Rishi Bordoloi from the interiors of the Morigaon district of Assam is our Child of May. Rishi’s background story reflected the non-medical problems of having a child with a cleft deformity. When Rishi’s parents visited us on 15th May, we met a nine-month-old boy who was friendly but at the same time experiencing the challenges of the cleft.
While interviewing the family, we came to know about the hardships Anupama (Rishi’s mother) faced being the mom of a cleft child. She confided she and the family had to face ‘embarrassment’ upon his birth. ‘Cleft’ had made the family cut off all social connections and confine themselves to their home. Out of shame, the family locked themselves within their four walls, full of broken hopes and shattered dreams. Life was difficult for Anupama because her cleft-child was always cranky and hard to manage.
Anupama had been consistent in her caring for the child and Rishi weighed a good 6.5 kg when he came to us. The cleft lip surgery took place on 16th May- both parents wept tears of joy as they held him in the OR after surgery. It was as if Rishi was born again and they were beholding their child for the first time after his birth.
At the 7-day post-operative check-up, Anupama looked happy and stress-free. She said that a great burden has been taken off their shoulders. She shared her joy with us and said that Mission Smile was a blessing not only for Rishi but also for her and the family.
Two days back when we called up to find out how Rishi is doing post-operatively, the smile on Anupama’s face was almost audible! “Life is so much better now after Rishi’s surgery”, she said.
“Ever since the surgery, Rishi is feeding well and is no longer cranky and difficult to manage as before.” Also, that her neighbors and relatives are now more relaxed with Rishi and treating him like any other normal child. Almost as an after-thought she also added, “I have also started to socialize again. I now visit wherever I am invited”.
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