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Quiverfull and Women's Health


GenerationCedarchip

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I know we have had discussions before about how many women have had health issues related to having too many children too close together. However, I was visiting family this weekend and an encounter I had at my aunt's house with a bunch of folks from my old fundie church brought up something I hadn't considered before. This was a "women's night out" dinner, and most of the people there were either friends of my mom and aunts, or women I'd grown up with. There were a few that had joined the church after I left as well. There was one young women among the newer group who just looked sickly. Her skin color was off, and she just seemed to be very uncomfortable physically.  During a time of prayer requests, she and several others brought up "fertility concerns" and I noticed her facial expression then, kind of an odd "I know something you don't" smile.

Afterward, one of my cousins told me that she and several other young wives ate little and exercised like crazy to keep their cycle dormant so that they wouldn't have too  many babies too soon.  That just seemed so sad to me. I do to a certain extent understand the folks who just want to leave it up to God and NFP, but the mentality that makes women feel like they either have to have a baby each year or make themselves physically ill preventing it while pretending to aggressively try for a baby just bothers me.

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5 minutes ago, GenerationCedarchip said:

Afterward, one of my cousins told me that she and several other young wives ate little and exercised like crazy to keep their cycle dormant so that they wouldn't have too  many babies too soon.  That just seemed so sad to me. I do to a certain extent understand the folks who just want to leave it up to God and NFP, but the mentality that makes women feel like they either have to have a baby each year or make themselves physically ill preventing it while pretending to aggressively try for a baby just bothers me.

This also makes you wonder where they consider the line of demarcation to be between "leaving it up to God's will" and "birth control".

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That's horrifying. Not to mention what happens if they do get pregant? Do they attempt to starve themselves further into a spontaneous abortion? Or do they then attempt to properly nourish the fetus? The second choice seems especially sketchy since their goal is to have an irregular period, so they likely wouldn't know until at least 2-3 months in, and at that point they're all kinds of deficient nutritionally. I hope they're up to the task of special needs children, because they'll likely have some, spina bifida, anyone? I'm so confused by these "follow the letter of the law" religious types. No, you're not using BC, but you are actively trying to not have children, or cause your body to abort should you conceive, just use a damn condom. Why would God want you to physically destroy your body? It's like the women who are supposed to have their heads covered so they wear a wig. I don't think that's really the point, guys.

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2 hours ago, GenerationCedarchip said:

Afterward, one of my cousins told me that she and several other young wives ate little and exercised like crazy to keep their cycle dormant so that they wouldn't have too  many babies too soon.  That just seemed so sad to me. I do to a certain extent understand the folks who just want to leave it up to God and NFP, but the mentality that makes women feel like they either have to have a baby each year or make themselves physically ill preventing it while pretending to aggressively try for a baby just bothers me.

That's so dangerous and scary. It sounds like something out of an article about the dicey (read: Lysol) methods women used to avoid conception before the Pill, or to have abortions before Roe vs. Wade. 

Also, self-starvation to create amenorrhea is basically an unhealthy, unsafe way to create the same effects as birth control pills or IUDs, right? Sure, they're not consulting with a secular doctor to get contraception by name, but they're trying to mimic its effects at home. Does intent just not matter? Is it just about keeping up appearances while still limiting family size? 

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That sounds absolutely horrifying.

On a similar note though, why do so many of these women seem to struggle with getting NFP down? I know cycles can be irregular and all, but I would think you could get some semblance of when you're most fertile. I know several women who do it successfully and have 2-3 children as a result.

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I have heard some religious women who question the notion that a regular period is what we are intended to have and that in the "old days" most women would not menstruate every month and this is something to strive for and that we have turned "over-fertile" due to better nutrition. Given that I have several relatives that had 12+ kids I seriously doubt they didn't have a normal cycle but I do know they used nursing as a way to space their children, I have heard stories of my grandfather's youngest brother breastfeeding until he was 8 for example and that women in general once they had 4-5 children tried to keep breastfeeding as long as possible. The older a woman is the more likely she is to be without a period after pregnancy if she breastfeeds and some are without periods for as long as they breastfeed. 

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3 minutes ago, FundiesInParis said:

That sounds absolutely horrifying.

On a similar note though, why do so many of these women seem to struggle with getting NFP down? I know cycles can be irregular and all, but I would think you could get some semblance of when you're most fertile. I know several women who do it successfully and have 2-3 children as a result.

But if you're supposed to submit to your man's desires, it doesn't matter if you're using NFP.  Husband wants it, you give it. 

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1 minute ago, Hellogorgeous said:

But if you're supposed to submit to your man's desires, it doesn't matter if you're using NFP.  Husband wants it, you give it. 

Good point, these guys are always way more terrible than what I ever seem to remember them as..

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17 minutes ago, elliha said:

I have heard some religious women who question the notion that a regular period is what we are intended to have and that in the "old days" most women would not menstruate every month and this is something to strive for and that we have turned "over-fertile" due to better nutrition. Given that I have several relatives that had 12+ kids I seriously doubt they didn't have a normal cycle but I do know they used nursing as a way to space their children, I have heard stories of my grandfather's youngest brother breastfeeding until he was 8 for example and that women in general once they had 4-5 children tried to keep breastfeeding as long as possible. The older a woman is the more likely she is to be without a period after pregnancy if she breastfeeds and some are without periods for as long as they breastfeed. 

It's not just among religious women that question the notion that women weren't really supposed to have a period every month, at least during their childbearing years. Mainstream thought also embraces this.  Historically women did not go through menarche as early, got married once it was achieved, had kids spaced through lactation amenorrhea and usually had their children 2 to 4 years apart.  My gramdmother had 10 children but they were spread over more than 20 years with about 2 years between babies.  My other grandmother nursed one of my aunts till she was over 4.

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Seeing "Quiverfull" and "women's health" separated by one word strikes me as oxymoronic. Based on what I've learned here and elsewhere, female well-being is not high on the priority list of those pushing the quiverfull agenda.

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3 minutes ago, PennySycamore said:

It's not just among religious women that question the notion that women weren't really supposed to have a period every month, at least during their childbearing years. Mainstream thought also embraces this.  Historically women did not go through menarche as early, got married once it was achieved, had kids spaced through lactation amenorrhea and usually had their children 2 to 4 years apart.  My gramdmother had 10 children but they were spread over more than 20 years with about 2 years between babies.  My other grandmother nursed one of my aunts till she was over 4.

How early you got married has varied in different cultures but early marriage is a bit of a myth in many parts of Europe. In Sweden (my country) early marriages were relatively uncommon until the late 1800s. The average age for marriage was around 25 and for women in the lower classes it was not uncommon at all to marry after 30. Rich farmer and the nobility were into having many children and these women married earlier but usually not before 20. 

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I wonder how much of this behavior has to do with gaining control of a part of their lives.  They are completely under their husband's headship, unable to make decisions but no-one can force them to eat (outside of putting down a feeding tube).  If a side effect is to stop them having so many children so much the better.  I have definitely seen a number of patients make really bad medical decisions because saying no to medication was the one thing in which they had autonomy.

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2 hours ago, Mrsaztx said:

That's horrifying. Not to mention what happens if they do get pregant? Do they attempt to starve themselves further into a spontaneous abortion? Or do they then attempt to properly nourish the fetus? The second choice seems especially sketchy since their goal is to have an irregular period, so they likely wouldn't know until at least 2-3 months in, and at that point they're all kinds of deficient nutritionally. I hope they're up to the task of special needs children, because they'll likely have some, spina bifida, anyone? I'm so confused by these "follow the letter of the law" religious types. No, you're not using BC, but you are actively trying to not have children, or cause your body to abort should you conceive, just use a damn condom. Why would God want you to physically destroy your body? It's like the women who are supposed to have their heads covered so they wear a wig. I don't think that's really the point, guys.

I'd be very surprised if any of these folks would try to starve themselves into an abortion. Doing that would be murder in their eyes.

It was a total eye-opener to me.  I had observed firsthand the pressure to be back into pre-preg clothes ASAP after a birth and to be back at church with perfect hair and makeup within a month of a new baby, but I'd never known anyone who tried to starve their cycle away so they could delay children. I know my cousin thought what these women were doing is crazy, but it bothers me that she spends so much time exposed to those ideas. 

In some ways, my old church has gotten better since the fall of VF,but it has also gotten to be more dominated by the senior  pastor (the elders largely defer to him), and so there are still some wild ideas that come out of there.

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At our church there was a fair sized group of young wives who would all share tips. Lemon(s) played a part for one girl so much so that she swears by lemon juice as a way to prevent back to back babies..

The mere mention that it was probably just timing or happenstance outraged her, nope it was the lemons..

Just never understood why the hell if you were so set on NOT getting pregnant you didn't just pop out to a walk in clinic and snag some B/C. All this other crazy shit is just a different way of achieving the same goal.

Try explaining that to the wide eyed  crazy.

On a side note LemomLeslie is about 10 years into marriage and last I saw on number 5.

Not that she gives me any updates. I am long since shunned and only attend to pacify my mother on the Big holidays.

I have however brought lemon squares for the last 4 years church picnics.

I am almost manic in my glee while cooking them.

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58 minutes ago, FundiesInParis said:

  I can't make this go away, FiP did not say any of these words. 

@GenerationCedarchip my thought was that "all sins are equal" idea, if one is attempting to close their bodies to the possibility of kids or whatever the hell they say, that is a sin. Would continuing along those same lines in order to eliminate a pregnancy not be an equal sin? Of course all this is insanity so I can't expect any answer to satisfy my brain, I guess.

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10 minutes ago, Catey said:

At our church there was a fair sized group of young wives who would all share tips. Lemon(s) played a part for one girl so much so that she swears by lemon juice as a way to prevent back to back babies..

The mere mention that it was probably just timing or happenstance outraged her, nope it was the lemons..

Just never understood why the hell if you were so set on NOT getting pregnant you didn't just pop out to a walk in clinic and snag some B/C. All this other crazy shit is just a different way of achieving the same goal.

Try explaining that to the wide eyed  crazy.

On a side note LemomLeslie is about 10 years into marriage and last I saw on number 5.

Not that she gives me any updates. I am long since shunned and only attend to pacify my mother on the Big holidays.

I have however brought lemon squares for the last 4 years church picnics.

I am almost manic in my glee while cooking them.

Actually lemon was used historically to prevent pregnancy and increased acidity can actually kill sperm so she might not be as out there as one thinks. Olive oil was also used and it is also proven to decrease sperm mobility. These are far from as accurate as modern forms of birth control but they do have the possibility to prevent pregnancy. There were also plenty of herbs that were used which also have been proven to work often by creating an early abortion. 

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7 minutes ago, elliha said:

Actually lemon was used historically to prevent pregnancy

But she was drinking it..

Please don't tell me LemonLeslie was right.

Update: Just checked her Facebook and yes indeed she has now had her 5th

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No, drinking it would not do but soaking a sponge in lemon juice and inserting it vaginally can work. Using half a lemon inserted like a diaphragm might also work but would probably be much more uncomfortable. Douching in lemon juice may also have been used but would not be as effective.

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11 minutes ago, Catey said:

But she was drinking it..

Please don't tell me LemonLeslie was right.

Update: Just checked her Facebook and yes indeed she has now had her 5th

It was my understanding that a lemon cut in half was used a cervical cap back in the bad old days.  I can see that being effective.  But drinking?  No, ma'am.  

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1 minute ago, ViolaSebastian said:

But drinking?  No, ma'am.

Thank God!

I was pretty snarky about how little I believed that would work.

Those would have been some sour words to eat..

 

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5 minutes ago, elliha said:

No, drinking it would not do but soaking a sponge in lemon juice and inserting it vaginally can work. Using half a lemon inserted like a diaphragm might also work but would probably be much more uncomfortable. Douching in lemon juice may also have been used but would not be as effective.

:pb_eek: Wouldn't that sting like the dickens?

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Plus the burning and stinging from the lemon might make the act end before there would be any chances of insemination to begin with. Again, I see why people used to just say "screw it, I'll be a nun". On a related note, I saw a group of about 10 young nuns the other day, wearing the full habit and everything. I don't know that I've seen a single young nun in 10 years aside from this group. Sorry, that has nothing to do with anything.

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1 hour ago, FundiesInParis said:

That sounds absolutely horrifying.

On a similar note though, why do so many of these women seem to struggle with getting NFP down? I know cycles can be irregular and all, but I would think you could get some semblance of when you're most fertile. I know several women who do it successfully and have 2-3 children as a result.

There's also the technique my parents used, which the women of our church referred to as "leaving church before the final blessing" but that requires buy-in from The Headship (as well as a modicum of control on his part).

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10 minutes ago, Shoobydoo said:

:pb_eek: Wouldn't that sting like the dickens?

I have used lactic acid for when you have a bit of an imbalance which results in *ehm* unpleasant smell and it doesn't sting as long as the skin is intact, the tinest break and it stings like hell but that goes away pretty fast too, perhaps after 10-15 sec. I think that if you have had 4-5 kids and your mind and body screams "no more" a little stinging can be tolerated... 

Most people probably used coitus interruptus as their main method or other methods that would create an orgasm but no baby but the idea of birth control is probably as old as mankind. 

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25 minutes ago, Shoobydoo said:

:pb_eek: Wouldn't that sting like the dickens?

Less than pushing out a kid, I imagine.  

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