|Rowan at age 7 weeks|
My oldest child, Rowan, was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate in May of 2002. We didn't know about his mouth before he was born, so those first few minutes after his birth were shocking - to put it mildly.
Because of that experience, I am very aware of the different worries and emotions a family might experience when it's time to welcome their own special needs infant into the world. I've been a volunteer with the cleftAdvocate Pathfinder program for the last 10 years, and know the importance of having someone by your side who can validate your emotions - especially those that are uncomfortable to talk about with anyone else. I can honestly say that I understand, because I've been there myself.
There is a special, grief tinged joy that comes with the birth of a special needs infant. You might need to take things one day at a time, or even one hour at a time. Sometimes you don't feel any connection to your baby, or fear getting close. You may experience feelings of incredible anger towards other mothers, or deep sadness over any number of things. Any and all of this is normal, and if there is anything I can do to help you through it, I will. The important part of this time is that you do not have to travel that path alone.