My life with a cleft lip and palate.
I was born in
A cleft lip is a separation between the upper lip and mouth. Sometimes there can be a split between one nostril (unilateral cleft) and both (bilateral cleft.). I was extremely lucky that I was only born with one split as this meant my treatment wasn’t as severe as if I had been born with both. A cleft palate is when the palate has not completely formed and is not joined together. This may occur at the back of the palate (soft palate) or all the way through both palates (soft palate and hard palate.) Once again I was extremely lucky to have been born with the least problematic condition. Some babies are also born with heart conditions.
About 1/600 babies are born with a cleft lip and palate. The condition is treatable and there is no reason why a child can’t have a childhood like other children, as long as their carers are supportive and playa positive role in the production of their self-esteem.
If left untreated it could cause social difficulties for a child, including educational loss and problems making friends. Luckily the NHS has the equipment and skilled surgeons to treat each child born with cleft lip and palate in the
Being born and growing up with a deformity isn’t easy, as people can use this as an excuse to be a bully. Name calling was a huge problem for me at school, and this made me weary of those around me in all social issues. The most hurtful comment I received was whilst I was having dinner at my Secondary school. A very stupid boy in a year above me called me Bubba. He was a character in the film Forest Gump whose bottom lip stuck out far due to having “big gums.” I hated people commenting on the way I looked. As far as I am concerned it was no ones business and one day I wouldn’t have that intrusive lip, but reminding me of this didn’t take away the hurt I felt inside. Also, people (including adults) thought they had right to remind me every day that my lip stuck out. Walking past down the street or in the school corridor I would often see people pushing their lip out in a way to make fun of me.
When the new cleft unit opened at