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 Kolkata Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre (KC4) in 2017. We were heartbroken to see such a cute child suffering from acute cleft difficulties 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 realised that being unaware of cleft, Sibu’s parents were confused about 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 cleft.
Cleft babies cannot be breastfed in the usual position as a regular 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 earned a daily wage of Rs. 200 during that time. With this meagre income, his father couldn’t bear the high expenses of cleft surgeries. But as it is said- where there’s a will, there’s away. 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. Our doctors finally operated on at KC4 on 11th August 2017. Sibu embraced life like children of his age, and we’re confident that he’ll continue smiling like any average person throughout his life without ever feeling left out.
Sibu Maity, the then 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.
We require YOUR HELP to support us. DONATE to Mission Smile