It’s been so long since I posted anything on here. I guess I got tired of narrating my story and just wanted to live it.

I’ve reclaimed so much that was stolen from me that some days I forget that it was my life. I guess that’s healing.

I have no contact with my father and low contact with my mother. My siblings are all adults now, making their own life choices and exploring their own freedoms and struggles. I am close to several of them but no longer in a caretaker role for any. I got away from the survivor community as well and built a very different environment for myself.

I would like to think that I have less to say about the Quiverfull movement than I ever have. But really what I have to say hasn’t changed and I’ve said it already.

The leaders of it have been involved in achieving their goals, expanding unregulated homeschooling and Christian schools, getting two justices on the Supreme Court who will reverse labor rights and abortion rights, and generally calling their activities Christian and conservative when they are actually theocratic authoritarian and patriarchally violent.

But I can’t save the world from this. Y’all just have to muddle along with this reality the same as the rest of us. Tolerate this abusive movement until and unless you’re sick of it and repudiate it, same as I did.

The only thing that really still riles me up are the lies that get believed and the children who get hurt and have to wait it out and attempt to repair their lives as adults because there are next to no protections for them.

I saw that a couple of the adult Turpin daughters did an interview that hit close to home. I saw that Josh Dugger is going to prison for downloading child sex abuse materials. These are two very public examples of the kind of different tracks this stuff can take.

I know from personal experience that it’s much easier to raise a child well than it is to repair a broken adult. So now that I have a child I’m trying to raise her well.

Since I last wrote here I had a baby of my own, almost a year and a half ago.

I was afraid of what it would be like, given my past experiences, but motherhood has been nothing like what the Quiverfull movement said it would be. It’s not been easy, but it has been much better.

For starters, my child is not a blessing or a gift to me. And if I’m being honest, many nights at 3am she is a huge pain in the ass. But she is a beautiful little person trying to make her own way forward in the world, exploring everyday, and I know my role is to aid and support her in doing that. She is not an arrow for a cause. She is not a vessel to be filled with Bible verses or pedagogy. She is a small human with her own interests and fears and hopes.

It’s amazing what kinds of things I’ve learned from her, simply due to being open to it. For example, she recently decided that pinecones and acorns and pecans are all “a-cones.” I don’t think I will ever be able to unsee this category of plant life now. She also has gotten obsessed with fish and owls in the past week, as well as picked her own set of bedtime books that she has wanted to have read to her each night for months now, and that all either have the moon or kittens or both in them. Any other kind of book she immediately closes and says “all done.” She’s really into an Italian pan drum player named Mumi on YouTube, and so obsessed with the parody video “What Does The Fox Say” that she points to the TV and says “wa pa pow” to ask for the video.

I’m a big fan of gentle parenting and natural and logical consequences, not getting into battles of the will or a punitive way of handling things whenever possible. I explain everything to her as good as I can. I’m also not having so many kids that I lose the ability to care for mine.

I let her watch tv sometimes. I let her eat cookies sometimes. I have preferences for certain things (and a hobby of finding nice secondhand Montessori toys for her) but am not extreme into any parental movement or style. I don’t have to belong to any specific movement or community. There is no need for it.

If she goes in the bathroom and tries to unroll the toilet paper, the door gets closed and she is told why she can’t play in there. If she tries to grab the cat food she gets told that it belongs to Tilly and that she needs to let Tilly have it for dinner.

If she gets angry about boundaries or struggles and tries to hit with little fists, she gets reminded how to be gentle and told to take a few deep breaths and use her words. Practice is key. Patience with yourself and the child is key. Taking breaks sometimes is necessary. Understanding she belongs to herself and needs to learn how to navigate in the world now and long after you are gone is paramount.

I live in the moment a lot. I take a lot of photos. I haven’t gone back to work yet, but I will. I deal with all the extended pandemic craziness same as we all do. I got my vaccines and my booster shot.

My Mom always told me “once you’re a parent, you’ll understand,” but becoming a parent has made me understand my own upbringing less. I feel truly sad for my parents, and all the other parents that got caught in this cult that lied to them about domestic life and faith and politics, making sure that even though there were a lot of kids and everybody was together and doing the same stuff all the time, the relationships were commodified and controlled so tightly that they never could foster a true family connection.

I have accepted that the Quiverfull movement and it’s leaders will never properly be held to account or pay for all the harm and damage they caused and are still causing. I will never personally see justice.

But I myself am free. And my child is free. It’s not intergenerational here.

I’m with my (second) husband, a guy who sees me as a full person, an equal, and our little girl is being raised to express herself and belong to herself.

So no matter what else the world does, or the movement does, or anybody does in reaction to it, I feel grateful that I saw it for what it was when I did. I went off and did the work to slowly peel off the layers, break the cycle, and build a better life, which now includes my daughter, Ruby.