Quiverfull Gone Wrong, or, The Burned Out Housewife

I picked up "Instead of the Thorn" for some vacation reading this week.  Written by a Dutch Reformed minister in west Michigan in the 1940s, it tells the tale of the settlers coming from the Netherlands and forging a colony in the 1800s.  He has moments of vivid and striking writing, like this one.

Husbands zealous for large families, take heed.
This is not to persuade you away from large families, per se, but to have you take into account the self-sacrifice involved.  Avoid this happening!

"Grietje [the wife] had borne him nine children in silence so that when the last two were still-born one could not tell whether she was sad or gay at the living or the dead.  She had always given herself obediently to her husand, looking upon his pious assertions as the will of the Lord.  Geert [her husband] was firmly convinced that it was a woman's task to bear children in sorrow, and he felt a great deal more respect for the psalmist's literal meaning than for his poetry when the latter spoke of the happy man and his quiver full.

"But Geert's... eyes, which often rolled upward with unction, did not see the frowning truth about his relation to Grietje.  His quiver full of weakened arrows, that twanged dismally from the parent string, had settled mortally in the flesh and soul of his wife from whom the passion for wifehood and mother hood had long fled.  Her peaked face had taken on a ghostly pallor that matched her shuffling step as she moved without a word about the draughty rooms.  If she had any cares, she had long since learned to keep them locked up in her hollow breast from which there issued nothing but dry coughs as if indicating the depths where even rosy secrets had died.  Upon her children she looked with more of duty than concern, for she felt that she could not love them for what might have been.... She had done with life and not all her husband's warmth about religion could strike one spark among the dead ashes of her soul."

Bastian Kruithof, "Instead of the Thorn" (Half Moon Press: New York, 1941).

Find it here, or probably at Baker Book House used books.

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