Fans of Stuff’s latest about having lots of kids might find these articles interesting.
It’s barely a blip on the nation’s demographic radar — 11 percent of U.S. births in 2004 were to women who already had three children, up from 10 percent in 1995. But there seems to be a growing openness to having more than two children, in some case more than four.
We decided to cut through the buzz and find out whether big families really are on the upswing, and — more important, if you’re one of the 50 percent of BabyCenter moms who want a big family — what life is like for multiple-kid moms. Here’s what the experts, both the academic and the real-mom kind, had to say:
Quiverfull beliefs are absolutist. Purists don’t permit even natural family-planning methods, such as tracking fertility cycles (the only form of birth control condoned by the Roman Catholic Church). Also taboo: any form of artificial fertility treatment. “The point is to have a welcoming heart,” says Mary Pride, a mother of nine whose 1985 book, “The Way Home,” celebrated a return to traditional gender roles. It has sold about 80,000 copies and has inspired many quiverfull families. “You shouldn’t be unnatural in going to a fertility clinic or in trying to avoid having children by regulating when to have sex with your husband,” says Pride.
Quiverfull parents try to have upwards of six children. They home-school their families, attend fundamentalist churches and follow biblical guidelines of male headship–“Father knows best”–and female submissiveness. They refuse any attempt to regulate pregnancy. Quiverfull began with the publication of Rick and Jan Hess’s 1989 book, A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ, which argues that God, as the “Great Physician” and sole “Birth Controller,” opens and closes the womb on a case-by-case basis. Women’s attempts to control their own bodies–the Lord’s temple–are a seizure of divine power.
Will I never learn? The other day, I attended a Saturday vigil Mass with five of my children and without my husband. Two of the children I brought along have a combined age under 5. I didn’t anticipate any problems. Was that a sign of cockiness or stupidity?