Your dream has died. The little button nose and the sweet little cupidís bow is not there. Instead, you look upon your newborn child and see an incomplete upper lip, a nose canted off to one side, missing gums and a gap running along the hard and soft palates. You are devastated.
Itís Not Your Fault
There are many causes of Cleft Lip and Palate; among some are heredity, insufficient folic acid and something called "spontaneous mutation." (A change in a chromosome developing without apparent external influence, force, cause, or treatment.)
"One child in 700 is born with a cleft. It is the fourth most common birth defect, and the first most common facial birth defect. And yet so many parents feel so alone." Joanne Green, Owner - WIDESMILES
This is not a time to assign guilt. This is the time to make some important decisions. The most important of which are Empowerment and Advocacy.
Get the information you need to empower yourself in order to become an advocate for your child.
I can tell you how to do both in two words: Wide Smiles. www.widesmiles.org
"WIDE SMILES was
formed to ensure that parents of cleft-affected children do not have to feel
alone. We offer support, inspiration, information and networking for families
everywhere who may be dealing with the challenges associated with clefting.
At WIDE SMILES we believe that, while it may not have been wonderful that our children were born with cleft, it is nonetheless true that our children who were born with cleft are wonderful. Together we share the struggle, the pain, the joy and the triumph of watching our children grow. Their challenges may be many, but we can face them together, learn from each other and help our children to recognize their beauty within." Joanne Green, Owner - WIDESMILES
WIDE SMILES has a message board called Cleft-Talk. This support group goes a long way in helping you cope with the many decisions you have ahead of you. I found WIDE SMILES and Cleft-Talk when my son was three. The help and support I found here was invaluable.
Through Cleft Talk I felt empowered with the knowledge I needed to be a true advocate for my son. Just as importantly, I found a group of friends who had already walked the road I was walking. Their love, support and willingness to share made those horrible hours in the waiting room more bearable, if that is possible, because I knew that I had been given the information needed to ensure that I was doing what was best for my son.
I cannot thank Wide Smiles and Cleft Talk enough. I am eternally in your debt, Joanne.
Finally - this says it all.