You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on widesmiles.org.

This one is about: Why We Miss the Cleft


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Why We Miss the Cleft

by Vickie Gentry (posted to cleft-talk)

Someone posted about being surprised that the cleft was gone. Sorry, I don't remember who. Anyway, that got me to thinking about when my son had his surgery.

When he was born, it was a bit of a surprise. We were expecting the cleft, but it was still a surprise. The first thing you do with your new child is to bond with them, whether it is at the airport, or the delivery room, or... you begin to form a very special bond with that tiny spark of life that is so very precious to you. Everything that you see is a part of that child, the tiny toes, the miniature fingers, the beautiful eyes that gaze at you asking if you will take care of me, the soft little cheeks. Everything that you see is a part of that little person that is your child. Nothing in this world is more precious, and everything that you see is just perfect, despite "imperfections".

This is why a parent looks at a child and tells that child, with perfect honesty, that that child is the most beautiful person alive. I firmly believe that my son is absolutely the most wonderful human being alive! He is the most handsome. His hair is the most beautiful. His eyes are the most perfect shade of blue. His skin is the most wonderful peaches and cream. His laugh is the most wonderful symphony ever heard by my ears. His voice is the sweetest (I could listen to it all day long.) He is the most clever. He is a budding genius! I firmly believe that it is part of being a mom to give her child that vision of himself.

The initial bonding is to that face, cleft and all, and the mom and dad love that face, it is part of their baby and they love it dearly. But then, against all of our instincts, we take that child in to be changed, and they re-arrange our beautiful child's wonderful face. This hurts us a great deal, it looks like a different person, that little face that we have looked at and searched and gotten to know every square centimeter, that is as familiar as our own face, is different now.

That face that we love so very much is gone and this new face is put in its place. We bond with that face again too, but still miss that baby face. I hope that this helps to explain some of what it is like for a parent. Some of what makes it even more confusing is that everyone is telling us that we should be happy, but it is bittersweet.


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