The Long-Term Importance of Fertility

Posted By on March 24, 2012

I meant to post something about this during the squall that erupted over Obama’s contraception mandate, but that’s the same week a ship off Mombasa dropped anchor on the cable carrying high-speed Internet into Kenya, and life online slowed down to a crawl. ;) That’s okay. Plenty of other folks took time to comment, both on friends’ Facebook threads and on blogs.

During the brouhaha, I read an absurd and inaccurate article about how “quiverfull” women (those of us with more than the acceptable 2.1 children, I guess) are basically put-upon martyrs, roasted upon the spit of fecundity while our brains go to rot. It was such drivel I didn’t even bother to bookmark it, so now I can’t find it, of course. But it really brought home the fact that feminism still paints mothers at home (and especially mothers with several children) as brainless slaves who can’t make a coherent choice about what color to wear on a daily basis, let alone how many children are “realistic” or how we’re supposed to have any semblance of a cogent thought at the end of a long day full of homemaking, homeschooling, and the general work of any normal marriage relationship.

So I’ve got a long article in the works. It’s bubbling along in my overworked (or is it “underworked?”) brain, and I promise I’ll eventually get it from brain cell to keyboard. Until then, I’d just like to put a shout out to all my fellow wives and mothers who are exercising their minds in the bringing up of the next generation of producers.

Yes, I said producers. Somewhere along the Malthusian line, we’ve lost the notion that children=healthy demographics and healthy demographics=long-term stability. At long last even venerable old dragons like the New York Times are catching onto the fact that a plummeting birth rate is not a happy thing. While China ages itself into a 4:2:1 culture that will not be able to sustainably provide for its elderly, pensioners in Greece riot and throw tantrums over the loss of state-funded retirement schemes (which there are not enough young taxpayers to keep afloat), and the rest of the Eurozone looks at its greying populations and wonders how much longer before their cities are on fire.

Isn’t it possible that those of us having lots of children and bringing them up in entrepreneurial households have actually thought all this out beforehand? Has it never crossed anyone’s mind that fecundity can be purposeful and future-directed rather than aimless and retrograde?

Pardon my tone if it comes across as sarcastic, but after ten years of posting about birth rates, demography, contraception, marriage, family, biblical womanhood, and household economics, I’d kind of hoped the message would have been loud and clear by now:

  • Yes, we are having children (and view them as blessings, boons, and bequests).
  • Yes, we are doing it on purpose (and, yep, we know “what causes that” and, frankly, enjoy it as the good gift God intended it to be).
  • No, we are not oppressed slaves who lay ourselves down on the altar of fertility because we’ve been brainwashed to do so.
  • Yes, we truly believe that families who see themselves as productive units rather than senseless consumers of goods are the best foundation from the past and the wave of the “sustainable” future. (And, yep, this means families with two children and families with 19–fertility is a gift; not a contest or a game of one-upmanship.)

Demographics matter, and the ongoing war on fertility is cultural suicide. To all my sisters out there today teaching two-year-olds to pick up toys, five-year-olds to tie their shoes, eight-year-olds to spell, and 14-year-olds to learn a skill that will build rather than squander resources, my hat is off to you. You have your finger on the future’s pulse. Don’t let feminism fool you. Use your wonderful, active brains to pass on a legacy to your children and build your own household economy. The world is counting on you.

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About The Author

Jennie is the wife of Matthew and mother of ten children, all of whom keep the household bubbling with life, learning, and levity. Jennie co-founded LAF in 2002 with Lydia Sherman and has been delighted to hear from women all over the world who enjoy their femininity and love to cultivate womanly virtues.

Comments

9 Responses to “The Long-Term Importance of Fertility”

  1. Gina says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Jennie!
    I’ve been studying America’s history of contraception/abortion and am shocked at the link.
    On Sanctity of Life Sunday at our church, we had a man from our local pregnancy center in to speak about what they do, statistics, etc. As I sat there, mourning the loss of all the children for so many years, I said “God, why have we (the Christian church) been unable to get rid of abortion for all these years?”
    For the morning sermon, we had a minister from our conference share about various mission opportunities and the missionaries serving around the world. One of the missionary families serving at an orphanage in Central America had 10 children. He jokingly said “And they have enough of children for an orphanage themselves — I’m not sure how many they have…” Everyone laughed and I was struck to the heart. The problem is US!
    Christians use the same arguments for contraception as the ungodly do when they choose abortion.
    “I don’t have enough money for another child”, “I’m too busy”, “Now is not a good time”, etc.
    May God have mercy on us.

  2. You’re right, Gina. The blame starts with us. So important to teach our children to embrace the gift of life and not treat it lightly.

  3. Mrs Miranda says:

    Thank you so very much for this! I gave birth to my first child 5 months ago and am just discovering how motherhood is even more of a joy and a blessing than I had ever dreamed. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am where I’m supposed to be, and that this is what I was created for, and it’s the most amazing feeling! I can’t wait to see what the Lord’s plans are for my family; I will so gladly receive and love as many children as he chooses to bless us with, and my only concern is my arms not being long enough to cuddle them all at the same time!

    It breaks my heart to think of the hundreds of millions of precious babies discarded because they’re not ‘convenient’. Lord have mercy on us indeed. I am determined for my daughter to understand that every new life is a cause for celebration.

  4. DLight says:

    Wow Jennie, thank you so much for this thought-provoking article. LAF offers the ‘beautiful womanhood’ environment I never grew up around, and I praise God for such a wonderful resource.

    I’m 21, single and pondering the future. My mother was and still is an outspoken feminist and I witnessed how it caused my father to literally wither. I became a christian in my teenage years, and the idea of biblical womanhood slowly became an issue for me. I was not sure if I was simply being backwards or if it was indeed true that God had a unique place for women. This site, among other resources, gave me hope. :) Thank you!

    Now, what is left is to find a husband who believes the same. ;) j/k

  5. eomcbride says:

    You have a different understanding of quiverfull than I do. I have more than 2.1 children but am not quiverfull. I understand quiverfull to mean that no birth control, including natural family planning, is used because of religious reasons. Most quiverfull women have a new baby every 1 to 2 years. Large families are the rule. Quiverfull women such as Michelle Duggar and Kelly Bates will continue getting pregnant even after their bodies have said enough is enough.

  6. Erin says:

    If the bodies of Michelle Duggar and Kelly Bates have said “enough is enough”, then how could they continue to get pregnant?

    We need to remember that it is the Lord who creates life in the womb. I recently met a woman who had her only child at age 47! She made me think of Sarah, what a blessing and what joy her son has brought her. I’m sure that most OBGYN docs would have cautioned her not to take the risk, but the Lord blessed her in her “advanced maternal age.”

  7. Regina says:

    Amen and Amen! I wish I had knew these truths when we we first married. We always knew that children were gifts but we didn’t learn about allowing God to plan our family size until it was too late.

    I don’t believe that Michelle and Kelly’s bodies said “enough is enough.” Like Erin said the Lord creates life and He decides how many children to bless a family with. And when He does plant that baby in the womb, He also decides if He wants to bring that child back home to Him early.
    This is a concept that if one isn’t a born again believer, they wouldn’t understand such a concept.

  8. Tenerife says:

    Why the emphasis on biological fertility as opposed to adoption? Wouldn’t that be a more pro-life statement if it was the Duggars adopting 20 children, rather than Angelina Jolie? Adoption is an option even single Christian women could take advantage of.

  9. Tenerlife, embracing God-given fertility does not mean a rejection of adoption. Quite the contrary! Many LAF writers and readers have adopted children (some many times over), and, living in Kenya, we see a constant stream of couples coming to adopt orphans from East Africa. However, we do not endorse single women adopting children for the simple reason that God designed husbands and wives to bring up children together. The Bible stresses over and over again the importance of both fathers and mothers in the life of a child.

    Children in single-parent homes face far greater struggles than those raised in intact families. Research backs this up. Children need fathers–not just mothers. It’s also important to note that the biblical definition of “orphan” is “fatherless.” A better way to help orphans is to devote time and energy to helping them transition into intact families. One organization that does this is Romania Reborn, which has created a home for abandoned and orphaned children in Romania and actively seeks to place these children with families who will love them and care for them. A single woman started this ministry and partners with several churches in Romania and the States to do this. Children need both parents. When they don’t have them, we need to help insure that they are placed in the environment of a loving marriage and a stable home life.

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