My daughter, Isabella Grace, was born on April 12, 2017 at 9:45 am. I took a photo of her at about 9:50.  There was no hesitation in sending it from the delivery room to a select group of people almost immediately to let them know that she was here.

This was the photo I sent:

Yes, my daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate. While everything else about her was 100% healthy, when it came to posting on social or even when people see her in public, I had some reservations at first.  Even after announcing via my blog that we had gotten that news during the anatomy scan at 19 weeks there was still a bit of hesitation. What would people say? Would people make rude comments and upset myself or more importantly, my wife and the mother of this beautiful girl?

I had to quickly get past the nervousness and simply stand up for my daughter the same way that I would expect her to stand up for herself later. There is nothing wrong with my daughter. She simply doesn’t have the left side of her top lip. That was it. She’s still a gorgeous baby that makes full eye contact at only a few days old.

As a father, you know that your daughter is going to be beautiful. As a father of a child with a cleft lip/palate, or any other birth defect remember that she’s your daughter first…that “thing” that is “wrong” with her is just a thing. It doesn’t define her. Now, after having my daughter in my arms for almost two weeks, the fear / hesitation is subsiding. From time to time, it will creep back in, mostly in public with people who I don’t know fawning over a baby and then taking a peek into the stroller. But so far, so good. Whether they make a comment to themselves later…I don’t know…and honestly, I don’t care. They’ve been pleasant to our tiny family that is just starting out.

What was your biggest fear after your first child? Looking back…was it worth being that scared/nervous about it? I would love to hear your thoughts below or on the Facebook page.


Matt Hannaford on Twitter
Matt Hannaford
Matt is the proud dad of a daughter born in April of 2017 after over three years of struggling with getting pregnant. Isabella was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate and is truly their miracle baby. In addition to blogging about his experiences and his family journey he is the Vice President of LifeFlip Media, a PR agency focused on primarily veteran-owned businesses.