Why Do Stories in Quiverfull Always Seem to be so Inflated?

Why Do Stories in Quiverfull Always Seem to be so Inflated? August 2, 2020

Jill playing the banjo in front of her miscarriage wall. The whole thing is sad and pathetic.

This one is a two for one. This was written some years back by Jill Rodrigues of Rodrigues Family Ministries and that recent hot mess of a wedding. It was published by Quiverfull leader Nancy Campbell’s Above Rubies magazine. It illustrates an important thing I have noticed not just in the assorted writings of Jill Rodrigues, but almost across the board in this subculture. The inflation of events post event to strangely mythical proportions.

While miscarriage is horribly sad, some of this tale is impossible from a basic biology standpoint. It’s almost as if the entire thing was written by a middle schooler with dramatic tendencies. Add in that we’re not entirely sure what the main point of her story is beyond ‘Have unlimited babies no matter what your brain, finances, body, and mental health are saying’

“I was 18 years old when we married and we were excited that I conceived right away. However, a couple of months later, I had a severe miscarriage. Grief and tears flowed heavily as we experienced what it was to lose an unborn child.”

Wow. What exactly is a ‘Severe’ miscarriage? They are all bad. No one enjoys them. Tears and tragedy. I suspect this was because she was a very sheltered 18 year old girl who failed at the very thing she’d been taught since childhood was her primary purpose in this world. To reproduce.

Then they had children. SEVERELY MIRACULOUS children that made them cry tears of joy. Then this:

However, with practically five babies in the house and my husband working long hours, the work on my shoulders was immense. I didn’t normally mind the “challenge” of it all. However, one Christmas we packed our bags to visit family. I remember rising from the spare room’s bed to wash, dress, and care for all the children before we went out to the kitchen for breakfast. The children had been battling the flu and I was also feeling lousy! My whole body ached and the sick children were cranky. I felt like collapsing onto the bed, but duty called. I had five children that needed help unwrapping gifts and messes to be cleaned up, etc.

By the time I fell into bed that night, my husband and I looked at each other and had a heart-felt talk. Could we both go on having MORE and MORE children? We convinced ourselves that five children WAS enough despite our original plan to have as many as God wanted us to have. We began the short journey for a couple of months to do natural ways of preventing me from becoming pregnant.

This sounds absolutely perfectly normal from here. We all know and will admit there are days and season in motherhood when you have a tribe of littles where it is not entirely sunshine and roses. It’s okay to admit that, no matter what Quiverfull says. It’s even okay to step off the merry-go-round of constant pregnancies and take care of yourself for some years.

The Rods didn’t stick with it long at all. She had nine kids in nine years. Then the string of miscarriages started. Jill claims in this piece to have had five, not the four I have seen claimed elsewhere. Who knows.

“At that time, God called my husband into full-time ministry. I remember the day that we were officially going into the ministry. I was outside doing yard work and all of the sudden felt a “P-O-P!” I never babied myself very much during pregnancy and did not think much of it. However, I went inside to the bathroom, wiped, and saw blood! Oh No! I panicked and called my husband right away.”

Except for that ‘Pop’ this sounds pretty normal, but now we take a hard left turn into “Photos or it never happened” territory.

“He came home and we called our mid-wife. We went to the hospital the next day to see on a sonogram a perfect 12 week old baby with NO heart-beat! We chose to have the pending miscarriage naturally at home. We waited a couple of days and I went on with my mothering duties and piano recitals, etc. I cried and waited some more. Finally, the intense bleeding and miscarriage began and my husband rushed home. I bled heavily, like a faucet, for hours! After losing another huge surge of blood, I passed out. I remember my husband calling my name, but I was too weak to open my eyes or respond. He quickly called the mid-wife and 911.”

Doctors really do not usually let you languish at home for days and days on end with a miscarriage. Usually after a day or so they want you to get a quick D&C to reduce the risk of infection. I am guessing she went AMA (against medical advice) here.

Bleeding like a faucet? Passing out? Unlikely. You’d completely bleed out in a matter of minutes were the bleeding that severe.

“The ambulance came and rushed me to hospital where they continued to let me hemorrhage for another eight hours.”

Again, extremely unlikely. What likely happened, was what happened after my 9th miscarriage three months later. Bleeding like a stuck pig, go to the hospital and meet our gyno there who tells me I need a third D&C in three months that morning at 8 am. He’ll do it at the end of the day after seeing his full load of maternity patients. I stayed admitted to the outpatient surgery center until he arrived at 4 pm to do the procedure. I was carefully monitored for blood loss all day, and medicated by the nursing staff. I’d been told if it became critical I would be whisked to the OR and the surgeon on duty would take appropriate action. This is likely what happened, not lying in a hospital bleeding like a hole in Dracula’s stomach.

“I passed in and out and they offered me blood transfusions. I refused at first, but slowly grew weaker and whiter. I was so weak I could hardly move. I KNEW something had to be done. They finally called the doctor and rushed me in for an emergency D&C. The reason for all my bleeding was that part of my placenta was stuck in utero. I lost over 60 percent of my blood so they administered four units of blood through transfusion and wanted to give me a fifth, but I refused. I was still weak, but knew that I would live, praise God!”

Shakes head. Not even remotely possible of a story. If, if this was true she’d have one heck of a medical mistake lawsuit. If you lose between a third and a half of your blood volume you go into shock and die. It’s a state incompatible with life. No amount of transfusions brings you back from that type of catastrophic loss.

This is all followed by more miscarriages and more births. She keeps talking of all the nasty naysayers that told them to give it up and stop trying to actively have children.

“FIVE miscarriages! Why was this happening to me? I had so many questions. We had given our ALL to God and it felt like we were being punished. I examined my heart and found a LOT of pride. I was “Super-Woman” who could “do it all” and boast to others of how many children I had! I fell to my knees and begged for forgiveness. I was reminded of how many women cannot even have children! “Oh, Lord, please cleanse me of pride and self-will. Help me remember that this is not only a journey of accepting healthy babies into our home, but also trusting You in times of loss!”

It’s pretty clear just reading this that Jill likely has maturity issues and a whopping case of PTSD from the life she’s lived that she prefers to explain as “God”. I don’t know, I don’t think God wants you to suffer. This is sad self inflicted wounds causing her to suffer. I hate that this theology even exists.

“We now have eleven healthy children (seven girls and four boys) on this earth and we eagerly await meeting in Heaven someday the five we lost.”

Look, I know we cannot tell other people how to grieve, or even in what time frame. As much as I have gently mocked the miscarriage wall if it helps Jill deal with her pain so be it. A miscarriage does bring with it pain, grief, disappointment and a host of other negative things. But this is another time when good mental health resources can help.

I personally believe that a lot of the conflated stories involving tragedies and life in Quiverfull are the result of having no healthy emotional outlets to process things like grieve and failure. Having back to back to back pregnancies is hard on your body and your mind before adding in a theology that automatically blames women for anything going wrong ever.

You just end up living in a weird martyrdom and hero for having oodles of kids space that’s not emotionally healthy for anyone involved. These people make me so sad. There are so many more things we could talk about here, the issues of young women marrying older men, men using militant fecundity to trap their wives into not leaving, voluntary poverty, mental illness, but this is already too long.


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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 34 years You can read more about the author here.

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