I love my siblings and wouldn't trade them for the world.
Because of being the oldest of nine kids, I'm a capable person in a crisis and I'm patient to a fault. Was it a sudden realization that it was not for you, or was it more gradual? I tried so hard to hold onto my parents' beliefs and worldview because it was all I had ever known, and leaving that world would mean an entirely new culture and way of approaching people, life, and myself.
But the beliefs align: The movement follows strict gender roles, women often don't cut their hair, wear pants, work outside the home, or question their husbands' authority. While researching the book, I had the chance to interview young women raised in Quiverfull homes who have since left the movement. My main source, a young woman named Hännah Ettinger, answered all my questions (including the ones below, answered over email) and became a friend over the course of my writing the book.
I have a lot of weird stories, but I don't like being a conversation piece. I can't say for sure, but it feels like the movement is fading.Being raised Quiverfull and then entering mainstream society is like entering the U. A lot of the big-name leaders in the QF world have been exposed for fraud or sexual abuse, and bloggers have deconstructed a lot of the tenets that we grew up taking for granted.Some call this Quiverfull, from a Bible verse, which suggests that God will bless the man who has a lot of kids ("he whose quiver is full of arrows").One of the early moments where it hit me that I was different from other kids was when I started telling my kindergarten-age friends I wasn't allowed to see things they all watched, like .My siblings who are closer to my age are pretty well ideologically aligned with me these days, and we're really tight.
I'm not religious and I'm definitely spiritual but agnostic.
So I was hoping you weren't just another outsider curious about our world because of how "crazy" it all is — and I was really relieved to find that you genuinely cared about the welfare of those in this system and raising awareness about the reality of the Quiverfull culture. I think the thing I was most worried you'd get wrong would be the interactions between the child and the parents.
It's so easy to either idealize the false closeness and codependency in QF parent/child relationships as a model parent/child dynamic, or to villainize the parents once you realize the toll this lifestyle takes on the children.
I was worried, on behalf of my fellow ex-QF "survivors," about voyeurism and getting the story right.
In a world where stay-at-home American moms watch for laughs, it's sometimes hard to talk to anyone about my story.
But it's absolutely vital to see both parties as humans trying their best in difficult circumstances.