This Father’s Day we’re asking dads everywhere to share their stories of parenting a child with a cleft. What have you learnt which you wish you’d known when you started your journey? We think that you have a unique story to tell, even if you think your experiences are unremarkable, they could really help other parents.
Your stories could be about anything related to your experience with cleft, perhaps you found a good way of coping with the fear of sending your tiny baby into surgery or supporting your child with issues they’ve faced growing up which other dads might really benefit from. Even if you just want to brag about how great your kid is, please share your story with us.
For both Barry, whose son Elliot was born in 1997, and Andy, whose son, Aiden, was born in 2012, having other parents to talk to was really important.
“We had the usual emotional turmoil after the diagnosis. Did we do something wrong? Was it my age. Is it in the family, Why us! Everyone else seemed to have perfect babies. It took a little time for us to move from having a cleft with a baby to having a baby with cleft.
“We got in contact with CLAPA who gave us a lot of good advice. We were invited to visit someone with a young daughter at their home. This was fantastic for us to meet a family with a child with a cleft leading a normal life. It was just what we needed.” – Barry
“Sometimes having the human angle rather than ‘medical opinion’, if that makes sense, offers you that something extra…Until you actually become a father or mother you never quite realise the effect children will have on your life. One thing is for sure he means the world to me no matter what!” – Andy
Take Tony, who in 2012 took part in the 25th Annual Tough Guy race to raise money for CLAPA, a race so challenging that entrants have to sign a “death warrant” absolving the organisers of liability in case of any injuries, and so tough that typically up to one-third of those brave enough to start the race fail to finish.
“When I crossed the finish line I felt like a broken shadow of the man that started the race and three days later I still feel exhausted and aching in places I didn’t realise could ache! All worth it though.
“Ashton and all the other cleft children out there are the real tough guys. I just wanted to get Ashton a medal to prove it and I was mentally prepared to do whatever it took to cross that finish line and get it for him.”
“With the many challenges and obstacles that lie ahead for Ashton I hope that, when he is old enough to understand, he can take some inspiration from what I’ve done (and will continue to do) to help him achieve his own goals and ambitions. Regardless of what may be in store for the future Ashton will never have do it on his own as, myself and his mum, Vicky, and all of our family will be always be there for him to help him along and support him through anything.”
Send Us Your Story
Whether it’s a full article or just a paragraph about how much your little one means to you, we’d love to hear your stories.