New piece up at Religion Dispatches:

In the last week of June, two different circles of blogs invested in the Quiverfull movement—both as critics and supporters of the pro-natalist, patriarchal, conservative Christian lifestyle—focused on the sad news of the death of one Quiverfull mother’s child shortly after birth. The woman was Carri Chmielewski, author of the now-private blog “Carri Me Away,” where she described her Quiverfull lifestyle, eschewing contraception, having as many children as God gave her, submitting to her husband’s leadership, and, in a related conviction common among Quiverfull adherents, her plans to deliver her children through unassisted childbirth—a home birth with no doctors, nurses, or midwives to help her and her husband through labor and aftercare.

For weeks, Chmielewski’s plans drew the scrutiny and concern of Quiverfull critics, such as the commenters on the wryly-named ”Free Jinger” forum, a discussion board dedicated to “freeing” Jinger Duggar, one of the daughters of the Quiverfull Duggar family featured on reality TV show 18 Kids and Counting. Commenters there and elsewhere followed news of Chmielewski’s pregnancy, at first with light snark directed at this exemplar of Quiverfull conviction, and then growing concern as Chmielewski described mounting complications: she reportedly measured much larger than expected for a normal pregnancy and discussed her own doubts and misgivings about going through with the unassisted birth.

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