Darrow Miller and Friends

Our Antimaternal Age

Original photo all4desktop.com

We live in a new era of human history, the age of the antimaternal.

From the beginning of time, people have understood that it was normal, natural … yes, even beautiful, to have children. Not anymore.

The sexist’s war against women has been replaced with the modern feminist’s war against motherhood. We live in the antimaternal age.

We have written about this here.

Globally, fertility rates for women are rapidly  declining as seen in the following graphic.

antimaternal seen in Trends in Total Fertility Rate by Region
By Rcragun – Own work, CC BY 3.0

However, in the developed world the antimaternal spirit is reaching epidemic proportions. Whole cultures could actually disappear.

A fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is needed to maintain a stable population. Nations that dip to 1.8 are in a death spiral. Historically, no nation falling below 1.3 has survived. The following graphic shows the trends in the so-called “developed world.”

antimaternal seen in Developed world fertility rates

“Child-free by choice” is one expression of the antimaternal sentiment in the West.

Damon Linker, in his article “The self-deception of the intentionally childless,” (at The Week) seeks to answer the question of why birthrates are falling globally, especially in modern, Western-oriented countries.

So what good do today’s childless couples aim at? I’d say something like pleasure — material rewards along with the self-satisfaction that follows from achieving high social status through career advancement. They want to work hard and play hard, enjoying the fruits of their labor without the constraints, sacrifices, and trade-offs that come from raising kids. Children might be a good, but they’re a good that would take away from what they consider to be the highest good, which is the enjoyment of pleasure. So they forgo having them.

They’re hedonists, in other words.

Hedonism has been around for a long time, and it is blossoming again in the modern world in the form of antimaternal thinking. “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die!” Life exists for pleasure, and nothing higher. Sex has nothing to do with procreation, family formation, or the future. It’s merely the latest form of entertainment. It’s all about pleasure in the moment. It’s forsaking children for the marketplace and the playground.

The antidote for narcissism is family formation. As family advocate Michael Craven so clearly states, “Marriage is the first earthly relationship that we enter which requires us to shift the focus of our lives from ourselves to others. It is inherently ‘other centered.’”

It’s time to expose the lie of the antimaternal

Having a family means we shift our focus from ourselves to our spouse and to the children who are the fruit of our love.

Joy Pullmann antimaternal no longerJoy Pullmann is a mother, journalist, and editor. In “I Didn’t Want Kids, But I’m Glad I Got Them” she writes of being ripped from her narcissistic, hedonistic world into the “alien” world of motherhood.

I never knew motherhood would feel this way. I grew up in a conservative home, where family, mothers, and children were held in high regard and sacrifice for my sake was my parents’ habit. For whatever reason, it didn’t take. It’s probably most fair to blame me. Even with all the safeguards my parents put in place to help me understand what is true, for a long time I believed lots of lies about my own femininity and its consequences. For one, I imbibed the idea that stuff is more important than people, so a career is the way to prove your worth to society, which pretty much immediately casts the female capacity to bear and nurture children in a bad light. So I thought kids were a pestilence and definitely wanted none. Then, when my then-fiancé made it clear he wanted kids in his future, because I was utterly obsessed with him I grudgingly agreed to have “at least one. I guess maybe two, if I have to.” Like it was my onerous wifely duty. (Funny how we’ve reversed the Victorian stereotype of sex as the wifely duty and kids as the woman’s delight.) 

For more on Joy’s struggle in becoming a mother, her reflections and her profound paradigm shift, read her full article.

It’s time to expose the lie of the antimaternal, to celebrate the wonder of motherhood and the restoration of the family as the center of society.

  • Darrow Miller

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).