Christian vloggers Sam and Nia accused of faking pregnancy and miscarriage say haters are 'blessing'


For weeks, controversies about planned parenthood, marriage and sexuality have dominated debate around family life in the United States.

Now the issue of miscarriage, one that leads to unbearable loss and pain for the parents but rarely grabs the headlines in the same way, is taking over.

A Christian vlogging couple Sam and Nia Rader, whose YouTube channel has nearly 360,000 subscribers, were accused in comments on their channel of faking it after a pregnancy announcement that went viral was followed just three days later by a miscarriage announcement.

Sam even admitted the pregnancy had been "staged" - not by him, but by God. And he said the "haters" who were "persecuting" them were in fact a "blessing".

The home videos, which are shot on hand-held cameras rendering them endearingly shaky, have gone viral. And the couple have succeeded in putting miscarriage into the headlines.

Sam and Nia are high school sweethearts from Texas who state on their Facebook page that they "have a great time living for God" and "vlog it all". They have 11,700 followers on Twitter.

The latest controversy began with a vlog that has had more than 14 million views, published on 5 August, in which a wide-eyed Sam said he had had a dream about announcing his wife's pregnancy to her. Her wife had texted him to say she was "two weeks late".

He obtained a urine "specimen" from the family bathroom and videoed the test, and then videoed her reaction in front of their two young children. One of the kids refused to believe him: "Dad, only mommies get pregnant." He anticipated making a "time lapse" video of it all.

Just three days after the pregnancy announcement, another video went up: "Our baby had a heartbeat". This was where they announced the miscarriage.

"We were so happy," said Nia. "We were just so overjoyed. It was like a huge celebration. Then just bam. It hit us like a bomb. Those of you who have experienced miscarriage - I can relate to you know. I have felt my womb empty out."

The hardest part was knowing the baby was really gone, she said. "We have really for the first time in our marriage, in our relationship, grieved together." It had made them appreciated their children more, they said.

This video had nearly 4.6 million views, as well as dozens of comments from viewers suggesting the whole thing had been staged.

This led to another video - 219,141 views - with Sam stating the "unacceptance" shown by the world to him and his family had been a "blessing".

The story was then given added traction when it was picked up by Gawker, who reported how the Raders had been getting "hate comments" from "haters" sipping that "haterade."

Sam said: "The un-acceptance that this world has shown our family has actually been a blessing to me. Let me explain. It seems as though the media out there, all the articles being written about us, are trying to put us in a bad light for the most part. And I feel like those are the ones that represent the world. And it makes me think of the verse John 15:19: If you are of the world, the world will love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chose you from the world, the world hates you."

He said God had told them they were going to be hated, so what they were seeing was God's will being played out in their lives as Christians. "We're being persecuted somewhat." This was a good thing: "This is what God told us is going to happen, so I can't help but let it excite me. Every time I read these articles, not a single article has got me down. In fact, I'm laughing about them, for the most part. It's just like this huge reminder that God chose our family, so we're getting this hatred. That's just what comes with being a Christian and being a God-filled family."

Gawker goes on to ponder what this means: "Sam never explains what, exactly, god 'chose' for his family. An extremely brief pregnancy? YouTube fame? The backlash that comes with manipulating viewers for non-skippable ad views?"

In fact, the advertisements are skippable, but only after several seconds.

Sam defends the veracity of the pregnancy and miscarriage: "Was it fake?" I don't even feel like responding to it, but no, it wasn't fake. That's pretty much all I'll say."

He admits that lot of people think it was staged. "I'm like, you know what? It was staged. It was all orchestrated by God above and nothing less. I'll say stuff like that just to kind of throw them off, but it doesn't make me happy that people are deceived, but it does make me happy that God chose our family out of the world."

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, currently expecting a baby, are among the celebrity couples who have recently shared publicly their sufferings of miscarriage. At the end of July, Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook:

"Priscilla and I have some exciting news: we're expecting a baby girl! This will be a new chapter in our lives. We've already been so fortunate for the opportunity to touch people's lives around the world -- Cilla as a doctor and educator, and me through this community and philanthropy. Now we'll focus on making the world a better place for our child and the next generation."

But he continued: "We want to share one experience to start. We've been trying to have a child for a couple of years and have had three miscarriages along the way. You feel so hopeful when you learn you're going to have a child. You start imagining who they'll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they're gone. It's a lonely experience.

"Most people don't discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you -- as if you're defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own... When we started talking to our friends, we realised how frequently this happened -- that many people we knew had similar issues and that nearly all had healthy children after all.

We hope that sharing our experience will give more people the same hope we felt and will help more people feel comfortable sharing their stories as well."

The UK has an active ministry for those who have suffered miscarriage or the loss of a child. Saying Goodbye has services throughout the year at cathedrals for people who have lost a child in pregnancy or at any stage of their lives.