Quiverfull Motherhood Burnout – When Your Theology Has a Body Count

Quiverfull Motherhood Burnout – When Your Theology Has a Body Count December 13, 2019

Over the last few days Lori Alexander of The Transformed Wife has been promoting one of the more dangerous pieces of Quiverfull mythology, that mothers never need breaks ever. That motherhood is the most joyous fulfilling role a woman can take, that it should leave you happy and smiling without needs, and if you aren’t happy you are in sin.

She is hardly the only one promoting this idea. How many times now has Nancy Campbell pushed her no negative thoughts or emotions allowed but you better be homeschooling, gardening, setting your table joyously with fine china?

Debi Pearl’s version of this is actually much darker. She teaches to be joyful with zero money and animal feed because Jesus.

Was I asleep during the times I read the words and actions of Jesus? He seemed prone to hang out with women and to understand that people aren’t happy-slappy grinning joyous all the time. Jesus seems to be fine with people honestly being where they are at any given moment. He had more of a problem with religious hypocrites.

I was having almost flashbacks yesterday reading through the piles of ‘No breaks ever!’ words posted by many, a flashback to the early 90s when my kids were young. I had a day  where in the five minutes it took me to answer the door and deal with the visitors my year old daughter had smeared herself, the walls, the furniture and everything else with Desitin and her four year old brother had spilled a bottle of olive oil on the kitchen floor. I had a mess to clear up, I did, got the kids bathed and down for a nap. My husband came home early that day around 3 pm once everything was done, only to find me in soaking in a bubble bath, weeping and drinking a glass of wine while the kids napped. My husband was smart enough to send me away for a few hours break while he dealt with the kids.

This is not unusual. This was hardly the first time, or the last time I needed a time-out, a break. This is motherhood. Not that false smiling face of a person so tightly repressing their own needs that eventually they crack up.

Look at the victims of this very theology, the most famous one being Andrea Yates, the Quiverfull mom with post partum problems that ended up drowning all five of her children. Most of the mainstream media completely dropped the ball on the fact that Andrea and her husband Rusty were Quiverfull and Rusty had been told that for Andrea to have another child would destroy her mental health.

In Quiverfull you trust God to work out all these bad things for the glory of the Lord. You ignore all common sense, you ignore medical reports and diagnosis, and whatever happens you say it was “God’s will”, even if it can be traced back to your own stupidity.

Andrea is hardly the only Quiverfull mother to snap. Our archives here are filled with the testimony of mothers who’ve lost it in some way, including a few others who killed or killed themselves in order to escape the mounting pressures with no release.

This. This is why it is healthy and important for mothers to take breaks when they need it, not listen when dried up old ladies who are self-appointed experts tell them to ignore their own well being. Taking a few moments to oneself gives you the refreshing you need to leap back in the fray to wipe up the Desitin and not flip out.

How about we simply ignore the words of those who had nannies, tutors, maids still trying to shame us for having needs and do what works for each of us individually. Plus support each other in those choices. Stand up for our sisters to take a five minute break to sit quietly at the park, or whatever works to relax them. It’s a lot closer to what Jesus said than telling someone not to have needs.

I was going to flood this posting with photos of the awful commenters and Lori Alexander’s remarks, but I don’t want to give her more opportunity to claim martyrdom. I’m leaving you with this, a photo of horses that know they need relaxation too without anyone ordering it, and this other answer to Lori’s post from another blog I’ve been following – The Emancipated Wife.

While I was writing this Lori Alexander posted another shaming and blaming mothers and wives post about women not neglecting their husbands for the children. So now we’re supposed to be with our children twenty four hours a day seven days a week AND be completely available for the husband, look like a porn star and do everything. For giggles Lori puts in a  very white supremacy type statement as well as blaming the wife.

Lori is also radio silent on Facebook today. Looks like another Facebook jail episode for her.

ETA: Back in 2014 Lori gave some good ideas on how to get that needed break time while being a mother. She wasn’t always opposed to breaks. From her old blog

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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