Cora Shaw (45 - she/her. Pregnant with Riley) and Micah (8)
View Cora’s original photo and story from 2013 here.
“I have experienced losses, but not what other would always classify as such. I can’t compare them to the experiences of others, but they were still losses to me.
I have had several “chemical” pregnancies while trying and trying, over and over again, for 5 years to get pregnant using my own eggs. The rollercoaster of seeing the positive and then, time and again, realizing it was probably just another bad egg was destabilizing and extremely emotional.
I also lost the possibility of having a child conceived of my DNA. Though my body is still able to carry, my eggs are no longer of any use. While these are not the traditional heart wrenching losses that many think of, they have left voids in my heart and will always be a part of my journey.
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
Parenting has kept me young. I was AMA, advanced maternal age, while carrying my first. Now, 8 years later, at 45, I guess I’m a dinosaur! I sure don’t feel that way. Both times I have carried my body has stepped up to the plate. I have had amazing pregnancies that have made me feel nothing less than strong and beautiful.
What was your postpartum experience?
My postpartum journey with my first was pretty much how I hoped it would be. I enjoyed my new human, I used my boobs to feed him for a very long time, and I made several amazing woman friends in the process. There were moments when the difference in appearance between my white presenting son and I have been a struggle, as people question his connection to me. Fortunately for those who choose to really look, you can’t help but see it.
This time around it will be a new journey. As we used a donor egg, I worry less about other people’s perception of our connection, than how she will feel down the road. She will know how she came to be from the very beginning, and every day I worry that she will come to think of me as less than her mom. All I can do is hope that from everything I do from day one of her being here with us will show her that I am not only her mom, but so much more.
Some days this fear is so big it’s like a fog I spend pushing through while I strive to maintain my “normal”. Other days it sits in the background just a quiet whistle through the leaves. But it’s always there.
What is your truth?
Be honest with yourself and your children. Love yourself and your children. Let your actions flow from that honesty and that love, and you’ll be doing it as close right as you can.
Why did you choose to participate in this movement and share your story?
I wanted to be able to show Riley (in my tummy in these pics) how very much a part of me she is. I wanted to capture our love for her even before she was born. I wanted to remind myself how absolutely at peace I was carrying her, and how much her big brother adored her before she was even here.