Story written by Pat Bunsongsikul
Baby Autsanee was born with a cleft lip. Parents were made aware of the Operation Smile mission in Sisaket from both the Hospital’s outreach program as well as advertisements posted in their neighborhood center. Additionally once the mission dates were confined the hospital staff called the parents again to remind them of this opportunity.
Baby Autsanee is the first and only child. The parents’ primary worry is how to make enough money to help their baby. They love him without reservation but realize society is not so forgiving. They have been “passively” harassed by friends and family, especially in the moments after birth, where many family members jokingly said to the mother “Your baby is incomplete?” Or “Not all of the baby came out during birth.”
Both parents knew the family members were joking but the words were still hurtful.
They do not want the baby to go through life with the constant “passive” attacks and want for emotional stability and self-confidence.
After coming to the mission and seeing other children with similar conditions, it helped the parents cope with the fact that this is a birth defect and is “normal” in the sense that they were not alone.
Parents were initially afraid of having the operation because of Autsanee’s size. But after consultation, they understood that it was better to have the operation as soon as possible so the baby will never know that she was ever different and suffer emotional pain.