So I had an emotional day yesterday. I think it was because of Sunday. We went to BBQ at Paul's aunt and uncles house. Paul's family was there and there were also people I had never met before. I bundled Jesse up because it was pretty cool outside and it was an outdoor party. I think I dressed him quite well. Anyway, at events like this I always feel like I am being judged. Judged as a mother. I ask myself these questions over and over. I wonder what other people think. Paul tells me he doesn't care, that I shouldn't care, that we are doing a good job as parents. I try not to react to some of Jesse's challenges, so he doesn't become the kid who freaks out everytime something happens. Like he gets "chokey". Because of his cleft palate he gets this chokey thing going on. He's kind of choking on his saliva. But he's not really choking, he's still breathing, it just goes down the wrong pipe per say. I don't want to freak out when it happens because then he will. I play it cool and tell him he's ok. This is one thing that I think I am judged on. I think people who see this are like, "omg, she didn't even pick up her own child when he was choking, what kind of mother does that".
I don't think people around us realize the challenges we face with his cleft. Yes, he had his lip repaired, but it's his palate that causes more problems. Eating is certainly a challenge. When he ate only formula he was having a hard time with the sucking. We cut the nipples but it still took a long time to get a bottle down. Things got better after the lip surgery and I switched nipples to the silicone ones and those are also cut. What really made the difference in his weight gain and development was the cereal and baby food. He eats really well. BUT that also brought on a new challenge. Since the cleft in his palate leads right to his nasal cavity, food will go up there. Sometimes it happens from a sneeze, sometimes from a cough or sometimes he'll be eating and it will just start oozing out his nose. Obviously this can't be all that comfortable, but again, I don't react. I just move forward with the feeding session. His cleft makes him sneeze more and cough more than your average kid. This doesn't mean he's sick. It's because more air goes through there and makes him sneeze or cough. It makes quite the mess when he sneezes while eating, but what can you do, it's going to happen.
Back to the judging. I guess because I was uneducated about clefts before I had a child with one, I assume other people are also uneducated. I constantly feel like people think I did something wrong to cause his birth defect. Like that I didn't take my vitamins, like I took meds I wasn't supposed to. Or that they think I smoke and drank a lot during my pregnancy or something. The truth is that I have no idea why it happened. I didn't do anything wrong. I ate good food, took my vitamins, wasn't at all negligent in my pregnancy. No one knows why clefts happen unless it's genetic. In our case there's no family history, so it's probably not genetic. Paul was telling me last night that WE know there's no reason why he was born with a birth defect and WE are the only ones that matter. I should stop caring what other people think. I should stop explaining and spewing out statistics to everyone that he encounters. He's probably right. I should stop caring what other people think. The only people that matter are Paul, Jesse and myself. Paul doesn't blame me, I shouldn't blame myself and when Jesse is old enough we will explain it to him.