There’s a story we get to hear a lot here at CPF. It goes something like this:
When we found out that our baby had a cleft, the cleft was all we thought about.
One moment, you’re dreaming about life with your new baby; the next, you’re learning all you can about clefts, cleft care, and what it all means for your family.
We were scared, we were worried, but pretty soon, we got the hang of feeding and there was her first smile and at some point, we stopped even seeing the cleft.
The thing that once was the most important, most consuming, most worrisome, somehow, becomes invisible.
In fact, after her lip repair, we hardly recognized her! Our baby’s face, the one we fell in love with, was now different! But there she was, our baby, with her brown eyes, a big smile, and a repaired cleft lip.
All parents get to know their children one day at a time. They learn baby’s favorite toys and happiest snuggle positions. As months come and go, parents learn favorite first foods, music, and picture books. Over time, parents discover the countless qualities that combine to make their baby the unique, one-of-kind person he or she is.
Now, we all look at her newborn pictures, before her lip was repaired, and tell her stories about the boo-boo she had when she was born and how doctors helped make it better. Her cleft will always be a part of her, but it gets a little smaller every day.
Tell us your story: How did you feel when you learned your baby had a cleft? How did you feel after repair? What was/is the hardest part for you? What’s most helpful?