The Story of Us
Self-employed entrepreneur, branding and packaging professional, and baby food blogger at nomnommum.com, Nameeta Sohoni, shares an inspiring story of how she was determined to nurse her baby girl Tara, suffering from a cleft lip and palate, to give her th
My husband Rajiv, who is a singercomposer, and has composed and sung for several television ad films and movies, and I always wanted two children, if not three. We like the idea of parenting, nurturing and trying to attain an impermeable family unit. So really there wasn’t ever a debate on how many, just the matter of finding a suitable time to start our family. Both our children, have been a blessing to us in more ways than one. With Trilok, I discovered parenting. Apart from enjoying reading to him and gardening with him, he helped me unravel my joy for cooking, which led me to blogging about baby food. My style of parenting with him is one of introspection. I am learning to tune myself to him. Sometimes, he displays maturity beyond his years. What I’ve come to realise with him is that I must be careful; he is my weakness. With Tara, I’ve learnt the true meaning of faith and patience, of strength and perseverance. My parenting style with her is largely tailored around her personality. She is strong-willed and rugged. I have to be her guide, but practice restraint. The truth is, she guides me; she is my strength.
Bun in the oven
My first pregnancy and delivery was fairly uneventful. I had Trilok via water birth and I knew that’s how I wanted my second baby delivered, too. With the usual niggles there was a lot to be thankful for. I got pregnant with Tara soon after Trilok turned two and we were over the moon! The initial weeks proceeded as usual. Then, the time for my scheduled 17th week anomaly scan arrived. We bummed around at the ultrasound oblivious to the news that awaited us. Rajiv stepped out to drop my son off to play-school. I assured him that I’d be okay. We’d been through the drill before. Moments later I was transferred to a room that seemed like it had a more evolved scanner. That’s okay though, I wasn’t worried. Just as soon as the probe gave me a 3D view of my bub, I froze. I stared at the screen knowing what I was looking at before the sonographer could
even break it to me. It was so intuitive, almost like I knew that this was going to happen. I braced myself and asked her if we were looking at a cleft lip. With a quiet ‘hmmm’ and a nod, she confirmed my doubts. It was evident that the cleft was rather wide and that the palate would be involved too. Tara had a “complete unilateral cleft lip and palate,” we were told. The sound of silence was blaring in my head and ears, and I had pins and needles running all the way up to my head, but I composed myself and asked Rajiv to come back soon. Of course, I was devastated and while I stopped myself short of getting hysterical, I was crying. Finally, I composed myself enough to ask my doctor, “How do we equip ourselves to care for this baby?” She held my hand gently and responded, “I will help you figure this out.” The drive back home was dark. I let go of that composure and all hell broke loose. I was swinging between Googling the condition to being horrified that I potentially wouldn’t be able to put my baby to my breast. There were hoards of questions plaguing me all at once. What were we going to do? How was I to feed this baby? Would the speech be affected? How many surgeries were we looking at? Which doctors were we to consult? Hospitals? At the time one thing was clear, Rajiv was my rock. We went back home and broke the news to our folks. They reassured us that they were going to welcome their grandchild and this time it was to be no different than the first. Both sets braved the news and were with us unconditionally for every decision we took and lovingly lent us comfort, no questions asked. For such wonderful parents, we are truly blessed and grateful. As far as Trilok was concerned, I wanted to normalise facial differences at home. We’re all the same no matter what. I started talking to him about how he was going to have a beautiful baby brother or sister and that he or she was going to
A cleft lip and palate is a condition wherein the upper lip and palate don’t gain full closure, thereby leaving the nasal and oral cavity open. There can be a variety of cleft lips and palates and no two clefts are the same. Sometimes babies are also born with syndromes and genetic factors that result in a cleft, sometimes these are isolated cases. In any case, there are too many variables, much like a thumbprint.