A couple of days ago there was an article in the Duggar family mouthpiece, People magazine, announcing another impending Duggar birth. Josiah and Lauren Duggar are five or six months pregnant with a baby after a miscarriage.
They sensibly waited until well past most chance of miscarriage before announcing the pregnancy to the public. I wish them well, Hoping everything goes well with the birth and subsequent pregnancies.
Why? Because one horrible thing about following the Duggar’s Quiverfull theology is what happens when you are either unable to conceive a child, or if you have more than one miscarriage. Eventually you, as the woman, are blamed for this lack of fecundity.
This is one of those things in Quiverfull that is hidden, that we must talk about. I’ve listened to the stories of the many women out there with fertility struggles in Quiverfull. They’ve been made to feel less that, treated like the lowest of creatures, or openly blamed for what happened.
It might not be overt. It could be as simple as someone from your church sidling up next to you to whisper in your ear that you drinking coffee, or soda, or exercising, or doing literally anything caused your miscarriage. The implication being that it’s all your fault.
Or perhaps someone refers to you out of your hearing as their ‘heathen’ friend for having a few or no children. Even if you’re a member of that same church, believing the same thing as they do, doing all the exact same things as them but unable to have a child.
One of the worst reactions is when someone comes up with their idea that you have no children or have had a miscarriage because there is unconfessed sin in your life. Likely you will not hear this one until you’ve had a long stretch of infertility or multiple miscarriages. It starts as a hateful whisper going around your group before someone decides to ‘speak the truth in love’ about your possible imaginary sin problem.
Here’s the problem with all of it. It’s not you, no matter how much those in Quiverfull try to blame you for the lack of multiple children. You aren’t being punished, it’s not because you drink coffee or use the wrong facewash.
Miscarriage is surprisingly common. The numbers show that it happens, and sometimes there are no reasons anyone can find. It’s not sin, or punishment. It just happens.
Which makes many of the new anti abortion laws so frightening. Many of these laws are trying to add in laws criminalizing miscarriage. There is a push to add into the law the idea that if it is determined you did something wrong and they determined it may have caused the miscarriage you might be prosecuted. So far this has not come about, but it is being discussed as an option by the pro life people.
Adding to the pain of people who desperately want children by blaming them for their lack of childbearing is just sick.
The Duggars seem to be extraordinarily fecund, but what happens when someone in their group suffers miscarriage after miscarriage, or when no amount of attempting to have a baby succeeds? Will they say some of the more ugly things listed above, or will they shrug and figure it’s not their business. This is one of the problems with constructing your entire theology around a biological process that not everyone can do.
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