As parents we try to prepare as much as we can. We prepare with knowledge and materialistic. For Cleft parents life hands you things you can never prepare for.
- Falling in-love
I am going to sound like a bad mom, but I am going to just say it…. After seeing my ultrasound photo of our oldest I was a little freaked out. I tried to picture my sons face and was a bit scared of how he’d look. As a child I seen photos of myself and I never thought I looked as cute as all the normal babies did. Sorry to say but that’s how I felt before I became a mom. The day my little guy was born I fell in love and thought how could I ever question his beauty. I sort of hated myself for thinking that way. I missed Kaison’s cleft smile after his lip repair, and I still do. When we found out we were expecting our second cleftie I was excited to see his cleft smile. Wide smiles are always the cutest.
We are hard on ourselves when our little ones face a challenge. I’ve done the “what ifs”, “its my fault” and so on. That’s where mom-guilt is like, you blame yourself for everything. Being that I am a cleft myself, I had blamed myself because of my genes. Never thought I deserved to have children. Thought I’d be told I was only doing bad by them. I got a few remarks and looks from others pretty much stating that it was my fault. They didn’t need to tell me anything I didn’t already tell myself. I felt Max would regret having children with me or his family would blame me. I had countless pity moments. It’s ridiculous.
- Not Matter Your Age Kids Can Hurt Your Feelings
It’s funny to say but I have gotten my feelings hurt by young kids way more than by adults. I never thought a child could hurt my feelings, I was wrong. It’s not their fault they are young and they don’t know any better. I’ve heard kids say, “eww, that baby is ugly” which is sad because I thought my baby was beautiful and I’d never want my son to hear those words. I always wanted to just keep him safe and away from the world but I know that’s crazy and very unhealthy. I wonder sometimes how it’d be when the boys get older. Again, I try to prepare for it, but it’s impossible. Only time will tell and we will cross that bridge when we get there.
- The Stares
I always dealt with stares growing up, and eventually learned to ignore it. When we had Kaison I found it hard not to notice the stares. I couldn’t go in public if I didn’t have Max or someone by my side. Eventually I learned to adapt and then felt it again after Kylan was born. The stares don’t get easy no matter how many times you have gone through it. I never realized how rude and childlike ADULTS can be. I try to convince myself that they are curious to ask, but don’t know how to without being rude.
- What people says
I’ve expressed how some people can never keep their thoughts to themselves and is easy to put you at blame. Well they also can’t help but say the craziest things like superstitions.
I have heard growing up that cleft happens because the mom ate tuna out of a can during her pregnancy…. I have no idea how that makes sense. Whatever floats their boat I guess… So, I guess my grandma, my mom and myself are to blame. I want to add I despised canned tuna during my second pregnancy so that myth is a fail.
I also heard if you are outside during a solar eclipse it can cause a cleft… ERRK so wrong. There are probably more than I did not hear of. People just try to make understanding of things they are unsure of. Which I get, just keep it far away from a cleft parent that is the last thing they need to hear.
Cleft specialist will be able to give tips and special nipples to help with feeding. But they cannot express how it can be difficult and tiring especially for mothers who want to nurse their tiny toes. Feeding a cleft baby can take a little longer than it does to feed a baby without cleft. Just got to work together with your baby and you will eventually find their niche’.
- Surgery Time
Weeks before each surgery my anxiety is always at level 20. I don’t think any parent can prep themselves for surgery. Kissing your baby before sending them off with the OR team is the hardest part. I’ve had sleepless nights before surgery day (which does not help you later). I tell you how to prepare for surgery day, except having a support team is a big help. If you’re a spiritual person praying is a plus. Most importantly don’t go without eating. You will need all the energy you can get. If need be to get some rest sleep with your little one in your arms I am sure they’d love that too. Mines was stuck to me like glue right after surgery, I couldn’t get a bathroom break.
- You Will Hate Hearing “What Happened?”
I understand these are coming from people who has no clue whatsoever of Cleft. Honestly, I HATE hearing it though. Perhaps there is a better way of asking. Every time I hear that question it’s like a tug at my heart. I heard it a lot growing up and it was annoying. My oldest son Kaison gets annoyed when he is asked. I guess for us it makes us feel uncomfortable and reminds us that the world still sees our differences no matter how hard we try not to notice the stares. I try to tell him they’re coming from a good place, there is just no good way of asking. At least these folks can ask and not assume. I heard many crazy theories in my days and that will be on another topic.
We can never prepare ourselves, but at least we can know a little about what to expect. Seeing your baby in tears is not the easiest. Let’s do our best to build their confidence. And just keep on loving them! Till next time…
Keep smiling & have a blessed day!!