Mother compelled to have a large Mormon family and suffered a nervous breakdown

turnonthelights Sep. 2012

My grandmother had 9 children. She had a very unhappy marriage and they were poor. She was forced to work and leave her 9 children at home. She reached a point where she became so depressed that she tried to throw herself out a window. She didn't fall but cut her hands on the glass. My Grandfather was both emotionally and sexually abusive to the children and she refused to leave him because it was frowned upon in the church. Despite my own mother's severe emotional problems and depression she continued to have more and more children to please the church and fulfill her Mormon purpose.

My dad finally forced her to stop at 7 kids. She was both emotionally and physically abusive because she had taken on way more than she could handle with all us kids under the age of 10. My dad was called as bishop which nearly sent her over the edge and into a nervous breakdown. These years were the darkest in my life and I longed for the stability of my father who was called to serve a greater purpose than his fatherhood duties. I have to wonder how different my mother and Grandma's life would have been if they would have had 2-3 kids which they could have more easily handled. It is such a disaster when emotionally ill equipt women feel compelled to have access amount of children to show off their Mormon valiancy. The real victims are the poor kids in these situations.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
It's a painful situation - my parents also took on too much. In my case, it was my father pressuring my mother, who checked out when I was a kid. (Youngest of seven, she had to go back to school soon after I was born.)

It really ends up damaging the kids.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
I'm the oldest of 11, and, while I wouldn't give away any of my siblings, it was insane at our house. My parents didn't have a large enough income to even provide a decent house for most of the years I was growing up. I was lucky because I got out and married before things truly got bad. Most of the kids in the family are damaged in some way because of the conditions growing up. We were each affected differently. Some people can handle 10 kids some cannot. My parents could not.
Carol Y.
I had four, and with my fragile health and the Morg's demands, it almost killed me. Should have stopped at two.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
My grandmother had 8, and should have had only one or two. She came apart at about age 40. She was never right again. Her youngest child grew up with my mother raising him.

My mother had 6 children plus my uncle who was severely handicapped. She had a nervous breakdown when she was about 45. She refused to get help, and has had several more breakdowns since then. She has always said that she only wanted 2 kids. My father who was orphaned at age 3, wanted 12 kids. He had no idea what it took to raise kids. He was never around. He was always at work, or at church.

Myself, I was determined to not repeat what i'd seen over and over in my family. Women raising children they couldn't handle. Husbands serving the church, and abandoning their family. I had two children. I've never regretted that choice.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
This is so true. My kids remember their dad not being home much. A lot of it was work, too...We're retired now, and it can sometimes
be just as's available, so therefore he should do church things. He gets taken advantage of.....I am just sitting on the sidelines....I don't believe "the church is true". I will participate minimally for him.....He knows....

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
I'd like to bear my testimonkey that I'm glad my parents, though TMB, didn't do all this bat @#$%& crazy stuff that so many Mormons do, like having tons of kids, forcing testimonkey bearing, PPIs, and father's blessings. When I got out of the house and heard all the Mormons from Utah and Idahwho talk about their crazy family practices, I thought I was astounded. I couldn't believe people actually did that stuff and was glad I didn't have to put up with it as a kid. As a result of my parents relative-TMB sanity, they only had three of us. Whew.
Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
I have a friend who had seven although they could barely manage two, financially or emotionally.

Every time things went from bad to worse, they had another kid to prove their faith to the Lord.
You can't reason with such brainwashing.

She told me how she would stand in the shower and scream, and try to pick the flesh off her body.
That's how desperate she was because could not handle all those kids.
What a horrible life.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
My uber annoying brother & sister and law are currently pregnant with their 6th - sheesh!

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
Wouldn't it be nice if Mormons gave women a teeny weeny bit of leeway to express themselves?

The Relief Society used to be a wonderful almost-Masonic group of gals who reached all the way around the world to help women in other continents.

They earned their own money and funded their own and the projects of other auxiliaries. Unfortunately, he penisholders got jealous and cut off their funding.

So now they create meaningless crafts with glitter and toilet products.

So symbolic


I believed this once, years ago..
Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
I once ran across the story of a woman who had escaped the "Qiverful" movement; her story was heartbreaking. She ended the article with the comment that she had to choose between her religion or her life and sanity.
Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
OMG. That's horrifying.
Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
I just read up on that on wikipeia. I couldn't help but wonder if Andrea Yates was trying to live up to quiverful's crazy ideas.
not sayin' this time
I have no idea how women cope with a large family
I have a rather small family by LDS standards (3 kids). And I know for a fact that ONE more would have been too many.

I think my mother had too many kids (8) for her health and happiness.

Even as a teenager, I never wanted to grow up and be miserable like my mom. She almost NEVER did anything for herself, and was hesitant to ask for anything she wanted.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
The Quiverfull/Bill Gothard followers are taught that any birth control, any resistance to growing their family is an affront to God for which they will burn in hell. Militant fecundity has reduced many women to wasted husks old before their time.

It is a race among the QF believers to have the most children. Their message boards are so tragic. Any young woman who is emotionally or physically spent, in dire poverty, abused by her husband is chided for her selfishness, lack of faith in God, lack of subservience to her husband. Even the women with 3 or 4 kids with genetic or health problems or on the autism spectrum.

Imagine being at home with no car, little money, dependant on food stamps and WIC just to feed your kids and your only social outlet a band of other women ready to scold you for complaining about the lack of money or scarcity of food or endless days homeschooling 8 or 9 kids while diapering and rocking babies and chasing toddlers.

The QF movement is new enough that most of its adherents did not grow up that way. So many probably realized that blue jeans and pop music were not evil, that maybe college would be fun, or maybe that just having a weekend or a few afternoon hours to spend as they please sounds heavenly. But if you're 30, broke with no education and 8 kids, you're pretty much trapped.

If your husband is your keeper and not your friend you probably feel like a caged animal.

And all of these rules perpetuated by Bill Gothard who never married or fathered a child. He is the QF prophet, so no questions allowed. Sounds familar, huh?

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
The attitude of the LDS towards women and procreation are the worst aspects of the religion to me. I'm a never-Mormon, so I'm observing this from the outside.

I continue to be shocked at their insistence on early marriage (even if it interrupts education) and on large families, regardless of a woman's health, a couple's finances, or the wishes of the individuals involved.

I've read a number of Mormon mommy blogs on the Internet, and I'm struck by the financial struggles of these families (many living in near poverty), the chaos in their homes and lives, and the exhaustion of the mothers.


Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
This was exactly my life. My only escape was my church callings.

The greatest irony of all is that after all you can do, it is never enough. The children grow up and they all complain that they didn't get enough mothering.

I remember their childhoods as a time when I made many, many sacrifices to make sure they had a Christmas, that everyone had clean clothes, that they all got braces on their teeth and medical care. I worried late into the night about how I could meet their needs without child support.

They grow up not even remembering the Christmases where you stayed up all night wrapping every single present in newspaper and yarn (no money for wrapping paper), the culmination of an Olympic event to make sure everyone had multiple appropriate presents.

Oh, and did I mention you are always pregnant so your back hurts and your feet ache constantly. In my mind, I thought I would be the heroine for having kept my family together.

I am glad I didn't know the truth or it would have broken my heart. At least I can be grateful, after reading the above, that I didn't lose my mind and have been able to have a wonderful life now in spite of all my mistakes. That's more than a lot of people can say!


PS. I baked bread and made slippers for the orthodontist and he let me make payments for more than ten years. In the end, he retired with me still owing thousands and he just wrote it off. He was a wonderful man and loved my girls.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
My wife's family had eight kids, the dad never had a stable job, had long bouts of unemployment, worked numerous pyramid schemes, and the wife had to constantly work to provide for the family. Here are the results (just the facts, I'm not judging, because some of their decisions I agree with):

Kid 1 (Boy)....Some college. Married and divorced and left the church. His two kids got married early, divorced and are goth creatures.

Kid 2 (Girl)...No college at all. Married (six kids) then divorced a guy who molested the kids (she says) and is re-married, but let's face it, she is still seriously weird/mentally unstable.

Kid 3 (Boy)...married young, no college. Eight kids. Ex-wife was a mental case that needed, but refused, pharmaceutical help. Now he is broke (from having no insurance and getting cancer) and is remarried to a very weird woman. Kids are loafing around in their 20s not going to college (even though they are really smart!)

Kid 4 (Girl)...DW of mine. Went to some college. Married me, five kids still married. She has become a realtor and tax preparor and has done quite well. I am proud of her.

Kid 5 (Boy)...Married a Korean lady, two kids, both work, they are doing well.

Kid 6 (Girl)...Married, going through a divorce. No college for either spouse. Very poor. Overweight. Tough situation.

Kid 7 (Boy)...Married the hog lady, had eight kids, hoarders, drug users, divorced, they don't even know where he lives now.

Kid 8 (Boy)...Meth adict did prison time. Brain is fried and teeth are gone. Not married. A hopeless case.

So these are the fruits of very Mormon people. Not a good case for believing the Mormon church and poping out lots of kids.

I hate the church...

Mormonism was not good to my mother
She definitely shouldn't have had 6 kids--but at least she had them far apart. BUT most mormon women believe that "if you lose yourself, you will find yourself." When it doesn't happen, they are left to think it was their fault. My mother also had 2 disabled sons (one not until he was 42) and she blamed herself for the one who was disabled from birth--thinking she did something wrong.

Let's not even talk about the bitch women in mormonism and how they treat each other.

My mother was very talented--wrote poetry, painted, etc., took care of her deaf parents until they both passed away--pretty much from the time she started talking.

She would have been much happier out of mormonism.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
The traditional family unit is inherently unnatural and therefore promotes stress and emotional breakdown.

One mother giving primary care for many years is not the natural order of primates.

I can add something here
I have witnessed how TSCC [this so called church] perpetuates the myth of the perfect, LARGE LDS family by showcasing the WEALTHY families.

I have a very wealthy brother who has nine children. His wife is a SAHM, but they have hired "help" for cooking, cleaning, and even clothes shopping. I don't think the kids even have basic chores. The kids are musically talented, do well in school, and always are exceptionally well groomed and dressed. And my sister-in-law always looks...Ta-Da...Perfect! This family has been profiled in their local paper, showing them as a "typical" Mormon family. During the Prop 8 campaign they were also shown on the TV news as the whole family held picket signs on a street corner.

Similarly, a good friend from dental school that is now an orthodontist went on to have a picture perfect Mormon family with 7 children. He also had a human interest story featured in his local paper, emphasizing their church activities (FHE, early morning seminary, BSA, etc) with photos showing their beautifully groomed children in their palatial home.

These are the images that the folks in the ward are shown of the "typical" Mormon family and it's the standard they feel forced to try to live up to. I think it creates incredible stress for families without the financial means to try to compete with this stupid illusion.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
Yea, well I don't think my wife's large TBM family will be featured in any newspaper anytime soon.

I mean some of them have been featured in public images. Wanted posters...

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
A few years ago I attended relief society, not sure why now. But the lesson was about depression and so many women in the church being unhappy. The solution? If you are unhappy it is because you are focusing too much on YOURSELF! Lose yourself in the service of others and you will be happy. I swear I almost stood up and walked out. I wish I would have now. My parents had 8 children. My dad had 3 of us when he married my stepmom, then they had 5 more. My poor stepmom was only 21 when she took on 3 kids under the age of 8. She told me that it was a sin to use birth control because that would be denying spirits from being born into the covenant. She truly believed that if she didn't have as many babies as possible, the poor spirits would be raised without the gospel and their eternal salvation would be at risk. She was also verbally and emotionally abusive because of the incredible amount of stress placed on her. My dad travelled for work and was also busy with church. This is so unfair to women, and the ultimate victims - the children.

Re: Mormonism was not good to my mother
"if you lose yourself, you will find yourself"

Yeah... I am still recovering from this bullshit statement. I work my ASS off. I am the only one working at the moment. I work 9-10 hours a day, 5 days a week, I clean the whole house EVERYDAY. I cook 3 meals a day, do all the grocery shopping, organize all of the VERY tight finances, the list goes on. And even after all this, my fiance has to convince me for a half hour to even spend $3 on myself. Do i feel great about serving constantly? No. I love to serve, dont get me wrong, but I dont like doing it to the point where I cant, or wont, do anything for myself.

Cant make a rusty machine work somooth effectively, ya know?

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
These stories are horrible. And they are quite different from what I heard women saying in RS in the esrly 1970s. I remember one woman who had 3 or 4 kids; the subject of large families came up once and she just said she couldn't deal with any more. The speaker quoted the scripture about not running faster than you are able and said we each knew our limits. I also remember reading in a church source that in creating the family the mother's health should be the first concern. Of course this was a long time ago and in my area--not in traditional mormon territory.
Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
I gets problematic when GAs give talks at BYU, telling young couples not to "selfishly" limit their children.

Ditto for bishops giving young couples the same self-serving advise.

To put it bluntly, the morg wants breeders to increase the number of tithe payers.

Of course, smart members don't listen.
But it's difficult when they were brought up to obey church leaders.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
It gets...

I know the feeling
I was a single mother working 2 jobs for years. Thank dog I only had 2 children (twins) or I never could have done it.

I choose to not marry again even though I've been in a long-term relationship because I so easily give up all my power to males. I learned well.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
My wife is one of eleven, the last few of whom ruined her mother's health quite comprehensively. It was her "still, small voice" that convinced her to have my wife, so I suppose I should be grateful for that at least.

Re: Mother compelled to have a large family and suffered a nervous breakdown
tscc is wrong to push people to marry too young and to have too many children. It compounds this when it makes men with large families bishops. If the position paid well, at least the men could give up their work necessary to earn an income. Instead, children are neglected and wives are neglected.

In my own case, my DW and I have twelve children. We decided this on our own, having five when the missionries knocked on our door. I "neglected" any TSCC calling I had, even home teaching. We only sometimes had FHEs, nor did I ever read the BoM with the children, but I had my office in the home and was not away and we were always together. Our children have all turned out fine - the sons being eagle scouts and on missions and with college degrees, and the daughters also educated and successful in the home. Indeed, it appears we have been held up as a super family. But the greatest cost of a large family is the difficulty in retrieving the TBMs as almost all are such. I am not. I know the errors of TSCC.

Our children, unlike TSCC, were, in the family, brought up to know that love is unconditional, not conditioned on following the church or doing anything to earn love.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"