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Embracing Hope and Love After a Loss

Embracing Hope and Love After a Loss

Dr. Gary Chapman and Candy McVicar describe the grief process and offer practical help & comfort to couples who have experienced infant loss.
Original Air Date: January 19, 2022

John Fuller: Well, imagine that that’s your baby’s heartbeat and its clear evidence of a life growing in your womb. It’s a joyful sound of a shared love and a-a future eagerly anticipated for your family. But if that life is cut short unexpectedly, it can feel like your world has come to an end. Today on Focus on the Family, we’ll explore the tragedy of infant loss and how that can impact your life, your marriage, your faith. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, nothing can prepare a parent for the death of a precious child like that. Um, that’s simply not the way things are supposed to happen and the grief that couples experience, um, with the should haves, the could haves, the what ifs and the if only’s, seems insurmountable. Uh, losing a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDs or some other kind of loss is devastating, and we truly hurt for that, uh, couple, that individual that has gone through that or might be going through it right now. We often don’t comprehend the depth of the pain and sorrow, the depression that can happen to the bereaved parents in that experience. And, uh, we often struggle to say the right thing or say what will help them. And today, we do wanna cover this tender subject so we can equip you to be the best friend, the best, uh, spouse you can be in that circumstance. And in fact, John, I know you and Dena experienced, uh, something in this area.

John: We had a couple of, uh, miscarriages, uh, early in, uh, the development of our family, uh, losses at about 12, 13, 14 weeks and those were really hard times. They were lonely, they were, uh, lot of shared tears and we did have a lot of folks come around and love on us. We wanna help you as a listener learn how to do that in a-a really, uh, meaningful way as you, uh, surround families who are dealing with difficulties.

Jim: Well, and that’s why, again, we’re gonna tackle the subject. It really is to help those that are grieving right now, um, to equip those who may, uh, encounter this in the future and to help us, you know, do better at being that good friend that we need to be.

John: Yeah, and we have Dr. Gary Chapman and Candy McVicar with us here in the studio today. Dr. Chapman is of course a frequent guest on this broadcast. He’s a counselor, a speaker and an author best known for, uh, his series of books The Five Love Languages. And Candy McVicar is a grief and trauma specialist who speaks and writes about infant loss. Uh, she’s the founder and CEO of Missing Grace Foundation, which provides support and resources and education for families and, uh, professional care providers in infant loss situations. And together, Candy and Gary have written a book, Holding onto Love After You’ve Lost a Baby. And we have copies of that here at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Gary, welcome back to Focus. Always good to have you.

Dr. Gary Chapman: Well, thank you. It’s good to be back.

Jim: And Candy, it’s so good to have you for the first time. Thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

Candy McVicar: Thank you. It’s a pleasure.

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: Appreciate the opportunity.

Jim: And it’s such a tough subject, um, and Candy, you have firsthand experience with infant loss. You and your husband Stephen, uh, lost a child. In fact, I believe your ministry’s named after that child. Uh, explain, uh, what happened and a little bit about your ministry.

Candy: Thank you. Um, well yeah, we were excited to have a big family. We had that number four. We wanted four children and, um, we got started right away after getting married and we got pregnant with Grace, and it was a very difficult pregnancy, lotta challenges and, um, but we just felt like we just press through and we’ll get through this and the, the prize is at the end and, um, at the last two weeks of her life, she didn’t move very much and we didn’t know it was a girl. We didn’t find out the gender at the ultrasound and so, we just knew baby’s not moving a lot and something doesn’t seem right. So, I called the doctor, in fact, seven times. I went in-

John: Seven times.

Candy: … in the last, yeah-

Jim: Right.

Candy: … in the last two weeks, so I was really concerning. There was no movement.

Jim: You know, in that context, uh, in the book, it describes that they weren’t very responsive, the doctors-

Candy: No.

Jim: … and you had this mama’s instinct that something may not be right, but it really, it was really difficult, right?

Candy: Yeah. You know, uh, that’s one of the things we teach on. We’re really big on education. Moms know best, they know their babies, they know their bodies and they need to trust that God-given intuition and I believe if they can just really become mama bears and be advocates for their babies, that will do well. Um, you just have to keep asking til you get somebody who listens. Sometimes, you know, they’re, they’re kind of in a mode and this is how they are typically doing things, but maybe your baby’s not typical and their situation needs special attention like ours did.

Jim: Let me take you back, and I appreciate the vulnerability, you and your husband, Stephen. Stephen’s in the gallery right now and it’s a pleasure to, um, meet him and to, uh, get to know him, but being a couple in this, so you’ll have to speak for both of you-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … but in that context, uh, take us back to that ultrasound that you finally were able to receive that you talked the doctors into providing. What happened during that ultrasound?

Candy: Yeah, so on the seventh visit, they said, “All right, fine, you can have the ultrasound,” but prior to that, they would just do what’s called a doppler check.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Candy: They would stick the doppler on and all that does is it, it’s listening for fetal tone. It’s listening for that heartbeat, and it hears both the mother’s heartbeat and the baby’s heartbeat and, um, and on the last one, I think she realized there’s not a second heartbeat, but I didn’t know well enough what the different heartbeats were, and I was new to this. And so when we got to the ultrasound, I really just knew something wasn’t right, but I just figured, “I’m gonna be rushed into a C-section or something’s gonna happen because this baby needs attention.” I had no idea that she had already passed. And so, at that ultrasound, uh, they, they just, they wouldn’t talk to us. They were totally silent. It was very awkward and strange and, um, she put the ultrasound on and did the doppler and I was asking many questions and she was not willing to answer anything, and she just got up and left the room and didn’t even say anything. And, and then the radiologist came back in and for many of us who’ve gone through this, it’s like that defining moment. It was just so horrible because the doctor just came in and she put on her glasses, looked at the ultrasound and she said, “Well, as you can see, there is no heartbeat and it is dead,” and that was it. She turned around and left the room.

Jim: Just that sterile.

John: Oh my.

Candy: Totally sterile and-

John: Hmm.

Candy: … I was calling after her. I said, “Well, what do you mean? I don’t understand what you’re saying,” and, and she turned around and she said, “It’s dead,” and she left the room. And then the stenographer stood up, turned off the machine and she backed up and she goes, “You need to leave now, and you need to go to the hospital and take care of it.” And I said, “I-I-I’m eight and a half months pregnant. I don’t understand what happened,” and she goes, “We don’t know, but you have to deliver it now.” And so, um, it was very traumatic-

Jim: My goodness.

Candy: … and very icy cold and in fact, there, there was a waiting room we had come in through and, um, there were other moms waiting to get their ultrasounds and, and as I was getting dressed, she said, um, “Can you please go out the back exit and not go through the front?” And I said, “Well, we parked right at the front,” and she said, “I don’t want your crying to upset our new moms,” and I thought-

Jim: Oh my goodness.

Candy: … (laughs) “I’m a mom. I-”

Dr. Chapman: (laughs)

Jim: Right.

Candy: And so, my husband said, “No, uh, we’re, we’re gonna walk out the front.” Um, and so we went in, and we were induced and, uh, we went through 24 hours of very difficult labor, and we didn’t have very attentive care. I think a lot of times nurses, they, they get kinda callous to this. It’s, and it’s hard for them. I think it’s very important in hospital settings that they, they really work hard to make sure they have the most compassionate staff who are in that role working with the families who go through a demise and, um, we didn’t happen to have those people with us at the time. So they were very cold to us and, um, and as I experienced really challenging labor, they said, “You know, l-labor’s hard and especially hard with a stillbirth, so you know what, you chose not to get the medication, now you’re suffering the consequences.”

John: Oh my.

Jim: Oh my gosh.

Candy: And I said, “Well, I just was hoping that if I-,” I-I think I was bargaining with God and I (laughs) was praying if I, if I go through the pain, God, will you give her back to me ’cause I do believe in a miracle-working God and I was still praying all the way to the end, maybe God would breathe life into her lungs and she would be with us.

Jim: Mmm.

Candy: And, um, we didn’t get that story, but, um, we, we delivered a perfectly healthy beautiful baby girl and she died of an umbilical cord issue, which is very common with stillbirth and, um, and we, we, we just had a very short time with her. We, we didn’t know what to do. We were very scared. It was all very foreign and strange to us and, uh, we had about four hours and, um, and then we gave her up.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Mm.

Jim: And it, it does speak to the indifference-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that some have about-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … a child now-

Candy: Yeah.

Jim: … and I think abortion has played a huge role-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … in dampening the sense of life for that baby and, uh, I’m sorry-

Candy: For sure.

Jim: … but that’s where I would lay-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … the blame-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that some just don’t embrace the idea that babies are precious and God-given and-

Candy: Exactly.

Jim: … they are made in His image and deserve every bit of humanity that a person outside the womb would get.

Candy: Right.

Jim: But that’s, we’re reaping the, the consequences of that.

Candy: I believe that’s exactly right.

Jim: Let me move, if I can, and again-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … I so appreciate, um, your tenderness in that and your willingness to share it and I know some people are listening that may have just gone through it or are about to go through it or went through it years ago and they’re feeling it right now-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … but that grief afterward that night, you and Stephen are at home, and you have to talk about this, I’m sure, how did you cope with the grief just in the few days after, um, this?

Candy: Well, you’re, you’re really in shock. All of us go through a-a traumatic loss, you, you have shock that kinda carries you through. You function, but you don’t even know how you’re functioning, and it sort of feels out of body like you’re watching yourself going, “How am I doing this?” And, um, and you know, my, my thing is when I’m in pain or hurting, I’m highly alerted and awake. So, I-I went into an insomnia mode. I couldn’t sleep, which is devastating ’cause the rest would’ve been so helpful. But no matter what, even with a sleep med, it just really, I couldn’t get more than two hours of sleep-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Candy: … and my husband’s mode is sleep (laughs).

Jim: Right.

Candy: And so I would stare at him, and I would say, “How can you sleep?” Like he just, he just when he was, you know, exhausted from the, the stress and the strife and the grief of what that caused him and watching me. You know, he, he’s my provider, my protector and he’s a amazing father. And so, for him not to be able to protect us from that was really painful for him. He felt, you know, like, “Gosh, I can’t even keep my baby safe and my wife safe.” And-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Candy: … and so, his mode was to shut down emotionally. He went to sleep, and I would just stay awake, and I would cry and eventually, I found my way to a computer and, uh, I started reaching out to the world out there of grief and reaching out to others who had gone through a stillbirth and that was my survival link. That’s how I-

Jim: Wow.

Candy: … got through this was starting to connect with other moms and dads who had been through this before me and they were able to be a guide to help me get through and, uh, is actually how I got introduced to The Five Love Languages too.

Jim: Well and thank the Lord that you had that lifeline.

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh Gary, we’re right up your alley now. This, uh, issue of dealing with grief and how we do that as human beings. Um, wh-what, how do we recognize that we’re in that state and then what are some things to cope?

Dr. Chapman: Well, I think anyone who’s gone through the death of a-a stillborn, uh, baby or any death in a family for that matter, it’s a loss.

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: It’s a tremendous loss, uh, and I think, uh, the natural response first of all is we cry if, that is if we are emotional at all, we cry and we cry and we cry and, and that’s good because it is releasing some of those painful emotions. And we know that grief, uh, we work through grief best when we talk about it, that is when we get to the place where we can talk, that we talk about it and we, and we ask the questions that are in our minds and those questions are in everybody’s mind and so we ask the questions and let’s face it, they’re not always satisfactory answers that come to our mind when we say, “Why God? You know-”

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: “… why did this happen?”

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Sure.

Dr. Chapman: But it’s okay to ask the question and it’s okay to tell God how you’re feeling whether-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … it’s anger or hurt or disappointment or whatever. So, I think we pour out as Christians, we pour our hearts out to God-

Candy: Mm.

Dr. Chapman: … and then we also pour our hearts out to members of the family-

Candy: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: … our immediate family as well as our church family and, uh, and, and so doing, if people listen to us and, and just affirm us, y-you can’t fix it (laughs) you know-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: … if you’re with the person. Y-you can’t fix it for them, but you can show empathy. You, you can-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … identify with them, you can acknowledge, you know, you can understand the pain and the hurt-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: … and all. And, and I think that’s, that’s, the primary way is processing it by talking and, uh, it takes time. I-it’s, it does not happen in two weeks or three weeks. And that’s part of the problem is sometimes we, after six months or nine months, we say, “You gotta get over this now. Life’s gotta go on,” you know, and, and, and a family member, husband and wife, you know, a husband can say that to a wife, you know-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: … “You gotta get over this now,” and, uh, she wants to get over this, but the reality is we don’t ever get over this-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … not when you lose a baby. Uh, you don’t ever-

Candy: That’s right.

Dr. Chapman: … get over it, but you do learn how to cope, and you learn how to go on and you learn how to trust God even when you don’t understand the why questions.

Jim: Yeah, and I, you’re making such an important point that time has to do its good work-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … which is to soften, to some degree, the sting of that loss and I’m sure, Candy, that’s been your experience. But Gary, let me ask you though, um, you have something in the book called the Grief-o-meter and, uh, explain what the Grief-o-meter is and how that’s useful to us.

Dr. Chapman: This is the tendency on the part of some people to think that some deaths are less painful than other deaths. Like if you had a miscarriage at 12 weeks, that’s not as bad as carrying the baby to the end and then the baby’s born dead. You know, we distinguish and, so that we, there’s a meter. It’s not as bad down here or if you already have six children, you know, then it’s not as bad as if it’s your first child.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: And so, uh, or, or if it’s a 90-year-old person, we say, “Well, that’s not as bad as if they were a 50-year-old person.”

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: Death is death, you know, and if it’s your spouse or your child or anyone else, it’s painful.

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: And so, uh, one of the things that we try to emphasize in the book is that we don’t need to be putting a monitor on these things and saying, “Well, this is not as bad as, you know, something else.”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: Uh, we are where we are and the person who’s suffering is where they are, and we need to let them be where they are.

John: Mm.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Comparisons just aren’t helpful and that’s one response that you don’t wanna offer somebody who’s gone through this. Uh, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and our guests are Gary Chapman and Candy McVicar. They have, uh, this book called Holding onto Love After You’ve Lost a Baby and it’s a wonderful application of the five love languages for, uh, parents who are really struggling. We’ll encourage you to call us 800-A-FAMILY, uh, or go online to get your copy of the book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Gary, lemme ask you this. Uh, again, I’ve said this in previous broadcasts we’ve done together. I mean, the Lord gave you a great insight into the five love languages. I mean, that was just a spiritual, uh, awakening for so many people and it’s wonderful, um, when you as the author capture that. I-I just think it’s a brilliant moment where the Lord said, “I want this information in people’s hands,” and he chose you to speak it through. That’s an, an amazing experience. In that context though, I’m thinking of the five love languages and if you can restate them real quick, um, in this moment of grief, like Candy-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … and what she and Stephen went through, does it weaken that, our, our love language or does it stress us in that area? So, as you go through it, like give us the response of calamity like this when it comes to a person who likes physical touch-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … or a person who likes words of affirmation and how do we calculate a-as a caregiver, as a family member, how do we calculate that person’s love language when we’re trying to soothe their grief?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Well, I think, uh, for example, if you are the husband, you probably already know the wife’s love language (laughing). Hopefully, you learned it earlier.

Jim: You’re right.

Dr. Chapman: If you don’t, you should have.

Candy: Right.

Jim: Right.

John: Not too late.

Jim: Nothing like a little shame here, but no-

Candy: (laughs)

Dr. Chapman: (laughs)

Jim: But no, it’s good. I mean, it’s important. Uh, Jean’s is, uh-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … affirmation by the way.

Dr. Chapman: Okay, and that’s why it’s so important to speak their love language during that time. If it’s physical touch, then just putting your arms around ’em and letting ’em cry on your shoulder or just sitting beside of them.

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: But keep this in mind also, especially in intense grief in the early stages, they may even push you away, even if physical touch is their language, they’ll say, “Please don’t, honey,” you know?

Jim: Why is that happening-

Dr. Chapman: I-I think it’s-

Jim: … if that’s their core love language?

Dr. Chapman: I think it’s because the grief is just so deep that at that-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … particular moment, that they just-

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Chapman: … they just wanna be alone as it were-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: … you know. And so, they push off sometimes people that are trying to help them.

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: Uh, but having said that, I think, as, as time goes on, after that initial, uh, is, those initial intense emotions, speaking their love language is extremely important to them and if it’s words of affirmation, just say, “Honey, I love you and I love you and I love you (laughs)-”

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: “… and I’m gonna love you no matter what happens. We’re together in this thing.” You know, just kind of affirming words to them.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: If it’s physical touch, yes, then, then physical touch and affirming touches to them are so important, uh, during that time.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: And we, we do know that this experience puts the pressure on a marriage, uh, because, uh, we don’t always understand how the other person’s responding. It puts pressure on the marriage. And so, speaking each other’s love language during this time is extremely important in meeting that deep emotional need to feel loved because when you feel loved, wherever you are, you know, “They’re there for me. Right now, I just feel like everything in my whole life has been blown up, but in the back of my mind, you’re, you’re communicating love and I know you’re there for me.”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: You know, and so it, it’s so important.

Jim: Candy, bringing this closer to the relationship with your spouse, you and Stephen-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … um, speak to those, uh, important observations that you both need to be aware of. You spoke about sleep or lack thereof and that’s one thing-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … a physical attribute, but what about the emotional, uh, pain and how do husbands and wives help each other in that regard?

Candy: Well, for us, bringing the five love languages into our relationship in relation to the grief was really impactful. In fact-

Jim: Well, how did that-

Candy: … it was a game changer.

Jim: … make a difference? Yeah.

Candy: Yeah, well, we were rubbing each other raw. You know, you’re in-, you can do great in marriage when there’s no strife or difficulty or trauma, right. And then all of a sudden, you add that, whether it’s the, a death or, you know, something hard in transition and all of a sudden, you’re, you don’t have quite the amount of buffer there. And so, what the love languages did is it brought back the buffer because we started to be more cognizant, “I need to love you in a way maybe I haven’t before and I, it’s gonna reach your core, it’s gonna reach your soul better.” And, um, and so, my husband’s love language is physical touch, words of affirmation. I’m acts of service, quality time. And so, when we knew that, in light of our grief, you know, he started to say, um, you know, “I-I’ll take care of things around the home,” and but he then honored Grace in what he did with me. Like you know, he would, he, he would put out her picture or he would-

Jim: Ah.

Candy: … write me a text or say, “I’m thinkin’ about her, our daughter today,” and, and he would, he would spend time with me, you know, emoting with me and sharing his heart with me. He would say, you know, “Is it okay that I-I let down my guard and I grieve with you?” He wanted to be strong for me and I said, “Actually, I’m, I’m very drawn to you and feel safer with you if you weep with me and if you show your emotions to me because I feel like then you’re caring with me congruently.” And so, um, you know, and then with me, just, “You’re a great dad.” Like I was watching him do the best he could to parent in wha-, in what ways we had and, um, and I would, you know, just be more aware, “I need to touch him more often.” I’m not a, as touchy-feely. And so-

Jim: Kind of the hugger.

Candy: … yeah. And so I would, you know, walk by him in the kitchen and put my hand around his waist and, and he would go, “Oh, I needed that today. You know, I just needed that touch.” I put my hand on his knee or his, you know, and I would just say, “We’re gettin’ through this together-”

John: Mmm.

Candy: “… you know? I’m still thankful we have each other.” And so, it was really just about acknowledging I was reaching a-a place I hadn’t reached necessarily before and relating-

Jim: Mmm.

Candy: … it to our grief. And so, that really was, uh, very, very helpful.

Jim: And it’s really important, something you said and, and I think people need to catch this, it had to be a mindful thing-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … to say between you and Stephen-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … “We’re gonna do this, this way. We’re gonna know the love languages, we’re going to apply that,” and you really, you do say that it saved your marriage.

Candy: Mm-hmm. It did.

Jim: That’s pretty powerful.

Candy: It is, and you know, so we incorporated it into our support groups and so whenever we have couples attending our group, we would say, “Okay, we want you guys to read this book. We’re gonna ask you all, as an assignment, to go home and take the, uh, the quiz, which is available at The Five Love Languages website, and you can go on there. It’s all free. You can take every one of the quizzes and find out your love languages and the link, you can look and see what your-”

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: “… you know, kinda guess what theirs is, but ask them to take it ideally and then the profile will be emailed back to you.” And, and it was so fun around the table because it brought this joy of, “You guys, we tried this and it worked,” and, and people would giggle about how, how they were doing it wrong. They’re like, “I-I just realized how I was missing the mark and now I kinda know.” And, and so there was a lot of good mar-marriage bantering of, of like, “Hey, we’re gettin’ through this you guys. This was really helpful.” So, I saw it work-

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: … and that’s a big part of why this book is just, uh, I believe in it, and I’ve had so much feedback. There’s so many people writing to us saying, “This has been so incredibly helpful.”

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: “I can’t even tell you.” One woman told me she carries it around in her purse because after her baby died this year, she said, “I-I open it up and I’m like, ‘What do I do again and how do I do this?”

John: Hmm.

Candy: And, and she just said, “This has been a lifeline. Thank you-”

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: “… so much.”

Jim: Candy, um, we’re right at the end here. I mean, the time has flown by.

Candy: It goes by so fast.

Jim: But let me, let me ask you to describe a bit of your ministry-

Candy: Mm.

Jim: … Missing Grace and what, what are you trying to do specifically?

Candy: Well, our, our ministry was based out of what we wished would’ve been available for us.

Jim: Right.

Candy: So, if it had been out there, I would’ve just gone there, and I-I did reach out to many nonprofits, and I wasn’t finding what we needed. So, it was apparent the Lord was saying, “This is what you’re going to do and how you’re gonna honor your daughter.” And so, we called it Missing Grace Foundation, missing my daughter, um, but the, the name Grace, it stands for grieve, restore, arise, commemorate and educate. And so, we’re helping people get through their grief, we’re helping them restore in their emotional, relational, physical, and spiritual health. We’re helping ’em arise out of that dark place of grief. I really believe that God gives us joy for mourning and beauty for ashes and strength for fear and, and we’re really trying to help people have hope for that. We connect them with other people who are further down the road in their grief-

Jim: Kind of that lifeline you had.

Candy: Mm-hmm. Yep.

Jim: Right.

Candy: And you know what? You can get there and we’re gonna be there for-

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: … you whether it’s on, on the phone, online or in person, um, and then, and then we’re going to help them, um, to commemorate. We really believe that if you honor your loved one, whatever that is, we all have different personalities of how we would’ve raised our kids. Also in grief, we have different ways we would honor our children-

Jim: Mm.

Candy: … whether you start a foundation or you fund a foundation or you volunteer in an organization or you create a beautiful memorial garden in your backyard or you go serve somebody in need, there’s so many ways to do something positive.

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: And then education I believe is the most important. If there’s something we can learn from our story and it can help someone else down the road, that is key-

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: … and, and so we’re, we’re, we have support groups, we have baskets that we ship out to hospitals so that everything is there in a packet that is going to help them through what they’re going through from hand and foot molding kits and the outfits and a memorial candle and books and, um resources-

Jim: Boy, that sounds well thought through.

Candy: It’s really meant to be my, “Now what?”

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: And that’s what a lot of people have written to us, they said, “I didn’t know what to do, but now I know what to do.”

Jim: Yeah, and we’ll let, uh, hopefully connect to your website and let people-

Candy: Thank you.

Jim: … link to you. Uh, Gary, let’s end here because, again, in the Christian community, it feels like we run from grief not through grief-

Dr. Chapman: Yep.

Jim: … and there are lessons that are learned in that valley. So, let me give you the last word, again, thinking of that listener, that viewer who might be going through a real tough time in their life for whatever reason, uh, but they’re going through grief right now.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. You know, I think as you read the Bible, you see people going through grief. Read the book of Jeremiah and read the book of Job. I mean-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … you see them goin’ through grief and God does not condemn them for goin’ (laughs) through grief.

Jim: Yeah.

Candy: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, and we, we wanna deny and just, and say positive things that we think will make people feel better, but really, we just need to walk with ’em through the grief process and give-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: … them time to suffer and and love them in a way that’s meaningful to them, whatever, whatever that language is, uh, so that they know, “There’s people out there that are not in my immediate family even who care about me.” It’s what the church is all about is walking with people through trauma and grief.

Jim: Well, and the thing that I’ve noticed when, and Focus tries to do this every day, and you know, the connections that are made with real people-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … people that are grateful that you are there in the gap with them and helping them and that’s what I’m sure you’re experiencing, Candy. Uh, Gary and Candy, thank you so much, uh, for-

Candy: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … sharing a very tough topic, but certainly this was filled, I hope, with, uh, the sense of hope. And, uh, I would love to get this into your hands, this book, Holding onto Love After You’ve Lost a Baby. If you can make a gift of any amount, we’ll send it to you. Think of a loved one near you. It may be a neighbor who’s going through that kind of difficulty, the loss of a child. Just keep your radar up. What an opportunity to talk with this person and to share this great message of hope with them. And if you can’t afford it, just get in touch with us. We’ll trust others will cover the cost of that, but contact us and let us know, uh, if you need this help or you know someone who needs this help.

John: Yeah, get your copy of Candy and Gary’s book when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And when you get in touch, we’ll be happy to connect you with one of our caring Christian counselors should you need to talk with someone and pray about whatever struggles you’re facing right now and we’d be happy to set up that, uh, initial consultation for you when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Coming up tomorrow, you’ll hear from Cynthia Wenz as she shares her heartbreaking journey of going through multiple abortions.

Preview:

Cynthia Wenz: She knew. She was very aware that, that was the taking of a life. Our children may be naïve, they may be young, but they’re not blind.

End of Preview

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

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Holding on to Love After You've Lost a Baby: The 5 Love Languages for Grieving Parents

Receive Gary Chapman and Candy McVicar's book Holding on to Love After You've Lost a Baby for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

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Taking Courageous Steps to Save Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

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Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

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Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

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Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

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Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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Revival Rising

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Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

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Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

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Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

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Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

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Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

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Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

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How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

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