One of the hardest things to go through in life is the death of a child. Even a child you never get to meet. Miscarriage is heartbreaking and grieving needs to happen, just as with any death. One tool for healing can be hearing the stories of others who have walked this path. Sometimes it’s not us who is grieving but a friend, and again stories can help us know how to come alongside a grieving mom and help her through the sorrow. I [LaDawn] asked a fellow mom, Courtney Chaput, to share her story of heartbreak and healing as way of encouraging any of you moms who are grieving or supporting a grieving mom.
On December 31st, 2012 we [Courtney & Myles Chaput] hosted a New Year’s get-together at our home. One couple brought their three-month-old baby with them. At that time Myles and I had been married for less than two years but had years of history behind us. He is my best friend and I can say without hesitation that I am his. I have letters from high school saying that one day he was going to marry me (even though we were just very close friends). It only took me four years after high school to figure out that I was in love with him and wanted to marry him too. Thankfully, in that time, we had both come to love and know Jesus in a real way. We had a fairytale love story and having a baby seemed like the next right thing to do. We felt confident and ready to start this miraculous journey. We honestly figured we would just try, get pregnant and have a baby in nine months. We found out quickly that it wasn’t going to be that simple for us.
We got pregnant right away. I remember being ecstatic but terrified. Were we really ready for this?! Myles filmed my reaction as I saw the positive pregnancy test. I was laughing out of pure shock and then the tears of joy came! That video is how we made our announcement to our families. We didn’t wait three months to tell them because miscarriage never crossed our minds. We were even more excited when we found out my sister-in-law was also pregnant, only two weeks behind me. We were so pumped to have our first babies be born so close together!
Around nine weeks, I started bleeding and days later we lost our first child. I was devastated. How could this be? I remember feeling like absolutely no one around me understood my sorrow. I may have only carried that baby for nine weeks, but it was still my child.
After a couple months, we decided to keep trying. I got pregnant again that May and did not think it was possible to have another miscarriage. At my 12-week appointment when they didn’t find the heartbeat, it should have clicked but the doctor said it was normal. At 14 weeks when there was still no heartbeat we decided to go to Baby Moon and find out for ourselves. No heartbeat. Just a still fetus on a massive screen. Once again, we were devastated and this one also meant me going for surgery.
At the time, we were leading a cell group and by that fall, every couple in our group had become pregnant, (two of them being some of my closest friends) plus my sister-in-law was just about to have her baby, meaning my first due date was just around the corner. On top of that, my best friend, who I worked with full time, was also pregnant. The biggest challenge for me was to not become bitter. I wanted to maintain my relationships with all of these women in my life. I didn’t want them going through what I went through but yet it was so incredibly painful to watch their bellies grow and all on their first try. I couldn’t understand why God had put me in this situation. There were evenings before cell where I just cried because I didn’t know how to be a leader to these girls and put on a smile as they talked about their pregnancies. The enemy told me many lies. Every single time I checked Facebook, it ruined my day because it was all about babies and kids. I had to delete it because it was too hard to see everyday. I will be honest, I had a lot of bitter days but I think I hid it well. I remember crying in the bathroom at work when one of my friends sent me a video of her ultrasound. Were they trying to rub it in? I did not want to continue in bitterness so I began to pray for joy and I began to pray for the women in my life who were having babies. I can honestly say I did not lose any relationships with my friends and I also began to realize that I needed to be okay if God did not give us a child. I remember how hard it was to pray and tell God that He was enough. But I knew deep down that He had a plan and I trusted Him.
After our third miscarriage, I was very discouraged. It felt like my body wasn’t doing its job as a woman. I felt like a failure. Would I never be able to bear my wonderful, godly husband any children? Would he one day resent me? I had never prayed so much as I did during that time of my life. Perhaps that was one of the reasons God put us on that journey. I realized that I was putting having babies on a pedestal above where I was putting God. I knew I needed to enjoy where life was at and wait on God. God granted me that joy in the midst of a lot of pain. Thankfully, He also gave me an incredibly supportive husband who can handle a very emotional wife.
One day as I was reading my Bible, God gave me a promise. Psalm 113:9 says ‘He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord.’ I read this and I just knew in my heart that one day I would be a mother. What I didn’t know is if it meant through adoption or through our own conception but I decided to just trust in God’s promise. I had someone else give me the exact same verse and I was even more confident.
We now have a daughter who will be two in May, and another baby on the way for March. Being pregnant is not always easy, especially with a toddler but I choose my words very carefully when people ask how it is going and I am very cautious about the women around me incase they are going through something similar. I am beyond thankful that God has blessed us with a family, and I cherish everyday of my pregnancy and every moment with our daughter. She was so worth the wait and brings us so much joy everyday.
Looking back at our journey, I see how much God changed my character and taught me how to lean on Him and trust His timing. It is something that I will never forget and it has also led me to speak openly to women in my life who have experienced similar situations. My heart aches for women who have lost a child or are having difficulty getting pregnant. Not everyone will always understand or know what to say, but we who have experienced it will now know how to pray and empathize for these women in our life.
I leave you with a few verses that were especially meaningful for me in my journey. They are powerful to pray anytime but especially if you or someone you care about is going through the heartbreak of miscarriage:
The Lord will work out His plans for my life – for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17
If I can just touch the fringe of His robe, I will be healed. Matthew 9:21
Keep on asking and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives, everyone who seeks, finds and to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7-8
Seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously and He will give you everything you need. Matt 6:33
I pray that God, the source of all hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. Psalm 62:5
Always be joyful, never stop praying, be thankful in all circumstances. 1 Thess. 5:16