Quiver Full by Default

Invariably, this birth control topic really opens a can of worms. It’s impossible to address just one aspect; there keeps occurring a new path, a different thought, and we must keep pushing to the ends of the unknown trails to be able to step away with a full, thoughtful conclusion.

The term “Quiver Full Movement” has been used a few times here, mostly in a derogatory way. I was thinking that, of course, “quiver full” came from the Bible. QF is not a movement at all. Mankind was born in QF default mode, if you will. I don’t imagine Adam and Eve were sitting over dinner wondering how many kids they were going to be able to afford. I know, I know. They were supposed to be “filling the earth”…of course they weren’t thinking about birth control.

So, when did the earth get full? I don’t envision any New Testament couples having BC conversations either. But that’s another trail.

So, my challenge to you is, do you think there even exists a real “movement” called QF? Or do you think it would be more accurate for us to distinguish the groups by a term like, “Birth Control Movement”…or “Child Limiting Movement”…or “No More for Me Movement”. (Don’t get mad, I’m just joking.)

But do you get my point? I’ve always found it interesting that women who do not generally practice birth control are the ones put in a class; “those people”…”those QF people”. I find that odd. Women whose bodies are doing what they were created to do have to explain why they aren’t taking a synthetic drug that alters its normal function? Does this not seem odd?

See, it’s not me standing in judgement of those who practice birth control. I have no desire to make people feel condemned or less spiritual. Please don’t think that!

I want us to operate from a crystal clear understanding. That’s why I dig into the subject.

Imagine a person walking up to you at the store and saying, “Oh my goodness! You’re having s*x with your husband just for pleasure? You are purposely preventing conception? Only two children? Do you not want any more?”

How offensive! But can I say this gently…that is more accurate than what so many who know the sting of being questioned about a larger than normal family is.

I find it a wee bit offensive to be labeled as part of a movement. I didn’t join some new regime of people who see how many babies they can have in a lifetime. I don’t belong to a group that teaches how to stop nursing so you can conceive again quickly (???) It’s no group at all. It’s just believing that the principles in Scripture point to a sovereign God–even over the womb. If that is not the path you follow, it is no condemnation from me. But I think the pro-birth control position would more suitably belong in the “explanation please” category, in the case people feel the need for explanation.

For centuries, couples have been pretty much having children every few years. Yeah people avoided certain times of the month, I’m sure, but the whole concept of just using birth control to stop after a child or two has been completely FOREIGN to the world until around the 1960’s. So why is that group now the normal group, and the other group is “cultish” and weird?

Someone has asked why I don’t believe the womb can be compared to a field with the applicable “Sabbath rest”. (Which, to restate, by all means, let a couple faced with a difficult health issue prayerful consider God’s leading!) But go back to Scriptures…why would God have asked couples to abstain after a monthly cycle for 13 days, and resume their relations on the 14th–THE most fertile day of the month? God went to great pains giving the Israelites specific instructions about the details of their lives. He told them how to handle mold, for crying out loud! Why would the Sabbath rest for the womb not be brought up among those instructions? Or maybe, here’s a thought, the Sabbath rest was already built into the nursing practices of women. Just asking you to think.

Am I missing something?

In the case someone feels offended by this post, I assure you I am not condemning anyone at ALL. I’m not enemies with people who use birth control! I realize in some recent posts, that it is automatically assumed that if I say I believe God’s best for His people is to accept the children He gives them, then I am condemning those who don’t.

Some people think it’s God’s best for us to exercise; but they’re not accused of being judgemental towards those who don’t…same thing with eating healthy, being in debt, the list could keep going. Do you understand what I’m saying? In fact, I’ve said before, I have a great deal of respect for people who just say, “I didn’t want anymore children because I like to go on vacations”…or whatever else. Honesty is great! NO…I’m not opposed to those who use birth control. I’m opposed to the notion that to NOT use it is weird and irresponsible.

My only reason for posting about what I believe about fertility is to challenge you to rethink it yourself…when I was using birth control, I had not given it a second thought. I as so glad I was challenged to question WHY I chose a certain practice.

36 Responses to “Quiver Full by Default”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Kelly,

    Thank you for being the strong, clear voice that you are! I followed a link to your blog recently, and am thrilled at your concise, tough responses to Molly and others. In the past I have tried to interact with these very same women whose beliefs are so very opposed to the clear Biblical teaching, but usually I get frustrated and walk away.

    I am so very grateful for your spirit! You have not backed down, not cowered and not once sinned in your responses to these women. You are level headed and clear in your reasoning, and succinct too! I love that!

    I will be praying for you, your writing here and your standing up for the Word of God and for Jesus our King! Bless you sister!

    A friend

  2. Kim M. says:

    This post makes so much sense.
    🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    Very well said; very good job tying up any “loose ends” that have been brought up in all the comments. You do present a different perspective to what many of us know or hear around us. Thanks for helping us look at it in a different way! We personally are not opposed to birth control (other than the pills that have already been discussed), but have had several children in several years and are rather appalled by the response of other Christians that maybe we have not acted wisely. What possible business is it of theirs? I love the point you bring up of turning the tables and questioning those who use birth control!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate your clear reasoning on this issue so much! I am a mother of a 16-month-old and a 5-week old, and I have already received so many comments- “Bet that one was an accident,” “Wow, you have your hands full,” “Are those ALL yours?” (Yes, even with only two!). It’s funny how these comments are so common-place, but it would seem so offenisive to say things like, “Why are your children so far apart? Did you have some miscarriages in there?” “I see you have no children– fertility problems?”
    We plan on leaving the number and the spacing completely up to God, and I know that our families just don’t understand. I feel like having them just read your blog. I wish I could word things so logically.

    ~Kellie

  5. Word Warrior says:

    It is a real comfort to me that those reading are confirming that the post is logical.

    In all the questions/comments/arguments, so many angles getting thrown at me at once, it felt so difficult to articulate what I wanted to say!

    Glad it’s making sense 😉

    P.S. I’m not done!

  6. Quinn says:

    Great post! Thank you for continuing to stand strong on this important issue. So many people would distance themselves the minute they were accused of being QF. It isn’t about being labeled by yourself or others as being part of a “movement”, it’s about obeying God’s law set forth in the Bible.

  7. Kristi says:

    Yes, this makes a lot of sense. And I did not grow up with this “quiverfull” mindset, it was totally a God thing that my husband and I were led to this decision a few years ago, after the birth of our first 2 children. We had no idea at the time there was an entire “movement” about it (roll eyes)….lol.

    Leaving our fertility up to God just feels natural and right, esp. given the command in Romans 12:1-2…my body isn’t really my own, and this seems like a wonderful and sacred way to offer myself unto God, to use as HE chooses.

    Thanks for what you do.

  8. Claire says:

    Oh, I know what you mean about not liking being put in a box or a ‘movement’ 🙂 And for the record – I absolutely, absolutely agree that most people are NOT thinking about more babies the way they should, and a lot of reasons for not having more children ARE pretty selfish (just speaking generally NOT with any individual situation in mind).

    On the other hand, though, I know that since I’ve been married nearly 2 years now with no babies, I get heartbreakingly rude comments about it, from people who barely know me. So… there are rude horrible busybodies out there, I think, and they’re not just after mothers of many, they go for us all! 😉

    I really, really hope this isn’t going down a rabbithole now, but one thing you mentioned about filling the earth has really got me thinking (feel free to ignore, I’m not saying it to nitpick, it just appeals to my inner historian!).

    Firstly, birth control is NOT an invention of the past 40 years. It has been greatly improved in that time, but humans have been trying to prevent conception for thousands of years, mostly through coitus interruptus, pessaries (an early form of spermicide) and barriers made of beeswax (condoms were invented in the 1600s). Now, this has NO bearing on whether or not it’s sinful, of course! And incidentally, there were of course dangerous abortifacients used also. But, it’s nothing new.

    What IS new, in that time, though, is the population of the earth. In 1800, or thereabouts, world population hit 1 billion. At the end of the Second World War, it was 2.5 billion. Today? Closing in on SEVEN billion. And this growth has come in the SAME TIME as the availability, for the first time, of reliable birth control! How’s that for a mind-bender?

    Then we take into account that also since WW2, we have gone from a world population that largely supports itself on local resources, to a greatly urbanised one which consumes resources from all over the earth. I know these arguments often come from unChristian sources, and condemn large families – that is TOTALLY not where I’m going with this! And people who do go down that route are wrong, wrong, wrong. But that said – we need to be aware, as Christians, of what is happening to the earth we’ve been entrusted with. WE are responsible for good stewardship here. Remember how the full verse goes!! “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth”

    Now, I am NOT NOT NOT saying that we need to cut back on children, or anything else! I am just saying, that the earth today is fuller than it has ever possibly been. And in this context, a couple with children MIGHT read the commandment “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” and think, ‘We’ve done that’.

    That said, I am very very aware that such arguments are regularly used to beat parents over the head, and I don’t want to do that at all. But just because world population is a rallying cry for atheists and liberals, doesn’t excuse Christians from grappling with it too.

  9. Word Warrior says:

    Claire,

    Great thoughts…look tomorrow for some interesting information on this!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Before you decide that the Earth is now “full”, you might want to check out what they say at the Demographic Winter website. (Just Google Demographic Winter). It’s pretty interesting.

  11. Claire says:

    I would be very interested in learning more about Demographic Winter. To be honest, it hit a few sensitive spots for me – specifically, the way it’s concerned with low birth rates in the First World and high ones in the Third World. This is a big, big issue for us in Europe at the moment – and a lot of unpleasant people over here are essentially bemoaning the fact that black people are having more babies than white people are.

    I hope ‘Demographic Winter’ isn’t in that vein. The issue of the earth’s resources, for a start, is complicated in the way that a baby born in Tanzania (where I lived for many years) will make a tiny impact on the world’s resources – if he lives at all. First world babies have an impact some twenty times greater than that (and again, I am NOT NOT saying this as a argument to have no children – I’m just saying that it’s a fact, and a fact that we MUST, as Christians charged with looking after the Earth God has given us dominion over, look at very carefully).

    A lot of the rhetoric here in Europe focuses on how more and more babies being born are a) not white (as if that matters!!!) and b) Muslim. Usually, the evidence used for such suppositions is shaky and relies on spurious assertions (headlines like ‘60% of babies will be non-white by 2050’ are sadly widespread in the tabloid media, despite being totally untrue). I get worried anyway by an approach to these other babies that says ‘Hey, their parents are Muslim. Obviously, they’re our total enemies! Quick, let’s outbreed them, because every white European baby is going to be a Christian’ instead of ‘Hey, we Christians have a mission field right in our back garden! How can we start getting Jesus to these people?’.

    Anyway, I am reacting more to the years of nasty, misleading, and borderline-racist commentary that’s on the up over here. I really hope ‘Demographic Winter’ is NOT in this vein. Looking forward to more information!

  12. Catherine R. says:

    I feel like I am just a cheerleader for you but so be it! This is a very articulate post.

    The birth control mindset IS the default. There ARE no other options presented to the average person growing up in this culture. That means the vast majority of people. I am so encouraged by you discussing the topics of “being able to afford them”/ debt, and all the garbage that goes along with that. I have to fight that mindset off every day. Am I not allowed to get married because I made a past mistake and got into debt that I regret? Am I not allowed to have a child with my husband because we are in a low-income bracket? According to the culture, I am immoral for getting pregnant.

    Keep writing, sister. I won’t get sick of being encouraged!

  13. The Savage says:

    Labels are funny things. Sometimes they fit even though we don’t look like we’re wearing them.

    FWIW, there is an “official” QuiverFull movement. I only ran into it a couple of years ago, but it can be found here. Apparently it sprang up as a result of folks reading Rick & Jan Hess’s book A Full Quiver and probably other books like it.

    Silly me, when I first heard the term “quiverfull” I assumed it just meant actively acknowledging God’s control of one’s womb. (But then we didn’t need birth “control” anyway because it was 7+ years before our first child came along.) I had no idea there was a blog roll for QF’ers… (there is).

  14. Word Warrior says:

    The Savage,

    I think you may have missed my point…I’m fully aware of websites, magazines, books, etc. that are termed “Quiver Full”…my point though, was that regardless of people labeling themselves, the IDEA of being quiver full is from Scripture, and is not a new concept.

    The “movement” is rather a going back to the basic design of the reproductive system. It is nothing more than refusing the standard notion that we are *supposed* to be preventing children. THAT is actually the “movement”…it’s never been commonly accepted until recently.

  15. The Savage says:

    Um… ???

    If this is true: Or maybe, here’s a thought, the Sabbath rest was already built into the nursing practices of women. Just asking you to think.

    then can this also be true?? refusing the standard notion that we are *supposed* to be preventing children. THAT is actually the “movement”…it’s never been commonly accepted until recently.

    I happen to agree that the Scriptures support the normalcy of married women bearing children (even many children) during their child-bearing years.

    I guess what I am now failing to understand from your post (and response to my previous comment) is how this “modern” QF movement is a new thing? A biblical approach to “letting God have control of the womb” is certainly not unique to this generation of believing women.

    On the other hand, what some who don’t agree would term “militant fecundity”… um… yea. I *am* seeing that as new. Asking if it’s OK to circumvent God’s rest period by not nursing my children for as long as they want–when it’s for the purpose of regaining fertility ASAP postpartum… I don’t see it. Scripture just does not go there. Should we??

    No, I’m not saying you advocate preemptive-ly shortening nursing. But in this QF movement–that you seem unwilling to call a movement on one hand but seem to be saying “well, it’s about time” to on the other hand–there *are* those who espouse this view.

    Some who call *themselves* QF (NOT those who are disparagingly labeled as QF) do espouse it. That’s all I’m saying.

  16. Word Warrior says:

    The Savage,

    Oh…I see where the confusion is.

    There are (as reported by you and others) a group of people who call themselves “Quiver Full” who, perhaps do circumvent nursing to get preganant faster.

    I am not in that group.

    Then, there are people who call themselves “QF” simply as a quick way to communicate that they believe in God’s sovereignty over the womb.

    Then there are those who believe in God’s sovereignty over the womb who do not *call* themselves anything at all! (I’m in this group!) BUT, opponents would classify anyone who does not use bc as QF.

    So that’s why I’m struggling…I don’t want to be lumped with any “group” who may have practices outside the biblical context of reproduction. But I am inadvertently called “QF” by opponents.

    While I want to make that distinction, I want to emphasize that “being QF minded” (not claiming to be part of a group), is, as I think you agree, a biblical concept–not a new one.

    Hope that made sense!

  17. The Savage says:

    Kelly,

    Yes!! (That makes perfect sense!)

    Sorry it's taken me a bit to get back here. Life. LOL But yes, I think your last comment was well put. I told my husband after my previous comments that I felt like we were talking past each other.

    Like you were wanting to reject the pejorative application of the QF term without rejecting the Biblical ideas behind the concept of allowing God control over the womb, but in the process denying an organized modern QF "movement." All 3 parts of which you just neatly separated & outlined! 🙂

    The "label" QF would probably fit me well (in that we don't use bc, but then there's no need. My womb was quite firmly shut the first 7 years we were married, thankyouverymuch!)

    And there are women that proudly wear the "QF" label that *are* balanced, biblical, and striving to be content–whatever the state of their wombs. Those women I admire, self-proclaimed label and all.

    BUT, I don't intend to use the QF label for myself either. I've just run into too many women who use their QF beliefs as "the" standard by which all other believing women shall be measured. I think that's taking liberties I ought not to take–smacks of setting myself up as another's conscience.

    So anyway, I've appreciated hearing you reiterate that you're not one of "those" women. 😉 I suspect I could have done less talking past you if I'd had more sleep between my first two comments. *grins*

    Grace & Peace!

  18. Anonymous says:

    It is not people with large families that are picked on by rude people. We were not able to have children for many years, and we got so sick of, “Why don’t you have any children?”, as if any of this is anybody’s business. Speaking of Europe’s birth rate, we were stationed in Germany once and were astonished at the low birth rate in that country. We were told by Germans that after WWII, there was an unofficial “movement” among Germans to have small families, or no children at all, so that never again could Germany be able to raise up an army and wage war. Seems the memory of two world wars in which their population was decimated and their country ruined was very fresh and frightening. I thought that was interesting.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Kelly,
    What advice would you give a woman who wants a “full quiver” but her husband is not in agreement? My heart breaks. Thank you in advance.

  20. Word Warrior says:

    I’m so sorry you’re in this dilemma. I would say first, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. The fervent, effectual prayers of a righteous man (or woman) avails much.

    Secondly, I would appeal respectfully, stating your desire.

    Then, I would respectfully ask your husband if he would be willing to read and study the subject, be open to changing his mind, and be willing to ask the Lord for guidance.

    Others may disagree with my approach, and I am open to guidance.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Kelly. Your advice is parallel to that of another godly woman who addressed this same issue. I think it is the right way. The problem is, I need (want) something more tangible. I want to know what will happen… if, when, how long will I have to wait? Will I get my full quiver? I am trying to discern the best timing/approach for the appeal… thank you.

  22. David says:

    Just a thought here….if couples that are of the QF beliefs are supporting all of their children themselves, that is without relying on the government for basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter, then I don’t have an issue with it. Had I gotten married at a younger age I would have loved to have more children myself.
    My issue with some in the QF movement is that they expect the rest of society to pay for the raising of their children in the form of food stamps, free school lunches and so on. This flies in the face of biblical principles that “if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat”.
    How do you balance this type of behavior with those that say they are just doing what comes naturally and allowing God to decide how many children they should have?
    By the way I have friends that do have very large families and I love them dearly so I am not opposed to the large family concept.

    • Word Warrior says:

      David,

      “My issue with some in the QF movement is that they expect the rest of society to pay for the raising of their children in the form of food stamps, free school lunches and so on.”

      I just don’t this. I don’t know of one family who depends on gov. support–not that there aren’t any, but most understand that this is not a bibilcal principal.

  23. ginny says:

    I just have a crazy question, where in the scriptures does it say to abstain for 13 days after a womans period? I’ve never heard of this and I’m intrigued.

    • Kelly says:

      OT law…”When she is cleansed from her discharge, she must count off seven days, and after that she will be ceremonially clean.” Leviticus 15:28

  24. KM says:

    I dont think its fair to assume that every Christian should fall into the “quiverfull” category. I myself have three children. I had my tubes tied after my third. I prayed about it and felt complete peace with our decision. My lasts name is Emma which means “whole, complete.” That is exactly what I felt when she was born. Like our family was complete. I didnt even know the meaning of her name until a few months ago and shes just turned 2! I just like the name. All of you get tired of hearing “are you done?” I get tired of hearing “your a sinner because your not having anymore.” My husband and I felt this was the right decision for us.

  25. Jennifer says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for this post!! I LOVE this! Could I ask you two questions? What about people with medical conditions? I have a friend who has had three c-sections. Because of where we live, no one will do a VBAC on her (once you’ve had 2 c-sections, you have to do any other pregnancies that way). She and her husband would be open to more biological children if that wasn’t the case, however her husband feels that for her health, they should adopt if they want more children.

    On a similar note, if a young mother is struggling with having many young ones (I’m thinking of my grandmother, who had 5 children in 5 years), how would you advise her if she felt she “needed a break?” Would you say that it is permissible to abstain during the fertile period each month to give her body rest and prevent pregnancy naturally?

    I’m so glad that you wrote on this subject. Like many young Christians, my husband and I were on birth control for years until the Lord convicted us about the sinfulness of the pill. We have a little girl (and another on the way!), and just the other night my husband said to me, “You know, we don’t have a number,” meaning that we aren’t ever planning on being “done” and saying, “okay, we have enough.” Such a blessing to this mama’s heart! Anyway, it troubles me greatly that so many couples and families in the Christian community blindly take the pill and limit their family size to 2-3 children because that’s what “they want.” I recently heard a sermon online that suggested, “have as many kids as you can handle.” So sad! Blessings on you and your lovely family! 🙂

  26. Rachel says:

    Delightful post!

    My husband and I stopped using BC for entirely secular reasons. The decision just happened to coincide with our religious doctrine as we became more religious.

    The main thing for me was that I kept trying to think of what “my number” was. Initially, I thought 4 kids sounded good. My test for that was, what if I had four and then found out I was expecting another or #4 turned out to be twins? Would I be disappointed? And the answer was no. That sounded wonderful to me. So maybe “my number” was 5? Well, I couldn’t imagine being disappointed if a #6 showed up as well, so 5 probably wasn’t my number. In other words, I couldn’t imagine looking at a child of mine and saying, “no, I don’t want any more like you.” In fact, I couldn’t imagine saying that of any child.

    On top of that, it seemed pointless to go back on BC between pregnancies. We planned to let nature take it’s course until we were done–hence the question of when we would be done. But after #1, we did use BC again, for various reasons, and it wreaked havoc on our marriage.

    No more BC for us! And we’re so much happier for it!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Rachel,

      You know your simple conclusion is exactly what I’ve come to feel–I don’t want to “miss” a child God would send me. If I ever think, “OK, we’re done”…it feels so odd to say that. If God sent me another baby, then we aren’t done 😉

    • Jennifer says:

      I quit my own BC because it turned me into someone who hated everything she seemed to produce. I may turn against it forever, completely, all brands, in the future.

  27. Suzanne says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, thought-provoking posts!! I have 2 children and am so thankful for them! But, sadly I have to admit, that thoughts of financial woes, stretched patience or maybe even thinking I “couldn’t handle more kids” contributed to me making a knee-jerk choice of having IUD inserted (several years ago) As I have grown in my relationship with Christ and His word, I have been increasingly uncomfortable with birth control. Yet, I have allowed fear/not trusting the Lord to trump making the right decision. Well, after reading several of your posts, the Lord has clearly spoken, and confirmed what I already knew. I am calling today to schedule a removal of my IUD. God bless you, sister!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Wow–Suzanne, I have a huge smile on my face 😉 May God grant you abundant peace as you walk in faith.

      We listened this morning to “The Pineapple Story” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYM-4mGYzzE)…if you haven’t heard this story from a missionary, you should listen today and let your kids listen. It was such a confirmation about our “clinging” to things that don’t belong to us. It made me think of my fertility and how “God takes care of His stuff better than we can” when we do give it to Him. We have found Him MORE than capable of taking care of *His* children, once we gave it over to Him. I think you will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

      • Suzanne says:

        Thank you for your encouragement and I will definately watch it with the kids!! May God continue to bless YOU and your family as you walk in obedience! Love and Joy in Jesus, Suzanne

  28. Suzanne P says:

    Thanks for this post!

    BC seemed like the right decision for my husband and I, but as the days go on I’ve started to become uncomfortable with hormonal BC. I’m off of it now and trying to get everything sorted out as I make the transition.

    Blogs like yours have encouraged me so much. My husband and I wouldn’t mind a large family running around the place. 🙂

  29. Jj says:

    Ask yourself something else: why recreational intercourse? You should have sex for its intended purpose.

    Maybe the default is not to have sex until you want a child, and then it’s none of this “let a god choose size of family” nonsense. It’s people taking responsibly for their choices. If your choice of lots of kids is morally right, then why make excuses by saying it was the will of the fsm? Really think.

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