Five-month-old baby Logan Hatfield is lovingly adored by his older brother Jackson and his older sister Adalyn. According to his mother Jenna, his name means “little warrior” — and after he faced a difficult diagnosis, he proved he is exactly that. But his parents are also warriors in their own right.
Logan was born with a cleft lip and palate, a separation of the skin on the top lip and the incomplete formation of the roof of the mouth. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, one in every 700 babies is born with both like Logan was, and the condition is treatable, requiring surgeries to correct the problems. Still, it can be a frightening diagnosis for a parent to hear. That’s why his mother wrote a poem sharing her fears and her hopes for her son. She writes:
Here we sit in the quiet, in the middle of the night
I’m cuddling, snuggling, holding you tight
And I can’t help but think of the journey we’re on
Of all of the bumps in a road that’s quite long
The surgeries you’ll face and the pain you’ll endure
And for what? Why’d this happen? Of that I’m not sure
We’ve just barely started, there’s so much time left
I think back to the day we first heard the word “cleft”
It seems like just yesterday, but also so long
Since we sat in that room and found out what was wrong
There were tears, there was fear, there were feelings so mixed
And all people said was, “oh that can be fixed”
I worried so much about how you would feed
And would I be everything that you would need?
Would I see you the way I saw your sister and brother?
Would I be all that you needed and more in a mother?
And don’t get me wrong, I know there’s much worse
But I grieved you, my last baby, not able to nurse
Would we have the same bond? Would you love me as much?
Would you feel just as safe in the hands of my touch?
But with you here in my arms now, sleeping sound on my chest
You’ve managed to put all my worries to rest
You are everything I needed and more in a son
And for that I am grateful, I feel like I’ve won
You have taught me so much in such a short time
And to put it quite simply, you’re the best thing that’s mine
Facing a child’s diagnosis is incredibly difficult, but when that child is still in the womb, some parents struggle even more. In fact, back in 2016, word spread that the number of British babies aborted because of a cleft lip or palate had risen dramatically. From 2011 to 2012 to the number of preborn British children killed for this reason was four. In 2015, 11 children were aborted for a cleft lip or palate. From 2011 to 2016, a total of 30 babies were aborted for the treatable condition.
When Church of England curate, the Reverend Joanna Jepsen, learned that a 28-week viable preborn child was aborted because of a cleft palate she called for the doctor who committed the abortion to be prosecuted. And when Matt Martin’s son Cam was born with a cleft palate in 2018 in Texas, a friend told him, “Come on, of all people, you should understand why someone would want to abort a cleft baby.” It’s discrimination, and as Jepson said, it “shows just how far we are from being the humane and tolerant society we claim to be.”
But little Logan and his mom are showing the world that cleft palate or not, life is worth living. Though there will be challenges and fears to overcome, babies with the condition are not better off dead.
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