reading them.

  • Independent Thinker

    There is a very popular homeschooling mom named Heather Laurie that I have some very deep concerns about her kids. She is a very popular homeschooling convention speaker. She has mitochondrial disease and is frequently in and out of the hospital. I will use her website to sum up her situation “We began our homeschooling journey over 13 years ago. My oldest was 5 and kindergarten was not ready for her. Too much go- go- go and too much ADHD showing to fit nicely into the classroom. My husband and I thought we would just homeschool for a year or so…. 5 children later and 13 years of homeschooling under our belt. We love it! I started Special Needs Homeschooling because 4 of my 5 children were diagnosed with autism. Our homeschooling was filled with therapy, doctor’s appointments, and behavioral issues that others just didn’t understand. Later we found out that I and my children also have mitochondrial disease.” As parents it’s our job to evaluate what is best for our children and when possible prepare them for the next chapter in life. Given the complexity of this situation I question is this really the best possible situation for her kids? Could they be better off in public school? I will put a link to Heather’s website.

    http://specialneedshomeschooling.com/?page_id=2

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Sometimes it is because they haven’t read the books themselves, and assume that because it’s not in the “adult” section it will be ok. My dad had read Stephen King and so much more – his preference is SciFi, while I am open to just about any genre. I read books that weren’t even included in the honors curriculum or reading list in high school. It kind of seemed like the teachers were having a hard enough time getting kids to read for the sake of reading, so whatever books the kids chose was fine.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Hahaha…I just went to the library a ton over my school years..

    Librarian: so what are you going to be reading this summer?
    Me: Crime and Punishment, then War and Peace.
    Librarian: oh….well…that’s nice, have fun!

  • Mermaid Warrior

    I don’t know anything about Heather or her homeschooling methods. Some public schools are VERY ill-equipped to teach special needs students. If she was in such a situation, I could see why homeschooling might seem more appealing.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Eh, in my experience, most parents/adults don’t bother to check books for questionable content, even if they would do so for video games or movies. Growing up, I always thought it was kind of funny that coming-of-age novels found in my middle and high school libraries had pretty well detailed sex and masturbation scenes, all the while, people freak out about sexy dancing and skimpy outfits on MTV or whatever.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Me too! Hey, there are just so many books you can fit into a 1200 sq ft house… ;-D

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    My parents former home had a built in bookcase around the window in their bedroom full of – well, books of course – another bookshelf in the living room, followed by even more once my brother left for basic training with the Air Force and my parents turned his old bedroom into an office the same week. They had a policy that once we moved out we couldn’t move back in so we should make sure when we left that we really were certain about things. There wasn’t much to do that I was allowed to do growing up, but I’ve always loved to read and there were a few libraries close by to choose from. I spent so much time in my law school library just reading I was mistaken for someone who worked there more than a few times.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I love public libraries! *happy sigh*

    I also love well-designed built-in furniture, not only for it’s cool factor but because it reduces housekeeping. And that there’d be no places for my cat’s beloved rattle balls to get lost under furniture, but that’s another story. ;-D

  • Independent Thinker

    I don’t know how as a mom she would be able to provide her kids with a quality homeschooling education when she is constantly in and out of the hospital.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Yeah, that would probably be even worse than a lousy public school. Especially bad for younger kids who might not have the motivation or ability to learn on their own.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Yeah, what’s the point of homeschooling if the kids just watch videos all day?

  • I once saw a picture of a closet that had been transformed into a book nook and it looked BEAUTIFUL! All those shelves and a little nest to sit in to read them…

  • Saraquill

    I enjoy some public libraries. My time in library school makes me picky.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    It was an awesome built in bookcase, and its inspired me to do some remodeling – I’m saving up money to have my stairs switched from the current open style with the space between the risers to a solid type so I can have a built in shelving unit under the staircase. I still find the little cat toy balls under furniture, though my cat has been gone for a few months now. My pet-stuff-related concerns are the semi-moist rawhide chew bones that I always manage to step on with bare feet in the dark. They’re only semi-moist because my dog was just chewing on them, and likes to hide the partially consumed halfies and quarter-bit sections around the house in stash spots she finds convenient. I suppose it could be worse, she could have a problem with chewing on my shoes instead….but I lucked out and have a dog who is only interested in her rawhide bones which are basted with chicken or beef flavor when it comes to chewing. And chew them she does, VERY LOUDLY. I can hear her smacking and gnawing away at them as I’m typing while she’s on my couch.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I’m thinking closets should be designed out of homes! Built-in wardrobes are a more efficient use of space.

    http://www.impressivewardrobes.com.au/skin/frontend/default/impressive/images/cms_images/builtin_wardrobe_05.jpg

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “… I’m saving up money to have my stairs switched from the current open style with the space between the risers to a solid type so I can have a built in shelving unit under the staircase…”

    Have you considered designing pull-out units like these, except for books? You might be able to store a lot more books that way.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DUmX2CNHUSc/TjgomWun1hI/AAAAAAAAFcU/wOPX2mQfeho/s1600/stepstore.jpg

    *sigh* Except that they’d probably be a lot more expensive, wouldn’t they?

  • I’ve been thinking about your comment. OCD, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue lead to depression. It is not mental illness, but a very real host of diseases which are all part of the whole, in many ways. Quite often, both chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia seem to go hand in hand. They often lead to depression, not as mental illness, but because the person suffering from them cannot cope. Having lost nearly a year of my life to chronic fatigue, I would not classify it as mental illness. Sure, I pride myself on being ‘nuts’ but not in that way. Any debilitating illness can lead to depression. To classify it as mental illness is just plain wrong.

    Chemical depression, along with bipolar disorder run in my family. They are completely different ailments – and they are illnesses. The irony is the fact that they are ‘easier’ to treat than fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Either way, I have to change my stairs to a style like the one in the picture. My current stairs are open between each riser, I need that space closed in order to properly build anything underneath the staircase without it looking weird or messy even. But yeah, the pull out units are definitely more expensive, though I am planning to have something similar put in my kitchen to better use the vertical space I have along one wall currently occupied by cabinets above and below a stretch of countertop that for the time being could be used much better than it is now due to how it’s set up. Whoever designed the layout of my house was thinking “how can we fit as many units on this property as possible” not “How can the units we’re building on this property be designed to make them as functional and practical as possible”. Such is life.

  • Elise

    Dear SJ: please re-read my second sentence. I did not say her chronic illnesses lead to depression. Jenny listed depression among her many constant physical problems. She also lists OCD. That is classified by some as a mental illness. That is what I was referencing. One of OCD’s potential outlets can be hyper commitment to religious thoughts or practice. I think her long justification of God ‘using’ her suffering, and the suffering of her children, to make Himself perfect in her weakness should be evaluated in light of her OCD diagnosis.

    Jenny should be depressed. I am sure if her physical issues could be alleviated some of the depression would lift. In particular her fixation on the martyrdom of her health being for God’s glory needs divine healing and from there she can address the healing and alleviation of her many other illnesses.

    I suffer from only one chronic illness myself. It is depression also. And it can be very fatiguing. I have experience with what several down days in a row can do, that so much fatigue takes over. After using medication for several years I have worked out how to manage mine through diet, supplements, exercise and careful attention to other life factors. It is a chronic mental illness, given to me by my mother even though it is mild.

    Jenny, with the extremely false theology she has embraced, stands very little chance of physical, mental spiritual and emotional health until she can face the heresies she has been force fed in the past, is living now, and is passing onto her children.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Let’s not forget that some people have apparently decided NOT to believe that mitochondrial disease is real, even when diagnosed by a doctor in good standing at a reputable medical center.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/17/judge-orders-custody-justina-pelletier-returned-parents/mDWtuGURNawSuObO0pDX4J/story.html

  • BlueVibe

    This is (one of the many) lines of thinking that makes no sense to me. I have a B.A. (almost two B.A.’s, since I changed majors late; one in biology and one in history) from a very good college, and had a pretty well-rounded education in general thanks to my museum-hopping, book-addicted, Ph.D. parents, and I do not feel remotely qualified to teach a bunch of kids everything they need to know. I know there are academic disciplines in which I’m weak, and I don’t have any actual training in teaching (as in, how to convey whatever I know to somebody else). I probably wouldn’t be the biggest homeschooling disaster ever, but I would definitely not be a rousing success, especially if I were expected to do it on top of having a zillion kids and keeping house (even if all those kids helped. I have at least worked with kids enough to know that sometimes teaching and supervising them is more work than doing it yourself).

    How a philosophy that discourages education then expects women to turn around and perform it is so illogical it gives me a headache.

  • BlueVibe

    I could read the words, yes, but I definitely did not absorb the abstract meanings of what I was reading. Once again: Well-trained is not the same as educated.

  • Sorry, I’ve heard so many people state that the disease profile is primarily psychological, that I don’t have much patience. I’ve seen what the condemnation of psychological illness can do to a person – who is truly ill.

    I don’t think it is all about religion. Oh, it doesn’t help, but so many things are stressful. I’m at the breaking point dealing with my mother, my father’s sudden death, finances, details, and very little help. Stress breaks us.

    No insult intended.