Ethan- The Enduring Sonshine 

Trauma isn’t always caused by one big event. It can be multiple events that seem small to the observer, but can feel as heavy as the world to the one carrying it.

Cleft lip and palate is one of the common issues, suppressed in general, mainly because of the uncommon deformed facial features and lack of awareness.
This poem “Ethan- The Enduring Sonshine” is my friend Rini Rajan’s journey. Rini is a self-taught artist and a cleftie mom.
We often do not realize how difficult it is for a mother and child to overcome the trauma. More power to all the cleftie parents out there!
Poem: Ethan- The Enduring Sonshine 

We were elated to see the two red marks

Happiness galored as we awaited the little spark

Beholden to the almighty for the blessing divine

And till 20 weeks the scans were all fine

Then the doctors revealed the dreaded news

‘Cleft lip and palate’, a gust of torment filled the blues.


I hid it from everyone, to keep myself sane

For words of sympathy would add to the pain

Hormonal changes would intensify the rage

My love for my child did give me courage

And all the struggle was really worthwhile

When Ethan was born, our baby, our smile.


His eyes so beautiful, he felt softer than silk

But my boy found it hard to sip in mumma’s milk

I had no time for postpartum self-care,

And wherever I went, people would stare

Some said it was a curse from previous life

Tantrums and suggestions were, yes, so rife.


As parents we had to be strong amidst the worry

Our 6 months old boy, had to go through a surgery

The stiches were fresh, so his arms were restrained

I can’t imagine, how badly it must have pained

We had to keep him safe, to prevent infections

He gave us strength, with all his cute reactions.


The second surgery happened when he was one

The palate was reconstructed of our darling son

By this time, he started recognising the bright and dim

The sight of nurse and doctors continued to scare him

A trauma dreadful and his anxiety rose high

Seeing a hospital, he would often scream and cry.


There may be surgeries multiple, all in a line

Have faith and trust that everything will be fine

Some kids have complications along with palate and lip cleft

While others are bullied in school and alone they are left

We, as parents, have to make the world an all-inclusive place

And embolden our child to make it through the phase.


And yes, we are grateful for the bundle of happiness, our boy

He brightens our world, motherhood is indeed, the greatest joy.

Ankurita Khajanchi


P.S. The picture is a digital art made by Rini Rajan, depicting her son, Ethan.