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.