Chaunie’s Story: My baby is not my punishment

by Kristan Hawkins | February 18, 2013

ChaunieB picAt age twenty-one, two tiny blue lines changed Chaunie’s life. While fear of failure initially challenged this young mom, learn how she came to peace with her pregnancy and embraced the selfless love of her baby girl. You can read more about Chaunie’s story in Students for Life’s new book Courageous: Students Abolishing Abortion in this Lifetime.

This post is republished from the blog Tiny Blue Lines under the title “How Did Your Faith Affect Your Pregnancy?

I know that I’ve talked a lot about my pregnancy with Ada on here. I’ve talked about how I’ve wondered if I messed up, if her life is somehow forever altered because of my “mistake,” if our marriage has been damaged from the get go.

But I haven’t really every discussed something that was one of the most difficult parts of dealing with my unplanned pregnancy–

 The God factor.

The truth is, I’m a religious kind of girl. The kind that grew up with nine years of Catholic school, the kind that said her prayers out of a little booklet during my early college years, the kind that has really sought a relationship with God.

It may sound old-fashioned now, but Ben and I really did want to wait until we were married to have sex. It felt like we fought against it–and then failed.

Which is how I came to view my whole start into motherhood.

 As a failure.

I had messed up. In my eyes, with my own spiritual beliefs and background, I had sinned. I had done something I wasn’t supposed to do, and now, I was pregnant as a result. How on earth could I possibly be excited about it? How could I even begin to think that my baby was anything but a consequence of my bad behavior?

I felt trapped in a little cloud of guilty darkness for the first half of my pregnancy. I couldn’t see a way out. I couldn’t see how my baby, conceived out of a “bad” thing, could possibly be a “good” thing. Surely she would be emotionally messed up, marked by my sin, scarred by a marriage that started badly. Surely I would never love her the way a “real” mother would–the kind that planned for a baby, and surprised her husband sweetly with the positive pregnancy test and shopped excitedly for nursery decorations.

 I could never be her.

I haven’t really talked about my religion, or my faith on my blog that much, frankly, because I’ve been nervous. I didn’t want to turn away any “cool” young moms, or alienate any potential writing contacts with my spiritual ramblings.

But I want to be real about how important it was to me, in becoming a mother, in becoming a wife, to come to peace with my pregnancy.

For me, it took months of prayer. Not any prayer that I had grown up with, not any specific litany or phrase of words. My prayers were just silent pleadings to the universe for help. I didn’t know what I was asking for, or what I hoped would happen. I just knew I needed help.

And one night, it finally happened.

After a long day of classes, and work, and disappointments, and wedding stress, I sat curled up on our raspberry-cream colored hand-me-down couch. And for the first time in my life, I felt I very clearly was given an answer:

 My baby was not a punishment.

The moment I felt those words reverberate within me, I felt so relieved. I felt peace. I realized that on some level deep down, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was hiding in the shadows, cringing in shame, just waiting for God to strike me down with spite.

And suddenly, I realized I had it completely wrong.

God didn’t punish me with a baby. Sure, maybe I hadn’t done everything perfectly, but for cryin’ out loud, I was still loved, and He wasn’t about to give up on me so easily. I felt, with a sudden realization of happiness, that God had sent us our baby as an opportunity to learn the truth about love.

Because, after all, what else provides a faster lesson in true and selfless love than a baby?

 [Forehead smack.]

It took a long time for me to come to terms with my pregnancy. For me, prayer and a faith in God were key. I know everyone is different, but I felt like it was important to talk about–I know I can’t be alone in the conflicting feelings of guilt and shame, the need to feel like it’s okay to be happy about a “surprise” baby.

So, I’m wondering–did anyone of you encounter what I’m talking about? Did your particular religious beliefs make it hard to accept your pregnancy? Or did it help you come to term with your new life?

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, speaker, and labor and delivery nurse. She began serving as an advocate for young women facing unplanned pregnancy after becoming a mother during her senior year of college. Chaunie has worked in the pro-life movement for many years and has presented her story across the country. She blogs about her journey as a young mom of three at and her first book,Tiny Blue Lines, will be released through Ave Maria Press in May 2014. Find Chaunie on Facebook and Twitter

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