I never wanted children. Even now, I struggle to understand fully how or when this sentiment lodged itself so deeply within me. I could return to my childhood and turn over the pieces like paving stones, searching through cool dirt for the writhing, wriggling beginnings of this deception, but it would be a fruitless endeavor. I don’t need to unearth the distant past to see what havoc this mindset wreaked on my life. It’s enough to say this: somewhere, sometime I learned that bearing and caring for children was undeserving of my attention.   

When you say you don’t want children, the response is that you’re young and will change your mind once you’re ready. Sometimes they say it’s because you haven’t met the right man yet. I had Christians say these very things to me, but no one confronted me with Scripture. People had all sorts of opinions on the matter, but none of them had any biblical foundation. Mostly, the reaction was that I was an adult and should not be harangued, inconvenient truth being the greatest harm you can inflict on an individual in a free society.

So, at age 25, I married and shortly thereafter my husband had a vasectomy. We had both agreed not to have children. We talked about how nice it would be to live life without the extra responsibility, to travel, to have money for the things we wanted to do, to have time to pursue our interests. Our culture applauds this selfishness, but we convinced ourselves it wasn’t selfish. The world was too chaotic a place to bring a child into, right? Besides, we were too impatient to be parents. And I’d surely resent a child for holding me back from achieving my dreams. Then weren’t we simply being practical, responsible even? The best lies protect themselves even from their speakers.

In the fall of 2014, we moved just north of New York City, a place that had always held a long-time fascination for me due to its literary associations. My husband was going to be working on Madison Avenue, and I would pursue my dream of writing full-time. If I were to follow the feminist playbook, I’d now tell you how everything from that point on was simply perfect. This would be an article punctuated with quirky anecdotes about our travels, a witty crack about some toddler who ruined a nice dinner with our “important” friends, a hefty serving of trite drivel about the tortured life of an aspiring artist. Then the Eat, Pray, Love culmination: an estrangement after a few years (his fault, of course) followed by the “clean break” of divorce, the feminist equivalent of happily ever after.

I thank God none of that happened. Instead, this: I wrote, I sent out submissions, and I collected rejections. I told myself writing itself was enough to make me happy. But then why wasn’t I happy? If I felt a little down, it was only because I hadn’t hit my big break yet. Whenever another rejection came in, I would go on lengthy diatribes about the importance of art and the inherent value of literature because I thought it made me sound deep and brooding, but really I cared a lot about what people thought of me, how they viewed my failure to get my work published after so many years. I cared especially what the world thought. And the world had only one thing to say about fulfillment: Follow your heart. Chase your dreams. Seek your bliss.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9, NIV

A Christian should immediately recognize the danger in these dime-store mantras, but my Christianity at that time was nominal at best, so I glommed onto them. Nothing was as important as my dream–not my marriage or my family, certainly not my health as I drank to drive away the feelings of inadequacy. I had petty arguments with my dad. I lashed out at my husband. I was constantly depressed and struggled with thoughts of suicide. There was always something I couldn’t quite place my finger on, something missing. By society’s standards I should have felt empowered by my eschewal of traditional gender norms, bolstered by my egalitarian sensibilities. Instead, I felt I was stuck inside a well, clawing without purchase to escape a fate of my own making.

All this because I believed the feminist lie that motherhood should not be a woman’s pursuit or priority. Sure, the intelligent woman can have children as a secondary goal, but her real fulfillment should come from her career. In American society, The Career is not merely a means to provide for one’s family, but one’s primary identity. You are what you do. Hence, we teach little girls (and little boys) to make idols of their jobs, to view them as altars at which anything and everything must be sacrificed–even if that sacrifice is a child. Of course, biblical motherhood doesn’t fit this model. Mothers must reject the self daily, prioritizing the needs of others. A mother does all sorts of daily tasks our culture deems unworthy or meaningless precisely because these actions demonstrate a denial of self instead of an infatuation with it.

Motherhood is the primary mission of a Christian woman. If that statement is offensive to you as a Christian woman, I would ask that you consider what Scripture has to say on the subject. Proverbs 31’s godly woman “watches over the affairs of her household” and is blessed and praised by her husband and children. Titus 2:3-5 tells us that older women are to exhort younger women to “love their husbands and children” and “be busy at home.” 1 Timothy 2:15 teaches that women “will be saved through childbearing,” emphasizing how women experience sanctification through the raising up of godly children after the devastating effects of Eve’s disobedience during the Fall. Even a woman who cannot bear biological children has a responsibility to take up the role of motherhood in her interactions with younger women and children within the church. The godly woman understands that joy and contentment come through obedience to God’s revealed Word, not by following every whim of selfish ambition.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3-4, NIV

God was gracious in confronting me with these truths through the preaching of His Word early last year. It was then that my husband and I began attending a new church and that first Sunday School was a biblical overview of 1 Timothy centering around motherhood and the family. Leaving that day, I was furious in my rebellion. How dare the pastor teach that I was created for motherhood? How antiquated! How backwards! How misogynistic! It seems so foolish to type that now, but that was how deep-seated my cultural brainwashing was. Though I would have never called myself a feminist, I had still been seduced by feminist ideology.

We spent the next few weeks grappling with the teaching, grappling being the right word to convey how combative I was in my opposition. There were a lot of tantrums and tears and sleepless nights over those weeks. After speaking with our pastors, we knew we had to have the vasectomy reversed. The knowledge came first, but the heart was slow to follow. I spent months praying God would give me the desire for children. I couldn’t get my emotions to catch up with what I knew to be true from Scripture.       

Yet God was more gracious still. Slowly, I softened. I thought of how I had always, since childhood, had this romantic idea of a farmhouse made perfect by the addition of a supper bell, a thing so large and heavy it would need its own support post. I had daydreams of ringing this bell in the evenings as the sun pulled shadows like taffy. But who would hear the bell? In these fantasies, who was I ringing it for? There was a desire buried deep within me for that purpose I had so long denied. My sin and rebellion had blinded me, but God…but God! He saw fit to remove the veil. I’ll never be able to fully express in words how grateful I am that He didn’t leave me to rot in that wicked delusion.

I write this now at 36 weeks pregnant, expecting our first child. She’s our impossible girl, the girl that was never supposed to be, yet God had always planned. I know motherhood will be hard, but I also know it is the task I was made for, that through me God is doing His work of creation in the world. Our daughter will know what it means to be a woman according to God’s standards. We will teach her that objectification is not empowerment, that career is not identity, and that motherhood is not a diversion on the path to chasing vain dreams. God willing, she will know her identity in Christ and seek to strive after the things God deems worthy. In short: while the feminists toil with society’s Sisyphean boulders, I’ll be busy at home.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother’s first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky—
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle by William Ross Wallace
Until next time, salutations & selah.

5 thoughts on “The Feminist Lie That Nearly Destroyed My Life

  1. This resonated with me. At age 23 I married the guy I’d been working with in ministry, and we were both sold on the idea of working for God as our lifelong calling — together. We agreed that we didn’t want children, mostly for ministry reasons, so that we could be free to do the Lord’s work. A month after the wedding, we landed in the Middle East, where we worked for the next 7 years (until now) in Christian evangelism. We both worked hard. We took additional degrees. We published papers. We traveled and made presentations. We saw God using us to reach the hearts of people who didn’t yet belong to Christ.

    But 5 years into the marriage, something inside me shifted. I was working for God, and that was great, but yet every time I saw a baby, I wanted to cry. It was like a disease, eating me away at the inside, making me obsessive, tearing me apart. In some very primal place, I wanted to be a mother.

    Who can explain that yearning? Perhaps it really does take us back to a teleological argument about God’s purpose in creating woman. Can you escape that, even if you’re doing great tasks for the Lord? Is “good” a replacement for “best?”

    It’s a big step of faith, but we hope to begin TTC sometime next year. And I can’t wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your story! I realized it was wrong for me to treat like a curse that which God calls a blessing. Also, there is no one you’ll have more influence over or time with than your children in the work of discipleship. I’ll be praying God blesses you and your husband with little ones. : )

      Like

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