Saturday, January 23, 2016

Changing Standards in Family Size (QF: The View from Here)

This series of posts results includes excerpts from information shared with a journalist in August of 2015 who had questions about the Quiverfull Movement as it related to the Duggar Family.

Find the Index of all posts HERE.

What changes did you see among the many peers that did join QF? How did their personalities, dress, happiness levels et cetera alter?

Response Part One:

The changes that I saw were gradual. The first church that I attended in the early Nineties started out by considering themselves supportive of family and the pro-life effort, but the unspoken expectation for family size seemed to be capped off at five children. As homeschooling moms who were influenced by the QF/P movement started having more children, it created tension among those who were not adherents. 

A dear friend of mine was actually summoned to a meeting with the pastor’s wife and a friend to discuss her weight problem and a new pregnancy which would have produced baby number five for her. (I asked her after the meeting if she was expected to get an abortion! What would have been the point, considering that she was already pregnant?) Both her weight and the pregnancy were seen as recklessness, and I was brokenhearted when she lost that baby in a miscarriage a few days after that lecture. But within a few years, the standard number of ideal family size grew to exceed five. I believe most church members there now have, on average, about eight children.

I did see a notable change in many mothers as their family size increased, especially when numbers of babies came rapidly. In the beginning of their experience, they could manage three or four children well. The first round of children were well educated, but those babies that came later and in closer succession seemed to be casualties of fatigue. 

I remember one mother announcing to me with joy that her daughter magically learned a particular subject because a sibling had taught them, and it was almost a point of pride instead of a symptom of overwhelm and what some might see as educational neglect. And I’ve talked with several older siblings who felt survivor guilt when they left their homes for college because they knew that those they left behind would not enjoy the advantages that they did when their parents were younger and more excited about homeschooling.

~ Cynthia Kunsman
The view of Quiverfull from my vantage
August 2015