500 Quiverful Miles
The Duggars recruited Quiverful converts with their show. Recruiting happens on social media now
Sometimes a trigger comes in a whisper. A lisp of a lyric will catch in my heart, searing through my body so that my skin tingles. Suddenly I’m transported back in time, encased within a memory more than remembering it, unable to breathe, unable to leave.
Here’s how it happens on social media:
I open my DM folder on Instagram and glimpse the reel someone shared with me. I read the message, “This. Wow, just very scary.” I know without watching what it is: another young mother selling the quiverful mindset via the lovely aesthetic of homesteading, femininity, and gentle mothering.
I click on it, unable to look away. The tender voice of Sleeping at Last’s Ryan O’Neal sings “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” as a soft lullaby. 2023 melts away.
The young woman in the reel is pregnant, nearly full-term, swaying with a toddler in her arms, her knee-length long hair swaying like a cape behind her. The toddler’s head is on her shoulder, his body is resting on her fundus, which probably triggered Braxton Hicks contractions. He’s dressed in pinstriped overalls like a tiny train conductor, barefoot and sweet, exactly the way I used to dress my sons. His arms are wrapped around her neck and a soft brown teddy bear. She’s in a warm, clean kitchen that radiates cozy homemaking.
The sticker reads, “Reasons I’ve given my womb to the KING OF GLORY.” She’s using naptime to get her social media influencing time in. The image is lovely.
In my interview on Shiny Happy People, I shared how fundamentalism took the desires of my heart––what I wanted for myself––and exploited me with it. In my upcoming book, A Well-Trained Wife, I share how I suffered for upholding those ideals. If I’d had Instagram as a young mother, I would’ve made a reel just like hers, sweet lullaby included. I’m personally complicit in attempting to convince others to give their wombs to the KING OF GLORY. Until I experienced the dark pain and loneliness of that road, I too would’ve written what she wrote as her caption.
“We are called to be fruitful and multiply. Children a considered a blessing from the Lord! Blessed is he whose quiver is FULL of them! I want to be blessed. I want that overflowing quiver of arrows…. I have given YAHWEH complete control over my womb.”
Recruiting new quiverful mothers involves shaming you for expressing reasonable concerns about health, cost, and capacity. No one tells you how it turns out. They show you the beautiful start. They draw you in with the candy of happiness, harmony, and health. The poster girls are under 30…young, fertile, and still eager to sell you their pretty ideals. They haven’t yet suffered the pain that will trigger them later.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial