Monday, January 25, 2016

The Pressure to Procrreate (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.

In your initial email you mention that you've never been able to carry a pregnancy beyond eight weeks. Have you heard of women being shunned from QF for a similar reason? If a woman is made to believe her entire purpose is to procreate, where does that leave those who cannot?

Response Part One:

Evangelical churches seem to fall on a continuum of acceptance of the QF/P ideal. For example, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) which boasts some 16 million members follows a ratified patriarchal doctrine, but while advocating the same ideals as homeschooling, large families, early marriage, and stay at home wives and mothers, they reject the QF/P label. I would place the SBC near the center of that continuum, with some individual churches falling closer to the hard end of QF/P. The SBC does at least make an effort to embrace single women and those who are childless, but those messages seem to many to be rather forced and contradictory.

I attended a cultic church that held to a standard much like that of the SBC, and though I was not formally shunned, most same-aged peers held me at arms length. I’d chosen to keep news of my last pregnancy private until I’d made it to the second trimester, and within a month after the miscarriage which I also kept private, I was lectured by my pastor’s wife about my need to get serious about starting a family. (I said nothing but wept later.) The pastor’s wife also broached the subject of contraception quite boldly with me as well.

A few years later, when pressured about having children by someone I had just met, I mused later about the possible necessity of carrying medical records with me to find acceptance with same-aged peers. In a desperate attempt to gracefully cease the discussion, I told this stranger that my husband and I had both suffered with from some catastrophic health problems that past year making any recent attempts at conceiving impossible. 

Rather than an expression of concern for our health or the difficulty of maintaining gainful employment, this audacious individual began asking questions about why we had not pursued adoption. I was never formally questioned or formally shunned in any church, but I endured constant discrimination until I approached my mid-forties and also stopped attending evangelical churches. I do visit evangelical churches, but I am still questioned about why I allegedly “chose” against starting a family. Notably, however, no one ever said a word to my husband about why we had no children.

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