Some time ago I came across a beautiful book that that touched my heart and which I’d like to share with you. I Wish I’d Known…How Much I’d Love You is a compilation of stories written by parents of children born with cleft lip and palate.
I strongly recommend this book to everyone who’s either expecting a baby with cleft or who’s already the proud mother or father of a cleft affected child. Not only is it a gem of inspirational stories, but it also contains helpful advice and information about cleft from parents with first hand experience.
Many parents go through a grieving period after finding out that their baby has a cleft. They feel sad, depressed, worried and frightened but, as every story in this book demonstrates, a cleft child is just as beautiful and perfect in the eyes of their parents as a child without cleft.
That’s not to deny that cleft affected children and their parents face a particular set of challenges including surgery, feeding, speech therapy, etc. But, as one parent points out, among all the challenges facing children and parents, the cleft is only a small part.
“I Wish I’d Known…that raising my cleft affected child would not be any different than raising my non affected child.”
“I Wish I’d Known…that despite his clefts, my son is just like any other baby.”
Several parents testify to falling in love with their newborn baby’s cleft smile and feeling conflicted upon seeing their baby for the first time after surgery.
“I Wish I’d Known…that I would come to live this smile so much and that I would be sad when the cleft was gone.”
“I Wish I’d Known…how all the worries would fade away as soon as I saw her face!”
“I Wish I’d Known…that when I would hold him in my arms, nothing else would matter. He was precious and perfect just the way he was.”
“I Wish I’d Known…how much I would fall in love with my daughter’s wide smile.”
There’s so much wisdom, compassion and love in these stories and implicit in each and every one is a parent’s deep knowing that their child is born whole.
PS. There’s still time to make a donation to my fundraising drive on behalf of Smile Train. I’m hoping to raise £2000 by Christmas Eve and with a little help from you, it looks like I will meet that target. If you’d like to make a contribution, please click here. Your support is much appreciated!