What? How can clubfoot treatment be fun!?
I’m writing this blog post for the expecting parents who may have recently found out that their baby will be born with clubfoot. I know how scared you feel and how worried you must be for your baby. I’ve been there. (You can read about our experience here). My daughter was born with bilateral clubfoot and we are currently in the 12-hour wear phase of our treatment. It is definitely a long, hard road at times – If I didn’t mention that aspect of the treatment I think I’d be lying. At the same time, like any situation, it is so important to find the good aspects of a difficult time.
Let me start by saying that thanks to medical advances and incredible doctors (specifically, those who have been trained in the Ponseti method) our clubfoot babies can receive excellent and extremely successful treatment. That being said, I want to encourage you by telling you some of the good things you may experience during your child’s clubfoot journey!
1. Your baby will most likely want lots of extra cuddles and snuggles after cast changes. Yes, it is difficult to see them uncomfortable and fussy, but those extra cuddles and lots of loving will mean so much to you as parents.
2. You will have the opportunity to meet lots of other clubfoot moms, dads, and babies who have gone through what you’re going through! It is so good to know that you’re not alone and talk to other parents about the journey if you have questions or concerns. I have met several parents of babies with clubfoot and this journey would be a lot more difficult without them!
3. You can dress up the casts and make them fun! (Yes, even for boys!!) We used cute little leg warmers, coband wrap, and cute socks to dress the casts up. Before my daughter was born, I was so worried that people would stare and ask me questions about her casts. Well, they did – but instead of being embarrassed or ashamed, I would happily tell them about my daughter’s condition and use the opportunity to spread clubfoot awareness. We rarely (if ever) encountered people who were rude about my daughter wearing casts on her legs. No one thought she fell down the stairs or that I did something wrong (irrational as it sounds, those were some of my fears). People were, for the most part, genuinely curious and had very kind responses.
4. You will be so proud of every single milestone your clubfoot baby reaches. Yes, every mom is beyond proud of their child for meeting milestones like rolling over, crawling, walking, etc!! There is just something extra special about the clubfoot baby who has overcome so much in their young life in order to make progress. Our daughter is crawling EVERYWHERE now and we are so very proud.
5. You can make up cute little songs and rhymes for the “bedtime shoes” when you get down to the 12-hour wear phase – and you WILL get there. It may seem like it is forever away at times but you’ll get there. I was very worried that our daughter would hate having her feet confined to the boots and bar at night but she doesn’t know any different! She knows it is just part of her bedtime routine and she does wonderful with them!
6. Your clubfoot baby may make you laugh a lot by some of the hilarious positions they learn to sleep in. Imagine if you had to sleep with special shoes on and a bar connecting those shoes. Sounds uncomfortable, right? Well, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the clubfoot kiddos! Our daughter sleeps in some of the most hilarious positions and somehow, she finds it comfortable with her boots and bar. It makes us laugh every time!
7. You will have the opportunity to meet and get to know some incredible doctors, nurses, and cast techs along your journey! We absolutely love going to Shriner’s and getting to see Dr. Gibson and Stephanie! We are so thankful for everything they’ve done to help our daughter through treatment!
8. You will look back at pictures of your baby’s feet before their treatment began and you will be overwhelmed with happiness for the progress you’ve seen! (Also – make sure you take before pictures, you will be glad you did). These babies are so tough and resilient. It is incredible.
Imagine your clubfoot baby running around one day on their perfect feet! The clubfoot journey is difficult and seems impossible at times, but it will be so worth it!!