A year ago we were told that Brody was going to be born with a cleft lip and possible palate. I walked into the ultrasound appointment naïve.

I left the appointment broken and scared.

I had spent the last remaining months of my pregnancy mourning the loss of what my “perfect” child was supposed to be instead of embracing the fact that of all the things that could have potentially went wrong, didn’t. I worried about what others would think. I also questioned my ability to be a good parent to a baby who would have specific needs. Would he be loved as much as the child I had dreamt about?

And then Brody was born.

I wish I would have known a year ago how much I would have loved his wide smile. I wish I would have believed the people around me that kept saying “He IS going to be PERFECT”. I wish I would have listened to them when they followed it with “Everything is going to be okay”, because it is.

A year ago I would have never believed it if you told me we were going to get through this first year. With all of the surgeries, appointments, and tube feedings Brody stayed smiling through it all.

That is the hope I want to give another family.

Your world may seem like it was just flipped upside down, believe me, I’ve been there but with every little thing you can be discouraged about, your baby’s cleft will also bring you so many things to celebrate.

We’ve had speed bumps, curve balls, and discouraging moments but isn’t that parenthood?

This past year has taught me how to use my voice (and Brody’s adorable pictures) to help educate the curious, guide the unknowledgeable, and most importantly sympathize with other new cleft parents all over the world.

To family, friends, perinatal nurses, NICU nurses, Pediatricians and Craniofacial clinic that have been here for support and to answer our millions of questions over the year, THANK YOU.