The crucial period of 9 months – carrying and experiencing a growing life inside a womb is undoubtedly the most exciting journey for couples. Joy and Supriya Maity too were eagerly waiting to see their third child. However, they were shocked to find their baby boy Sibu born with cleft lip and palate deformities.
We first met Sibu, the 9-month old baby boy at our recently launched Kolkata Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre (KC4). We were heart-broken to see such a cute child suffering from acute difficulties of cleft since birth. Little Sibu’s plight made us even more resolute in our mission to gift him his long-desired smile at KC4.
While we interviewed the parents, we came to know that being unaware of cleft, Sibu’s parents were confused on whether this deformity is curable or it is a life-long curse. Completely shattered, scared and worried, the parents couldn’t decide what to do next and where to approach for help. Supriya (the mother) broke into tears while she narrated her experience. She said, that due to his son’s cleft deformity they were cursed by their community. To add to her misery, Supriya found it very difficult to breastfeed the baby due to the presence of cleft.
Cleft babies cannot be breastfed in the usual position as a normal baby. Babies with a cleft of the lip and palate often require special bottles and nipples and likely will work with a cleft feeding specialist to ensure adequate feeding method and nutrition.
Sibu’s parent earns a daily wage of Rs. 200. With this meager income it was impossible for his father to bear the high expenses of cleft surgeries. But as it is said- where there’s a will there’s a way. The family didn’t lose hope and finally they came to know about Mission Smile’s Kolkata Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre where we provide comprehensive cleft care treatment to children and adults suffering from cleft deformities. Coming to KC4 was the turning point for Sibu’s family. Now they’ll no longer feel ashamed and embarrassed about their son and will again be a part of their community.
Sibu was brought to us with the hope of a smile. Our team screened him and made him ready for the surgery. He was finally operated at KC4 by our doctors on 11th August. Sibu will soon embrace life like children of his age and we’re certain that he’ll smile like any normal person throughout his life without ever feeling left out.
Sibu Maity the 9 month old baby found his smile back. But there are thousands of cleft affected children who require corrective surgeries and comprehensive cleft care. At KC4 we’re working towards bringing more and more smiles to children affected with cleft lip and cleft palate deformities.
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