“Stop staring! It’s rude,” the embarrassed mom loudly whispers to her daughter before she drags her away from us. My daughter Campbell, who is in a wheelchair, is fortunately looking elsewhere at the time.
I just stand and watch the situation unfold and observe the child as she looks at her mom with a guilty face and then mutters, “I’m sorry” before turning back once more to look at us.
“Don’t be sorry,” I silently think to myself, “it’s okay to look. Once you get to know her, she’s not so different from you.”
The first thing we faced when Campbell was born was a bilateral cleft lip and palate. I had a healthy pregnancy and nothing abnormal was detected during the one ultrasound at twenty weeks. When she was born, we were surprised that she had a craniofacial abnormality.
I’m often asked if I wished I had known prior to her birth. Honestly, I contemplate that question myself. I instantly said it wouldn’t have mattered because I would love her just the same. I refused having the usual pre-natal genetic testing with her anyways. I even felt that it might have been better not knowing since I didn’t worry beforehand.