Sunday, November 8, 2009

How do you mother a child who isn't here?

I have had people ask why I talk about Cora so much, and ask my angel mother friends. Why do we focus so much on the child we don't have?

The answer, for me at least, is simple. You can see Erin and Patrick. I walk into the store and nobody has to ask if they're my children. I can hold them, and kiss them, and love them. I do not have to remind anyone that they are here.

I never got to be a mother to Cora in a real, tangible way. I never got to feed her, or put her to sleep, or calm her down and wipe away tears. I never got to see her face light up when I walk into the room, or see her reach her hands out for me.

The only thing I can do to be her mother is to talk about her. So I do.

Our culture is one that does not know at all how to handle grief. It's socially unacceptable to be grieving. It's a "private" matter that nobody wants to see. Nobody wants to know about it if it's painful. And it's even more so if that grief is centered on a child that died before birth. There is a cultural trend to brush off these babies as somehow "less" than others. It's hurtful and it's frustrating, since Cora is every bit as real to me as Erin and Patrick. I didn't love either of them any more after they were born and screaming than I did the day before. If I were to lose either of them now (takes my breath away to even think it), I don't think I'd be any more devastated than I was at that moment when I saw Cora's heart so still.

So talking about Cora doesn't mean I am somehow depriving my other children of attention that they should have. It doesn't even mean that I'm not allowing myself to be happy. I laugh, I love. I am investing everything I can in my living children. I am also investing everything I can in my angel child too, because I am still her mother, and need to mother her in some way.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I too have felt that others try to discard Preslie with talk of Arista. I will always talk about Preslie because she is our family. She was our first and forever will be!

  2. I understand. The other day I was talking to my dad and I mentioned I was changing my facebook photo, and he said I like the one you have up. I said but it is Genevive and I don't want to depress anyone, her 9 month is passed now. And he said yeah, You gotta move past it. I said no you never move past it. he said yeah you can, and I said well then I just won't, And he said ok, don't but you still could if you wanted to. LMAO, not really sure what to make of that conversation, But truth is I really don't want to get past it. Any more than I want to move on form my other children.

    Now I know Genevive wasn't a stillbirth, but I also feel I never got to parent her in a tangible way. I got to gaze into a box, and be told by nurses what I can and can't do. I will always mourn that, I wish I were more assertive and did more of what I wanted.