Saturday, 31 May 2008

More pics

I noticed a poster at Guildford train station highlighting the plight of babies born in Africa with clefts. The poster has pictures of 6 kids born with clefts and the headline reads,

'If you think it's difficult to look at, try living with it'

I totally understand the reason behing the poster, it's intially intended to shock and then shame passers-by into making a donation. However I bet the artworker or account manager responsible for the ad doesn't have a kid born with a cleft! I found myself thinking 'Fuck you Mr. Ad man, my baby's going to be beautiful, how dare you etc, etc'.

The point is that babies born with a cleft are very different and yes, the first time to look, you will be shocked to a point. The you look again, then again, then you do a bit of research and eventually you see right past the cleft and then just as you're fully used to it, the baby has the cleft repaired and before you know it's a distant memory. I think I've written already that a lot of parents report back of being upset when they see their baby return from surgery. Although the birth defect has been corrected, their baby's face has been changed. In another context you can understand why they would be upset, but right now I can't see that. I'm sure I'll change but right now I just want a time machine which transports me to Summer 09 after the success of operation number 2. I am not the most patient of people.

When I read the book on fatherhood the writer wrote a chapter on 'competitive dad syndrome', the crux of which was about how we only see beauty and perfection in our own children, whilst everyone else's baby is a hideous monstrosity! I know that if our baby was born bright green with two heads, I'd love it but I'm still worried about the reaction of other people. That said, I walked down Guildford high street today and struggled to see an attractive adult; seriously most people are properly ugly in this town so I reckon that with Clare's looks and my, er, er, sense of humour (?) our kid should do just fine!

I've joined a group on Facebook for parents with or expecting babies with a cleft and thought it would be good to show some before and afters.

Jacob at 3 months

Looks alright to me!
A unilateral complete cleft lip
You wouldn't look twice
This boy was born with a particularly severe complete bilateral (both sides) cleft lip and palate.


shantioverseas said...

saw the photo of boy with complete bilatral cleft lip & palate.

sir, my son is also born with bilateral cleft lip & palate... can you please guide me further on this & the most important the best surgeon who can perfor this type of operations?

Ashish Kacholia

James Fernie said...

Hi there - I would obviously recommend Mr Piet Haers who did Jake's operations but I don't know if you will have access to him. If you contact the Smile Train, they will be able to advise of how to organise the operations for your child.

Good luck