Closeup photo of baby lying. Christmas concept

This year, I have a Christmas baby. David was born in July, but he is the size of a newborn yet. His cheeks are sweet and pink, but the first thing you will probably notice about our boy would be his cleft lip and palate and his nearly sightless eyes, one smaller than the other.

When I was pregnant, all we knew was that he had a facial deformity – not the ordinary kind of cleft palate, fixable with a quick surgery, but something else. We were told that he would most likely be stillborn. When he managed to give the lie to that prognosis, we were told that he would probably die within a few days.

It’s easy to see the image of the Holy Child we sentimentalize at Christmas in the face of a healthy, normal newborn. Jesus, we think, must have been a perfect child, in form and function. This Christmas, it’s the stark difference between my son and the images of the Christ Child we see in the manger that is peeling something back. Jesus was born at a time of cultural upheaval to a disgraced mother in the back of a barn; my baby was born to the flurry and rush of the NICU. While Mary might have cried in relief that her labor had ended, I sobbed in agony and great pain seeing the face of my son, whose unique set of birth defects points to a short and complex life.

Read more on Plough.

Written by External Article
Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection. Have a great story about caregiving? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles

The Switzerland schedule

The Switzerland schedule

“Your mother,” he told us, “has multiple sclerosis.” Whatever that was. I carried on with my day like any other on that trip, going swimming, having...

Space to Breathe

Space to Breathe

I am so good at clearing my son’s airway that I am like Sam-I-Am in Green Eggs and Ham. I can suction on a train. I can suction in the rain. I can...

Popular categories

Finances
Burnout
After Caregiving
Housing
Relationships
Finding Meaning
Planning
Dying
Finding Support
Work
Grief

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts

0 Comments

Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.