Rishi Bordoloi from the interiors of the Morigaon district of Assam was our Child of May 2017. Rishi’s background story reflected the non-medical problems of having a child with a cleft deformity. Rishi’s parents visited us on 15th May 2017. We met a nine-month-old boy who was friendly but at the same time experiencing the challenges of the cleft.
We interviewed the family. Thus, 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. They were 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. So, 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 after the 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 after 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 neighbours and relatives are now more relaxed with Rishi and treating him like any other normal child. Almost as an afterthought she also added, “I have also started to socialize again. I now visit wherever I am invited”.
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