Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Pastor Authors Book to Help Others Find Peace After Pregnancy Loss

A Pastor in Lavelle has authored a book to share her experience and help others find peace after pregnancy loss.

By Megan A. Hepler

Chrystal J. Smallwood is a pastor and self-published author of a book about her experience with pregnancy loss. Chrystal’s story is nothing short of heartbreaking and yet encouraging for anyone who has grieved for the loss of a child. Her story has touched the hearts of many and has helped grieving parents to share and also process their loss.

Chrystal was born and raised in Maine, where she grew to enjoy writing and a desire to do urban ministry. After high school she attended Eastern Nazarene College where she met her husband, Jeremy Smallwood, a Pennsylvania native. Chrystal graduated, got married, and became ordained. Then, moved to various locations in Pennsylvania with her husband, before both becoming pastors (lead and associate) at the Lavelle Church of the Nazarene approximately five years ago.

In 2014, Chrystal was inspired to write the story of her experience with pregnancy loss. Chrystal’s book is classified under genres such as Grief & Bereavement and Parenting & Relationships, but is also explains how her relationship with God evolved through the tragic experiences she and her husband faced. The topics of miscarriage, child loss, and infertility are often taboo in conversation. It is a difficult subject for many people to discuss and even more so for those that have experienced it to share. Chrystal not only shared her story, but opened up about how deeply it affected her. It is full of raw emotion and despite the expected sorrow there is also joy.

“Writing our story of pregnancy loss was something I wanted to do for a long time. I would write here and there, on my own as well as for speaking engagements, but it never felt like the right time to pursue a lengthy project. I mention this in my book, but we were in Tennessee in 2014 when I had a full circle moment in the Smokey Mountains and I knew it was time to write the book,” Chrystal explained.

Chrystal suffered several miscarriages. She became pregnant in 2001 with twins, but lost one of the babies at approximately twenty weeks gestation. The loss of one of the twins was due to Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), which also decreased the survivability for the remaining twin. Despite the odds, that December she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Anna. Together with her husband they now raise and homeschool their two teenage daughters. Chrystal also has a blog, Smallwood Parsonage, where she shares about her family, ministry, recipes, and more.

Chrystal’s book, titled Choosing Joy, has helped many, since it was published, with their grief as well. Chrystal and Jeremy have shared their experiences and helped others to find peace.

“I’ve talked and prayed with so many going through a similar situation. I’ve had women tell me often, 20, 30, 40 years later how much their pregnancy loss affected them, but they never shared with anyone. I hope that by sharing my story it allows others to find their own voice and healing. Sharing our experience with congregations, grief groups or one on one has allowed shared grief to come together and open up wounds that needed healing,” Chrystal explained.

Her readers have been touched by her words. Some have even found comfort that they are not alone with their grief.

“This was such a heartfelt story about finding and trusting Jesus in the midst of our painful journeys,” Krista Neitz said.

“Her book made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this journey of grief and loss. That even though my heart was breaking, that God is in the midst of it all,” Carissa Robles stated.

To find out more about Chrystal Smallwood visit Her book is available on