Hope and healing after a miscarriage
|Finding New Life among the Moonflowers
Healing and hope after a miscarriage
By Mary Pat Strenger Loomis
As published in The Catholic Review 8/7/96
On October 13, 1990, at 11 weeks pregnant, I had a miscarriage. I started spotting the night before and knew immediately we had lost the baby. I wept for hours, pleading with God to ‘fix’ things. I didn’t mean to be greedy—we already had two wonderful boys—but all of us were excited about this third child.
I recovered physically in a few weeks and stayed busy through the holidays, but in quiet moments I experienced emptiness, a feeling of being incomplete, and I continued to mourn our loss. Would God send us another baby?
With the birthing season of spring, I wanted to plant something special, to find comfort and joy in its growth. My sister-in-law made a surprise visit and gifted me with seedlings unfamiliar to both of us. They were moonflowers, part of the morning-glory clan; a climbing vine known for its heavenly fragrance and nocturnal lifestyle—the blooms usually open from late afternoon to early morning. Just like a newborn, I thought, awake all-night! These sounded perfect.
I planted two seedlings along the cyclone fence I shared with a neighbor, and started to keep tabs on my new charges. The similarities between moonflowers and babies continued to mount.
Their leaves were big broad hearts, and they gathered many close to themselves as they climbed and investigated new territory. The architecture of the bud resembled child-size frozen custard, and its trumpet-like bloom was clothed in radiant white. From a tiny shoot they grew “so big,” and neighbors would ooh and aah over them. I swelled with maternal pride.
The final jolt came after dinner one night, just about bath time. I smelled an incredible fragrance near my kitchen window. I envisioned a gaggle of old ladies walking down the alley behind my house. I went through the garden and surveyed the alley, vainly searching for this heavenly scent. I headed back toward the kitchen and stopped at my first open moonflower. I had found the source of the fragrance—but it seemed so familiar. I kept inhaling, and then it dawned on me—baby powder! I was christened with an invisible puff of baby powder! I was momentarily stunned.
Here was a powerful, tangible sign of God’s love! Proof that He listens, He cares, and He answers. In this vast universe of billions of hearts, with their exponential amount of prayers, I received a personal response from the Lord. I truly felt special in His sight. I experienced a complete healing and a renewal of awe and gratitude.
And the following April, with a due date exactly one year from the previous pregnancy, I delivered a pink moonflower of my own!
Now, when I hear of someone who has suffered a miscarriage, I tell them my story and, when possible, present them with some moonflower seedlings; it not only provides comfort, but an opportunity for me to witness to God’s grace.