Happypinaymommy Reflections: Zacha’s Smileversary


(All Images in this Blog Post have been provided by Mommy Seema Savoie, and are approved for publication)

It has been more than two months since my last post, and my ideas for the topics that I should be writing about is getting longer as weeks pass. As I was trying to organize these titles and topics, I came across fellow mom blogger, and natural parenting advocate Mommy Seema’s post on her little Zacha’s “smileversary.”

I thought of asking her if we can share her reflection here, as her experience will surely inspire us. So without further ado, sharing with you Mommy Seema’s reflections on –

Zacha’s Second Smileversary

By: Mommy Seema Alexa Maryetta Savoie

Hi mothers! I wanted to share with you our story and hopefully inspire you that whatever it is that you’re going through, kung tingin mo man, sobrang bagsak ka na, may dahilan ang lahat. Just be strong and magtiwala sa Diyos. 🙂

Today is Zacha’s second Smileversary. To those of you who are not familiar with the term, Smileversay is the day Zacha had his Cheiloplasty (Cleft Lip Surgery). I feel very senti about today because I miss his first smile. His first smile will always be his best smile for me.

To lighten my mood, I created a slideshow of his pictures from Day 1 up to date. Achievement unlocked po ito, I feel very proud of myself because it’s the first time na gumamit ako ng Windows MovieMaker and I survived! I wanted to share with you how Zacha is in 32mos.

Being a cleft mom taught me a lot of things. This experience has shook but strengthen my faith in God. It made me realize that anything can happen to you and you have to face it, deal with it and come out stronger than you’ve ever been before. 🙂

Let me share with you our Cleft Journey.

I think it was the worse day of my life. When you’re a first time mom, you want everything to be perfect, you are scared and excited at the same time. You dread the day the baby will come out because of the horror stories you hear that it will be painful but you also can’t wait for that day to come because the pain will be worth it!

It was the 5th of March, and on the 5th month of my pregnancy. I was going to have a Congenital Anomaly Scan. We knew the baby is going to be a boy the month before. Honestly, I was excited to have the CAS done. Ang worry ko pa noon ay baka kulang ang mga daliri niya sa kamay or paa. Never did it cross my mind that something wrong was going to happen.

My OB is a chatty person. Lagi niya ako dinadaldal during check up, would even ask random questions and not related to my pregnancy but she was awfully quiet that day while she was checking me. She checked the fingers and toes at kumpleto sila. Tumawa pa ako. She checked the body, bones, stomach, lungs etc. When she reached the head, she stopped talking. I knew something was wrong.

She let out a sigh. The next thing she said tore my world apart. “Parang may cleft si baby.” Hindi ako makagalaw, nanlamig ako, my heart stopped. Totoo pala yun. Yung slow motion. Yung malabo silang lahat sa paningin mo. They are talking pero di mo sila maintindihan tapos umiikot ang paligid.

My OB was telling me something but I couldn’t understand. My husband and OB were talking about solutions and what might have caused it. OB said that up to this day, there is still no known cause ng pagkakaron ng baby ng cleft. It could be a number of things daw. Lack of folic acid, smoking, took antibiotics, genes. Yung pagkadulas po ay walang kinalaman dun.

Inside the examination room, I did not shed a tear but I couldn’t think straight. Ang naaalala ko, I asked my OB if it can still be fixed while the baby is growing inside me. Hindi daw, we have to wait until the baby comes out and get bigger.

Tinanong ko rin kung makakapagbreastfeed ako. It was important for me. Kaya lang hindi daw sigurado. Slim chance dahil nga sa cleft. Paglabas namin sa Exam room, and I saw my mom sabi ko “may cleft si baby”, niyakap ko agad siya at dun na bumuhos yung luha na kanina ko pa pinipigil.

Sobrang sakit. Masakit pa nung time na naghiwalay ang parents ko. Mas masakit nung nalaman kong may ibang babae yung ex ko. Humagugol ako. Naglupasay pa. Nakakahiya nga thinking about it now, but then, I didn’t care. I just wanted to let it all out. Si Doc, yung nurse and ibang pregnant moms cried with me. Sabi ng pinsan ko na kasama namin, okay lang daw, si JC De Vera nga daw may cleft pero naging artista. I knew she was only trying to make me feel better but it didn’t help ease the pain.

We kept it in the quiet, close family members lang ang may alam. They kept telling me that it was okay. That it’s not something that can’t be fixed. And I wanted to yell at them, that they don’t understand the pain I was going through.

Ang nasa isip ko nun, hindi pa man siya pinapanganak, he already failed at something. And I already failed him. I wasn’t able to take good care of him. Nagalit ako sa Diyos. 1 out of 700 babies na pinapanganak ay nagkakaron ng cleft, so why me out of 700 mommies? I kept asking him, Why me? I have been a faithful servant. Masipag ako magsimba, my whole life, I served him. So why me? Sinumbatan ko siya. Sobrang sumama talaga yung loob ko kasi I believed, I didn’t deserve this.

Ito na yata yung pinakamasakit na mangyayari sa isang nanay, give birth to a child with special needs. Kasi you will keep asking and blaming yourself. Where did I go wrong?

Nagpasecond opinion pa kami. We had a 3D utz. My husband wanted to go, ako ayoko. Hindi na ako umasa kasi I knew it in my heart that I was going to have a cleft baby. And I saw his face and my heart broke all over again. Hindi ako nagpaprint ng copy kasi I didn’t want to see my baby that way. (which I totally regret now, btw. Sorry na, depress ako that time.)

The next few days was hell. Nawalan ako ng gana sa lahat. Eat, work, the things that I used to love doing, nawala ang appeal sa kin. It was even our wedding month pero wala akong gana magprepare, how could I be excited at a time like this? I was a bitch to everybody. But my husband was my pillar. He was so positive about everything that it hurts. My family too. They all believed that it will all be okay.

I felt abandoned. I thought, I was alone in this pain. In my quiet moments, I talk — no scream at God. The never ending Why me’s. Pero kahit galit ako, I never stopped talking to him. I find comfort in talking to him. There must be reason. Lagi ko naiisip yan. Why do I have this baby? There must be a reason.

Cleft Philippines

“Biruin mo, God gave me an important task, he trusted me to take care of this extra special baby and I was not about to prove God wrong. I want to show him that, I deserve this baby.” — Mommy Seema

And then one day, I woke up and I felt light. I wasn’t as sad anymore. Parang naenlighten ako. Na, oo nga. God chose me, out of 700 mommies, God decided to give him to me. There must be a reason. Yung “Why me” ko, naging “Why not?” I found my purpose.

Biruin mo, God gave me an important task, he trusted me to take care of this extra special baby and I was not about to prove God wrong. I want to show him that, I deserve this baby. That Zacha deserves me, a flawed person, to be his mom and I won’t let him down. Gusto ko na after everything ay maging proud ang Diyos sa akin at masabi niyang hindi siya nagkamaling ibigay si Zacha sa akin.

cleft palate philippines

Mommy Seema promised to herself: “sabi ko sa sarili ko, babawi ako buong buhay niya. I am going to be strong for him. I will protect him from the bullies. As much as possible, shelter him from all the bad things in this world. Kapag nagkaisip siya and started asking about his cleft, I will tell him that he is not different. That he is beautiful.”

I felt guilty rin because I have been neglecting my baby dahil lang sa nalaman kong my cleft siya, sabi ko sa sarili ko, babawi ako buong buhay niya. I am going to be strong for him. I will protect him from the bullies. As much as possible, shelter him from all the bad things in this world. Kapag nagkaisip siya and started asking about his cleft, I will tell him that he is not different. That he is beautiful.

I’ve learned a lot from being a cleft mom. It made me stronger. I found my purpose. I see the world differently now. I empathize now with people I see on the streets na may special needs baby. Especially yung mga may cleft. Parang gusto ko sila lapitan at yakapin at sabihin na, everything is going to be okay.

My husband and my family was right. Everything is okay now. Zacha is 32months old two days from now and so far I can say that I’ve done a great job. We have a few more surgeries to go but I know, with God, we can make it.


Happy Smileversary Baby Z!


So there you have it, I hope you have all been inspired by Mommy Seema’s story. Thank you Mommy Seema for allowing us to share your story. To my dear readers, let me know if you would like to contribute an article, a poem, or even a song you composed, so that we can share it with our fellow moms. You may get in touch with me by dropping by my Facebook page. Hope you can also hit the like button while you are there so you can receive regular updates from Happypinaymommy.com direct on your newsfeed.

Thank you so much!

A Happy Homemaker is a Happy Pinay Mommy!

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