You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on widesmiles.org.
This one is about: Aids to Acceptance
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AIDS TO ACCEPTANCE
Having a child with an unexpected birth defect is difficult. Acceptance is at times a struggle. That's normal, and nobody should compound the issue by feeling guilty that acceptance and resolution do not come immediately. For me, the following as helped me accept by daughter's cleft:
1. Viewing my daughter as a normal healthily kid, who just happens to have a cleft. I think this is really important. This is how the hospital staff and everyone has always treated her.
2. Realizing that it can be fixed.
3. Information. Gather as much information as you can. One of the first things we did when we got home from the hospital was search the web for information. We instantly found the WideSmiles site and later got hooked up with this group. Without the information on the WideSmiles site, I think we would have been lost.
4. Looking beyond the cleft. I think one of the hardest things for me to accept initially was how beautiful my daughter was. Everyone kept telling us how beautiful and cute she was, but I didn't believe them. I realize now that they were able to look beyond her cleft and see her as the person she is. It just took me a little longer to catch on. Now, I brag about her all the time! She has the most adorable smile!
5. Try to let go of the guilt. This is a hard one and something that I am not totally sure I have done. It's tough not knowing why it happened. I was an adopted child myself, so I don't know my family medical history. I keep thinking that if I only knew that it ran in the family, I wouldn't feel like I did something wrong during the first weeks of pregnancy. Regardless, I am trying very hard to let go of the guilt.
6. Find a support group of some sort. My cyber friends on cleft-talk have really been a great!
I hope this helps. It does get easier as time passes.
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